• Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk of Spinal Injuries

    There are a few different types of spinal injuries, but one of the most common spinal injuries treated by orthopaedic doctors is fractures of the spine. It occurs when there is a break in one or more vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. You can protect your spine from fractures with the following precautions.

    Be a defensive driver.

Motor vehicle crashes are a major cause of spinal injuries. You can reduce your risk by being a defensive driver. A defensive driver is someone who proactively follows all safety precautions while behind the wheel. Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure everyone else in your vehicle buckles up too. Stick to the speed limit, and reduce your speed when the weather poses safety hazards. Eliminate sources of distraction, such as by turning off your cellphone. And never drive after you’ve consumed alcohol, as any amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive safely. If your doctor has prescribed medication for you, know whether it could make you dizzy or drowsy before operating a motor vehicle.

Take precautions when playing sports.

Sports are another potential cause of spinal injuries like fractures. If you do gymnastics, you should always have a spotter before trying new moves. With all sports, use appropriate safety gear like helmets. Diving can also cause spinal injuries. They occur when a person dives into water that is too shallow, causing that person to strike the bottom of the pool. Only dive into water that is at least 12 feet deep, or deeper if you’re diving from a high diving board.

Keep your bones strong.

Seniors are particularly susceptible to a type of spinal injury called compression fractures. These fractures happen because of osteoporosis, or low bone density. Keep your bones strong by talking to your doctor about your intake of calcium and vitamin D. Your doctor may recommend taking a supplement if you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.

Patients who suffer from back pain in the Joliet area will find the specialized care they need at MK Orthopaedics. Our highly trained doctors can develop a personalized treatment plan that helps you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Call a friendly staff member at (815) 741-6900.

 

  • Answering Your Questions About Knee Replacement Surgery

    During a knee replacement surgery, the orthopaedic surgeon removes severely damaged or diseased components of the knee, and replaces them with medical-grade, artificial components. Joint replacement surgeries are commonly performed in the U.S., with hundreds of thousands of patients undergoing them every year. However, the decision to have surgery should never be taken lightly, no matter how routine the operation is. Write a list of all of your questions before you meet with the orthopaedic surgeon to discuss having a knee replacement.

    Will a knee replacement surgery correct my symptoms?

  • According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 90% of patients who have this surgery report a “dramatic reduction” in their symptoms. These individuals are also better able to perform the activities of daily living. Although a knee replacement may significantly improve or eliminate your knee pain, you should have realistic expectations regarding the recovery process and final outcome.

    Why do patients get knee replacements?

    Most often, patients who undergo knee replacement surgery are those who suffer from severe arthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis are the top causes of chronic knee pain. For individuals with these conditions, surgery may be an option when the symptoms are severe or persistent enough to interfere with daily activities and the quality of life.

    What other treatments should I consider before having surgery?

    Surgery is rarely the first treatment that doctors recommend. Before having surgery, your orthopaedic doctor may prescribe oral medications, administer medicated injections, or refer you to a physical therapist. Let your doctor know how well these treatments work. If your pain persists, then it may be time to consider surgery.

    Am I healthy enough to have the surgery?

    Surgeons can perform knee replacements on patients of diverse ages, weight ranges, and overall health. However, you will need to have a physical exam and perhaps a few medical tests done before you have surgery. If you have a pre-existing heart condition, for instance, your doctor will need to make sure you can safely tolerate general anesthesia and the surgery itself.

    The health, safety, and comfort of our patients are our top priorities here at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic surgeons encourage our patients to become active participants in the surgery preparation and recovery process. If you have any questions about your upcoming knee replacement surgery in Joliet, please call our office at (815) 741-6900.

     

  • Recovering from Hand Reconstruction Surgery

    Hand reconstruction surgery can take several months to recover from completely. Because of the lengthy recovery period, it’s important to prepare as much as you can in advance so you can focus on getting better after your procedure. Your orthopaedic surgeon will give you instructions for your recovery, and it’s important to follow them closely to reduce the risk of complications. The following tips will also help.

    Before your surgery, prep meals that can be easily cooked without using both hands. Stick to aluminum cookware, as other pots and pans may be too heavy. Make arrangements for family and friends to help you, especially in the first few weeks after your surgery. Be sure to do any exercises recommended by your orthopaedic surgeon or physical therapist to rebuild strength in your hand.

  • MK Orthopaedics offers comprehensive care for orthopaedic conditions, from knee replacement surgery to hand reconstruction, as well as noninvasive treatments. For more information about orthopaedic care in Joliet, please call (815) 741-6900.

  • Understanding Spinal Compression Fractures

    Compression fractures can occur at any location in the spine. They cause back pain and may also lead to numbness in the legs or pain in the abdomen. If you think you have a compression fracture, see an orthopaedic doctor as soon as possible.

    Watch this video to learn more about compression fractures. In people with brittle bones, compression fractures can occur without symptoms, which can lead to kyphosis. You may need to be screened for fractures regularly if you have brittle bone disease or osteoporosis.

    At MK Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic doctors in Joliet offer surgical and noninvasive treatments for a range of spine and joint issues. You can schedule an appointment by calling (815) 741-6900.

  • What Is the Link Between Obesity and Orthopaedic Conditions?

    There is a complicated relationship between obesity and orthopaedic problems. If you are suffering from back pain, hip pain, or other kinds of musculoskeletal discomfort, or if you need orthopaedic surgery, weight is a topic your doctor may address with you. Obesity and orthopaedic conditions can both contribute to and complicate each other, so understanding the role of weight in any condition you are experiencing is important.

    Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis.

  • One clear link between obesity and orthopaedic conditions is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when wear and tear on joints causes the cartilage to break down, allowing the bones to rub against each other. Carrying excess weight increases the speed at which joints experience this kind of damage, leading to the development of osteoarthritis at younger ages than anticipated. Often, people who are experiencing knee and hip pain associated with osteoarthritis can get some relief by losing weight. Weight loss can also improve back pain associated with herniated discs. On the flipside, osteoarthritis can make it more difficult to be active, which can exacerbate weight gain.

    Injuries are more common in obese people.

    People who are obese have a dramatically higher risk of experiencing an orthopaedic injury than people who are of normal weight—as much as 48% higher, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This includes lower extremity injuries in people of all ages, including children who are obese. Being obese can also make recovery more difficult, as it can interfere with the ability to do re-strengthening exercises.

    Obesity can complicate orthopaedic surgery.

    Being obese increases the risks associated with anesthesia in every kind of surgery, including orthopaedic procedures. Obesity also makes recovery more difficult and may lead to inferior surgical results.

    If you’re concerned about the impact of your weight on your orthopaedic condition, make an appointment with a provider at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic doctors in Joliet can get you out of pain and back to enjoying the things you love. Make an appointment today by calling (815) 741-6900.

  • Exploring the Benefits of Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Procedures

    Anterior approach hip replacements are hip replacement procedures that are done from the front of the hip, rather than from the back of the hip or from the side of the hip. Although this type of hip replacement is not right for everyone, it does offer several advantages for some patients. Your orthopaedic surgeon will help you understand which type of hip replacement is right for you and why, as well as the benefits and risks of each procedure. Continue reading for a look at some of the benefits of anterior approach hip replacements for patients who are good candidates for the procedure.

    Less Pain During Recovery

  • Anterior approach hip replacements can usually be done through a smaller incision than other hip procedures, and your surgeon can replace the hip joint without moving as much muscle during the surgery. These two factors can lead to a less painful recovery. In particular, the reduced muscle trauma can lessen post-surgical discomfort. This helps to reduce the amount of pain medication required and allows patients to return to mobility faster.

    Shorter Hospital Stay

    In many cases, people who undergo an anterior hip replacement can leave the hospital the next day. Smaller incisions lead to less blood loss, which helps patients recover faster. Typically, as soon as patients can get out of bed and maneuver with a walker, they are cleared to go home. Although some patients need more than a one-night stay in the hospital after an anterior hip replacement, their stays are still usually shorter than those of patients who have other hip replacement procedures.

    Less Post-Surgical Limping

    Limping is a significant issue after hip replacement surgery. Some patients never completely lose their limps after developing a habit of walking with them. The risk of limping after an anterior-approach hip replacement is lower than with other procedures.

    If you’re tired of living with hip pain and are considering hip replacement surgery, make an appointment for a consultation at MK Orthopaedics. Our surgeons will help you make a treatment plan that is right for your specific needs. To learn more about hip replacements in Joliet, call (815) 741-6900.

  • Will Health Insurance Cover a Second Opinion?

    A second opinion is the additional guidance you can seek from a different physician or specialist. It’s always wise to seek a second opinion before you undergo any major treatments, such as knee replacement surgery or any other orthopaedic surgeries. Whether or not your health insurer will cover a second opinion is dependent upon the specific plan you have.

    However, most health insurance companies do cover second opinions and sometimes even third opinions. Medicare Part B is one example of a health plan that covers second opinions. In fact, if you’re expecting to undergo major surgery, your insurance company might require you to seek a second opinion before it will cover the surgery. This is because the insurer knows it makes good financial sense to ensure the diagnosis is accurate and the treatment plan is appropriate.

    You can request a second opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon near Joliet to protect your health. Call MK Orthopaedics at (815) 741-6900, and request an appointment with a sports medicine specialist.

  • Get to Know Your Tendons

    Your tendons are strong, elastic bands of connective tissue that attach bones to muscles. Each time you use a muscle to move a bone, the force goes through the tendon. You can hear more about how tendons work and what they’re made of when you watch this featured video or consult your orthopaedic doctor.

    You’ll also learn that localized pain and inflammation are some of the most common causes of acute tendon injuries, such as tendinitis. Tendinitis occurs when the tendon is strained past its normal capacity on a repetitive basis, which causes accumulated micro-tears in the tissue. This video offers some tips for helping your inflamed tendons heal.

    If you’ve sustained a sports injury or work injury, such as tendinitis, you can turn to the expert team at MK Orthopaedics. Request an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor near Joliet by calling (815) 741-6900.

  • Ankle Instability 101

    Ankle instability is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder in which the ankle has repeated episodes of “giving way.” This can be a debilitating condition that affects a patient’s quality of life and level of physical activity. If you’ve been experiencing recurrent ankle problems, talk to an orthopaedic doctor about whether you might have chronic ankle instability.

    Symptoms and Causes

    The “giving way” of ankle instability occurs on the lateral side, which is the outside of the ankle. This often happens while the patient is walking on an uneven surface or playing sports activities. However, the ankle can also give way even while a person is simply standing still. Other possible symptoms of ankle instability include:

    • Pain or tenderness of the ankle
    • Sensation of wobbliness or instability
    • Lingering discomfort and swelling

    Chronic ankle instability is a secondary condition that arises from a pre-existing sports injury or accident. People who have suffered multiple ankle sprains are at a higher risk of developing chronic ankle instability . This condition can also develop if an ankle sprain wasn’t properly rehabilitated or didn’t fully heal. This is because, when a sprain occurs, the ligament stretches or tears, affecting both balance and strength. If the injury doesn’t completely heal, the area can remain unstable.

    Treatments and Complications

    After making the diagnosis of chronic ankle instability, an orthopaedic doctor will likely recommend conservative treatments first. These include wearing an ankle brace to support the ankle, prevent it from giving way, and reduce the risk of another ankle sprain. Physical therapy is an essential component of the rehabilitation process, as it involves strengthening and retraining the muscles, and improving balance. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be prescribed. Some patients may be good candidates for surgical intervention if they do not see sufficient improvement with nonsurgical treatments. Unless the injured ankle is fully healed and rehabilitated, it’s possible that the patient will continue to experience recurrent ankle sprains and further weakening of the joint.

    Expert care for foot and ankle pain is available at MK Orthopaedics. We are sports medicine specialists serving Joliet and the nearby areas with non-surgical and surgical treatment options. New and current patients can reach a friendly staff member at (815) 741-6900.

  • Is Osteoporosis Inevitable?

    Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones lose density, become very porous, and become more susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis is of particular concern for older adults because later in life, the body doesn’t make enough new bone mass to replace the bone tissue that is broken down. Orthopaedic doctors note that, although bone loss is certainly inevitable later in life, getting osteoporosis isn’t. Here’s how you can improve your bone health and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

    Build up bone mass before age 30.

    If you haven’t turned 30 yet, you have a great opportunity to significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis later in life. That’s because, prior to age 30, the body makes more new bone mass than it breaks down. After this point, bone loss begins to gradually outpace bone production. Here are some quick tips to build up maximum bone mass before age 30.

    • Include sources of calcium and vitamin D in your diet to support strong bones.
    • Never start smoking or quit promptly if you already do. Smoking deteriorates bone health.
    • Avoid alcohol, as this also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
    • Enjoy regular exercise. Consider trying physical therapy if you’re having trouble getting active.

    Know your risk factors and get screened for osteoporosis.

    At some point, everyone should have a screening test for osteoporosis. This noninvasive test can reveal whether you have osteopenia or low bone density. A diagnosis of osteopenia gives you the opportunity to prevent it from developing into osteoporosis. Orthopaedic doctors recommend that the following people get screened:

    • Women ages 65 and older
    • Men ages 70 and older
    • Anyone who breaks a bone after age 50

    Additionally, some patients may benefit from earlier screening if they have any of these risk factors:

    • Family history of osteoporosis
    • Small, thin body type
    • Diet low in calcium and vitamin D
    • Alcohol consumption
    • Smoking
    • Inactive lifestyle
    • Diet high in caffeine, sodium, and protein

    If your bone density test does reveal osteopenia, your doctor can recommend lifestyle changes and possibly medications to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

    At MK Orthopaedics, it’s our mission to help our patients enjoy high quality of life through better health. Call (815) 741-6900 to request a consultation with one of our orthopaedic doctors near Joliet. We can help you prevent or treat osteoporosis, or treat fractures arising from osteoporosis.

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