It is a known fact that musculoskeletal diseases, conditions and trauma affects hundreds of millions of people globally. In the US alone, they cost the society more than $250 billion per year with the cost expected to go up in coming years. Arthritis, one of the most common musculoskeletal diseases, is spreading rapidly globally, including Pakistan. It is in light of this that Orthopedic surgeons’ role assumes even more importance in society. Orthopedic surgeons, including Orthopedic surgeons in Lhr are known for their innovative abilities and surgical technical knowhow to treat and solve orthopedic problems.
Orthopedics: A Brief History
The term “orthopedics” was coined as recently as in the 1700s, however, the principles of orthopedic surgery date back to the ancient times when the Egyptian and the Greco-Roman civilizations began to lay emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of various orthopedic conditions. The Greco-Roman age greatly improved our understanding of orthopedic surgical techniques. During the Renaissance, these principles and techniques were refined as orthopedic hospitals were opened. Altogether, the foundations for modern orthopedics were laid down during these times. Today, orthopedic surgery is a rapidly developing field.
Orthopedic Surgery Today: What do Orthopedic Surgeons Do?
Bones, joints, tendons (the tissue that connects bones and joints), nerves and ligaments make up the human musculoskeletal system and orthopedic doctors/surgeons specialize in caring for this system.
Orthopedic surgeons performing the following functions on a regular basis:
- Diagnose and treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system caused by physical or sports activity
- Help their patients manage conditions associated with arthritis or osteoporosis
- Help their patients avoid pain and discomfort associated with a joint or muscle used too often
Orthopedic doctors specialize in treating the following parts of the human musculoskeletal system:
- Hand and wrist
- Shoulder and elbow
- Foot and ankle
- Pediatric orthopedists – orthopedic doctors specializing in treating children with bone growth or developmental problems
When to See an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Muscle and joint pain, especially after an injury, goes away on its own. However, if you experience a muscle or joint pain for more than three (03) months, you should seriously consider seeing an orthopedic doctor, especially when:
- You can’t carry out routine daily activities like walking upstairs with ease
- You feel wobbly while walking or standing
- You can’t move as much as you used to
Furthermore, if you are experiencing or suffering from the following, it would be wise to see an orthopedic doctor:
- Osteoporosis or other age-related conditions
- Bone tumours
- Work-related injuries
- Muscle strain and sprain
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Broken bones
- Back pain
Some of these may be treated by a general physician (GP), however, do keep in mind that an orthopedic doctor/surgeon has advanced knowledge and training as compared to a GP to treat musculoskeletal diseases and conditions.
A Common Myth
Some people avoid seeing an orthopedic doctor believing that surgery is inevitable. It is perhaps the most commonly associated myth with orthopedics. The reality is that orthopedic surgeons recommend surgery only as a last resort. In most cases the following non-surgical treatments are recommended:
- Physical therapy or rehab
- Lifestyle change
Types of Orthopedic Surgery
As mentioned earlier, orthopedic doctors recommend surgery only if necessary. The following are some of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries:
- Hand & Wrist – Dexterity, the ability to use your hands to perform daily tasks, is vital to living a quality life. However, conditions like arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinopathies, nerve lacerations, fractures and Dupuytren’s Contracture can affect the use of your hand and wrist. A variety of orthopedic surgical options are available to treat these conditions.
- Joint Replacement – Joint replacement surgery may include hip, knee or shoulder replacement.
A hip replacement surgery may include removing damaged sections of the hip joint and replacing them with parts made up of metal or very hard plastic.
A knee replacement surgery, commonly known as knee arthroplasty involves surgical removal of damaged bone and cartilage and replacing them with an artificial joint, often made of high-grade plastics and polymers and metal alloys. This procedure helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning of knee joints.
There are different types of shoulder replacement surgeries, Anatomical Total Shoulder Replacement being the most common. In this, a plastic lining is attached to the socket to allow smooth movement. Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement is another type of shoulder replacement surgery.
- Fractures & Trauma – Depending upon the severity, broken bones can be treated in a variety of ways, surgery being one of them. Surgery is usually considered necessary when stabilizing some fractures. Post-surgery complications are rare, but lack of bone healing and infection may occur.
- Foot & Ankle – While aches and pains can be treated with nonoperative techniques like braces and physical therapy, surgery may be required in case of tendon repair, arthroscopy, reconstruction and fracture care.
- Sports Medicine – Sports-related injuries can be frustrating, since you can’t play your favourite sport anymore, to debilitating. Sprains and strains, Tennis Elbow, Rotator Cuff Injury, Meniscus Tear, fracture care, dislocation, concussion and ACL injury can now be treated with a variety of nonoperative and surgical means.
Therefore, if you or your loved one suffers from one of the many musculoskeletal diseases or conditions laid down above, do not hesitate and waste time – make an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon in Lhr today. Remember – early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference between a condition that heals and the one that becomes a lifelong, daily reminder.