Orthopaedic treatment includes all medical specialities that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. This includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.
The treatment can range from non-surgical methods such as physical therapy, medication, and immobilisation, to surgical procedures such as joint replacements & spinal surgeries. Treatment plans depend from person to person based on the nature and severity of the condition.
Common orthopaedic conditions that may require treatment are,
- Arthritis & Joint Pain: A condition that causes inflammation in one or more joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Fractures: A break in a bone caused by injury or trauma.
- Sprains and strains: Damage to the ligaments or muscles due to overstretching or tearing.
- Osteoporosis: A condition characterised by weak, brittle bones that are more likely to fracture. It is common during old age and might require Hip or Knee Replacement or other treatments based on the condition.
- Back and neck pain: Pain in the spine that can be caused by a variety of conditions, including herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
- Sports injuries: Injuries that occur during physical activity, such as torn ligaments, dislocated joints, and fractures. If the injury is extreme, it might require Arthroscopic Reconstruction.
Orthopaedic treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach, including collaboration between orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals, with the goal to reduce pain, improve function, and enhance the patient’s quality of life.
The screening and diagnosis of orthopaedic conditions typically involve combinations of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. Some standard methods used for Screening and Diagnosis are,
- Medical history: An in-depth medical history is essential to understand the patient’s symptoms and potential risk factors. The doctor will ask about previous injuries, medical conditions, medications, and family history.
- Physical examination: A physical examination allows the doctor to assess the patient’s physical condition, like range of motion, strength, flexibility, and other signs of inflammation or deformity. Assessments may include palpation, joint stability tests, and assessing reflexes and muscle tone.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds, can help visualise the internal structures of the musculoskeletal system. These tests help reveal fractures, soft tissue injuries, joint damage, and other abnormalities.
- Laboratory tests: Blood tests can help identify certain conditions that may affect the bones, joints, or muscles, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or infections.
- Functional assessments: These are used to evaluate the patient’s ability to perform daily activities and assess the condition’s impact on their quality of life.
Once a diagnosis has been made, the doctor will develop a treatment plan tailored specifically to the patient’s needs. Treatment may involve medication, physiotherapy, lifestyle changes, or surgery, depending on the severity & nature of the condition.
The treatment of orthopaedic conditions depends not only on the type and severity of the condition but also on the patient’s age, overall health and lifestyle. Some common treatment options include,
- Non-surgical treatment: This includes options such as physical therapy, exercise, medication, and use of support. Physical therapy involves exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, while medication can help reduce pain and inflammation. Using support, such as using casts or braces, can help support and protect the affected area.
- Surgery: If non-surgical treatment options are ineffective, surgery may be the recommended choice. Surgical options can range from minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy or arthroscopic reconstruction, to more complex surgeries, such as joint replacement or spinal fusion.
- Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation is one of the most important parts of the recovery process, regardless of whether or not surgery is required. It may include exercises, stretches, and other therapies to help restore range of motion, strength, and flexibility.
- Lifestyle modifications: Certain lifestyle modifications, like changes in diet or regular physical activities, may be recommended to help manage symptoms and prevent further injury.
- Assistive devices: Assistive devices, such as crutches, canes, and walkers, may be recommended to help support and protect the affected area during the healing process. Assistive devices, such as crutches, canes, and walkers, may be recommended to help support and protect the affected area during the healing process.
All treatment plans are tailored to the patient’s individual needs and usually involve a combination of mentioned treatment options.
One can prevent orthopaedic problems by maintaining musculoskeletal health. Here are some preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of orthopaedic issues:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints, increasing the risk of joint problems such as arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of these problems.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and joint mobility, reducing the risk of injury and preventing orthopaedic problems. However, it is crucial to exercise correctly to be safe and avoid injury.
- Proper nutrition: Eating a balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D can help keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Wear appropriate footwear: Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that fit well can help reduce the risk of foot and ankle problems.
- Proper posture: Maintaining good posture can help prevent back and neck problems like herniated discs and much more.
- Avoid repetitive motions: Some repetitive motions can put excessive strain on certain joints and muscles, increasing the risk of injury. Avoiding or limiting these motions can help prevent orthopaedic problems.
- Safety precautions: Wearing protective gear during sports and using proper lifting techniques can help prevent injuries.
If an injury occurs or symptoms prevail, seeking medical help is of utmost importance in order to prevent further damage or complications.