5 Signs You Should Visit an Orthopedic Specialist
Your musculoskeletal system is what gives your body the ability to move. It’s made up of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When these components are not working properly, it may cause pain and mobility problems. While minor aches and tweaks may often be treated at home, more serious issues should be seen by an orthopedic specialist.
An orthopedic specialist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems with the musculoskeletal system. They can assist you with a wide range of problems such as arthritis and broken bones.
When Should You Visit an Orthopedic Specialist?
Orthopedics covers a broad area of medicine, dealing with anything from sports injuries to degenerative diseases. Due to orthopedics being such a broad field, It may be challenging to know when you need to see an orthopedic specialist. Furthermore, some orthopedic issues may be confusing because they may not have an apparent cause. Here are five telltale signs that you should make an orthopedic appointment.
1. Pain Due to Repetitive Motion
Our joints are designed to move, but they can only handle so much repetitive motion. If you work a physically demanding job or participate in a sport that requires the same motions over and over, you may start to experience pain in your joints. This is especially true if the repetitive motion is made with poor form.
Common overuse injuries include:
Repetitive motion injuries typically occur in the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. However, they may also occur in the hip, knee, neck, and back. If you participate in a sport or have a job that requires repetitive motions, it’s important to take breaks and stretch often. Noticing pain during any repetitive activity is a strong indicator that you should visit an orthopedic specialist.
2. Knee Pain or Weakness
The knees are responsible for a lot of the movement in our legs. They allow us to walk, run, jump, and quickly change directions. Without healthy knees, many of these activities would be difficult or impossible. Knee pain is a common orthopedic issue because the knees constantly bear our body weight.
Tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) are two of the most common knee injuries. Both of these are good reasons to visit an orthopedic specialist. ACL tears and sprains are so common that roughly 100,000 to 200,000 people in the United States suffer from them each year. However, these aren’t the only knee injuries that require orthopedic care.
Other common knee injuries and conditions that may require a trip to an orthopedic office include:
- Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee)
- Cartilage tears
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Loose bodies (floating pieces of cartilage or bone)
If you have knee pain that prevents you from doing your normal activities or pain that is persistent and gets worse over time, it’s crucial to see an orthopedic specialist. During your appointment, they will likely take a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical examination before ordering any imaging tests. From there, they will be able to develop a treatment plan that is specific to your needs. Knee pain is often treatable, so don’t wait to seek orthopedic care.
3. Shoulder Pain or Weakness
Are you having difficulty reaching overhead or behind your back? Does it hurt to sleep on your side? Are you experiencing weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arm? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a shoulder condition and should make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.
The shoulder is susceptible to a considerable amount of wear and tear. Over time, this may lead to orthopedic problems such as:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Swimmers shoulder
- Frozen shoulder
- Impingement syndrome
- A dislocated shoulder
- SLAP tears
Without orthopedic care, some of these conditions may become chronic and significantly limit your range of motion. Your shoulder connects your arm to your body and allows for an extensive range of motion. Therefore, It’s essential to keep your shoulders healthy so you can continue to do the activities you love.
4. Having Issues with Balance or Mobility
Your musculoskeletal system does more than allow you to move your arms and legs. It also provides stability and helps you maintain your balance. When something is wrong with your musculoskeletal system, it may lead to problems with balance and mobility.
Some common orthopedic conditions that may lead to an imbalance are:
- Nerve damage
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Ankle sprains and fractures
When you have trouble balancing, it’s often a sign that something is wrong with your feet or ankles. Injuries in other parts of your body may also lead to balance problems as you may favor one side when walking or have difficulty lifting your leg. No matter the cause of your balance or mobility issues, going to an orthopedic specialist is the best way to determine the cause and find a solution.
5. Foot or Ankle Pain and Deformities
Your feet and ankles play a vital role in your overall musculoskeletal health. They support your body weight, absorb shock, and help you balance. Because they play such an important role, it’s not surprising that problems with your feet and ankles are some of the most common orthopedic issues. By seeking comprehensive orthopedic care, you can address these problems and get back to your life pain-free.
Some common orthopedic foot and ankle problems include:
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Fracture in the foot
Treating orthopedic foot and ankle problems often starts with conservative measures such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter medication. If these don’t provide relief, orthopedic doctors may recommend other treatments such as orthotics, physical therapy, or surgery. In addition to treating these conditions, an orthopedic specialist may also guide you on how to prevent orthopedic problems in the future.
Treat Your Orthopedic Condition at Motion Orthopaedics
The above are just a few examples of when you should see an orthopedic specialist. At Motion Orthopaedics, you’ll not only receive comprehensive orthopedic care, but you’ll also be seen by a team of specialists who are dedicated to helping you improve your quality of life. Contact us today to book an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve orthopedic wellness!