Are you experiencing pains at the site of a bone, joint, tendon, or ligament? Orthopedic conditions range in severity and can affect any area of the musculoskeletal system.
It’s important to address potential diseases and injuries as soon as possible because, in many cases, orthopedic issues can lead to other health problems when left untreated.
While you should always see a physician for an official diagnosis, it can be helpful to know some of the different types of orthopedic conditions and how they are treated.
In no particular order, here are eight of the most common types of orthopedic conditions that are often the source of pain and immobility.
Simply put, arthritis is the swelling of a joint. There are different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
As arthritis is often hereditary, it’s reasonable to consider the possibility of your joint pains being linked to arthritis if the disease runs in your family. Mild cases are often treated via medication, while more severe cases may require surgery.
2. Muscle injuries
Injuries to muscles are fairly common, particularly in the sports world. They can be caused by excess strain, collisions, and even lacerations.
The most basic types of muscle injuries, such as low-grade strains and contusions, are often able to heal on their own with very little treatment needed. More severe injuries, such as high-grade strains and large tears, may require immobilization and physical therapy.
3. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can develop in people who frequently make the same repetitive movements with their hands and wrists, such as typing and sewing.
This condition is the result of too much pressure on the median nerve and symptoms often include numbness and fatigue of the wrist. Keeping your hands loose, being mindful of your posture, and taking frequent breaks from repetitive activities can all help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
A fracture is a break that typically occurs when a bone is put under significant force or stress. This type of injury is very common—accounting for 16% of all musculoskeletal injuries in the U.S. annually.
Different types of bone fractures have different levels of severity. Simple, partial, and hairline fractures are relatively common and not overly severe, while open, compound, and transverse fractions can be very dangerous—and in some cases, life-threatening.
A fracture diagnosis is almost always accompanied by an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan. As bones heal themselves naturally, treatment will usually focus on immobilizing the bone for proper alignment. In more severe cases, surgery may be required.
Most bodily tissues break down over time and your bones are no different. Fortunately for most healthy bodies, however, bone is able to regenerate faster than it deteriorates. When that is no longer the case, you may develop osteoporosis—a condition that causes bones to become weak, brittle, and vulnerable to fractures.
Maintaining a healthy diet, supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals, and taking certain medications can all go a long way towards fending off osteoporosis.
A dislocation occurs when the end of a bone is forced out of its joint. This type of injury can usually be identified immediately, as the site of the joint will look deformed and the bone will appear to be out of place.
Dislocation injuries may inflict a considerable amount of pain, especially when they are paired with fractures. Once the dislocated bone is returned to its normal position and swelling decreases, most people can resume most activities within two weeks or so.
7. Ligament injuries
Ligament injuries can occur in the elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, and other joints. Knee ligament injuries are perhaps the most prevalent, particularly when it comes to sports, and can be among the most devastating orthopedic injuries.
While many people who sustain ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL tears are typically able to make a full recovery, the road back may include surgery and physical therapy.
When a ligament injury occurs, it may be accompanied by a pop and buckle at the joint. Shortly after, the area will likely begin to swell and an x-ray may be required for an official diagnosis.
Joints are padded by bursae—fluid-filled “cushions” that limit friction between various tissues. When a bursa sac becomes inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis.
An inflamed joint will often feel stiff and appear both swollen and red. Treatment options for bursitis range from rest and icing to steroids and physical therapy.