• 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.

  • How Do Broken Bones Heal?

    Fractures are a common type of sports injury. An orthopaedic doctor can apply a cast or splint to maintain the proper alignment of the bones as they heal. When a bone breaks, the body quickly forms a blood clot in the area. This happens within a matter of hours. The immune system also responds to the fracture. It works to destroy any germs introduced by the injury, and to deal with tiny fragments of broken bone tissue. The affected area of the body starts to grow new blood vessels. A steady supply of nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood is essential for the healing process.

    During the next few days and weeks, the body gradually develops a callus around the break. It’s comprised of collagen, and it replaces the blood clot. Osteoblasts get to work to create new bone tissue. Eventually, a hard callus is formed. This process generally lasts about six to 12 weeks after the injury occurred.

    At MK Orthopaedics, we have trained and certified casting and immobilization specialists on staff, as well as a dedicated treatment room for cast application. You can reach us at (815) 741-6900 if you or your child has suffered a sports injury in the Joliet or Bolingbrook areas.

  • Understanding Shoulder Arthritis

    Different types of arthritis may affect the shoulder, including osteoarthritis, which is the type primarily described in this featured video. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is indicated by symptoms such as shoulder pain, joint stiffness, and difficult movement. It’s caused by the wearing down of the protective cartilage in the joint, causing the bones to rub against each other.

    Without treatment, arthritis can cause progressively worsening shoulder pain. Over time, patients may find it difficult to enjoy the activities they used to do. An orthopaedic doctor can recommend appropriate treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or surgery.

    The orthopaedic doctors at MK Orthopaedics specialize in treating shoulder problems . If you’re suffering from shoulder pain and you live near Joliet, call us today at (815) 741-6900.

  • Injuries Commonly Diagnosed in Construction Workers

    Construction is a challenging field. Workers are at a high risk of all sorts of injuries, including repetitive strain injuries and acute injuries. Knee bursitis, rotator cuff tears, and carpal tunnel syndrome are just a few of the conditions that an orthopaedic doctor may diagnose in construction workers.

    Knee Bursitis

    Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa sac around a joint, such as the knee joint. The job of the bursae is to cushion the joints and reduce friction. When knee bursitis develops, the patient may feel knee pain, tenderness, and swelling, and it can be difficult to move the joint properly. Knee bursitis often develops gradually from repeated activities, such as kneeling on hard surfaces to install flooring. Knee bursitis is treatable with oral and injected medications, physical therapy, and aspiration.

    Rotator Cuff Tear

    A rotator cuff tear is an injury to one of the tendons that make up the rotator cuff in the shoulder. This injury can develop suddenly or slowly over time. If it happens suddenly, the patient can feel intense pain, weakness, and perhaps a snapping sensation in the shoulder. If the injury develops gradually, patients may notice gradually worsening pain and weakness when lifting and using the arm. An acute tear can be caused by a fall or by lifting something heavy. Repetitive activities, such as overhead lifting, can also cause rotator cuff tears. Without treatment like rest, physical therapy, or surgery, rotator cuff tears can get larger.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve that extends through the wrist and into the base of the hand. Its symptoms develop gradually, causing wrist pain, tingling, and numbness. These symptoms may also affect the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Construction workers may develop carpal tunnel syndrome because of the repetitive use of vibrating power tools or manual hand tools. Without treatment, it becomes worse, eventually causing poor grip strength and chronic pain. Treatment options include injected medication, oral anti-inflammatory drugs, splinting, activity modification, and orthopaedic surgery.

    Area employers can rely on MK Orthopaedics and our workers’ compensation capabilities. Some of our orthopaedic doctors in Joliet are certified Independent Medical Examiners, and we also feature an onsite pharmaceutical dispensary. Injured construction workers and their employers can contact our office at (815) 741-6900.

  • Quit Smoking Before Surgery

    Orthopaedic surgery can correct anatomical problems that cause symptoms like shoulder pain or hip pain. But surgery is not without its inherent risks, and smoking can contribute to those risks. Orthopaedic surgeons prefer that their patients quit smoking before having a procedure for their own safety and well-being.

    The Risks of Smoking Before Surgery

    Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals. Some of them affect the cardiovascular system, such as by increasing heart rate and elevating blood pressure. These chemicals can also negatively affect respiratory function, particularly when the smoker is under general anesthesia for surgery. It’s also possible for smoking to affect the metabolism of the drugs used during surgery, such as muscle relaxants.

    The Risks of Smoking After Surgery

    The risks of smoking don’t end after the patient comes out of general anesthesia. After surgery, smokers are at a significantly higher risk of heart attack compared to non-smokers. Another risk pertains to the healing of the surgical incision. Healthy blood circulation is essential for healing because it brings oxygen to the wound site. But smoking robs the body of oxygen . Instead, the carbon monoxide and the toxins in cigarettes can both jeopardize the ability of the tissues to heal. Plus, smokers are at a higher risk of post-surgical infections.

    The Steps You Can Take to Quit

    The good news is that the body begins to heal itself within hours of quitting. If a patient quits smoking as late as the day before having orthopaedic surgery, this can help manage health risks. Many people use their upcoming surgery as motivation to finally kick the habit. You don’t have to quit alone. Talk to your primary care doctor about local resources you can use, such as support groups and counselors. If you decide to try prescription medication to quit smoking, your orthopaedic surgeon will need to know about this change in your drug regimen. Always inform the anesthesiologist if you’ve had nicotine from any source—including nicotine patches or gum. Nicotine affects your cardiovascular system even in the absence of cigarette smoke.

    The entire team at MK Orthopaedics is committed to upholding the highest standards of patient care and safety. Our orthopaedic surgeons near Joliet will walk you through your pre- and post-operative instructions, and are available to answer any questions about your upcoming surgery. Call (815) 741-6900.

  • Signs of a Hip Fracture

    Hip fractures are complex injuries that can lead to a lifetime of complications if they are not treated quickly and effectively. Anyone is at risk of suffering a hip fracture, but the risk increases as you age. If you are experiencing hip pain and think you could have a fracture, see your orthopaedic doctor as soon as possible. Hip replacement surgery is usually required after this kind of injury.

    Severe pain in the hip and groin is the most common sign of a hip fracture. If the fracture happens during an acute injury like a fall, you may be unable to move afterwards. You will likely be unable to put weight on the leg on the side of the fracture, and your leg may actually be shorter.

    The orthopaedic surgeons at MK Orthopaedic perform hip replacement surgery in Joliet using the most advanced techniques coupled with complete post-surgical care. Find out more about our services by calling (815) 741-6900.

  • Introducing iFuse-3D

    If your orthopaedic surgeon recommends sacroiliac joint fusion, the iFuse 3D implant could be part of your treatment plan. Watch this video to learn about the benefits of the iFuse 3D implant system and how it could assist in making your procedure more effective.

    The iFuse 3D implant is created using proprietary 3D printing technology. It is designed to mimic your natural bone so that it can rely on self-harvesting technology. The shape of the implant reduces the risk of rotation, for greater comfort and reliability.

    At MK Orthopaedic , we use the very latest advances to treat a wide range of orthopaedic issues, from hip pain and shoulder pain to herniated discs. To schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon in Joliet, please call (815) 741-6900.

  • Can Work Activities Cause Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

    Thoracic outlet syndrome can cause muscle wasting, nerve pain, and a weakened grip. There are many different potential triggers, but for some people, work is the culprit. Fortunately, if you are suffering from this condition, your orthopaedic doctor can help you get out of pain and back to your normal activities.

    What is thoracic outlet syndrome?

    Thoracic outlet syndrome refers to a set of disorders causes by the compression of the blood vessels and nerves between your collarbone and first rib. This area is called the thoracic outlet and is a transition zone for a network of vessels and nerves. There are multiple forms of thoracic outlet syndrome. The most common types are:

    • Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome: Occurs when the brachial plexus is compressed.
    • Vascular thoracic outlet syndrome: Occurs when one or more blood vessels under the clavicle are compressed. The condition is called venous thoracic outlet syndrome when one or more veins is compressed, and if the arteries are affected, it is called arterial thoracic outlet syndrome.
    • Nonspecific-type thoracic outlet syndrome: Occurs when the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome are present but the cause cannot be determined. Doctors disagree about the validity of this form of the condition.

    What are the symptoms?

    If the nerves are compressed, numbness in the arms and fingers and pain in the neck, shoulders, and hands are common. You may notice that your grip does not feel as strong, and the muscles at the base of your thumb may begin wasting. If the blood vessels are compressed, arm pain, pale hands or hands with a bluish tint, cold fingers, and arm fatigue are common.

    How does work trigger thoracic outlet syndrome?

    Repetitive use injuries are common causes for thoracic outlet syndrome. If your job requires you to perform the same motions repeatedly, then your risk of developing this condition increases. Other causes are acute physical traumas, anatomical defects, and pregnancy.

    Your orthopaedic doctor at MK Orthopaedics may recommend physical therapy or surgery if you have thoracic outlet syndrome. If you’re suffering from these symptoms or another type of orthopaedic issues, such as ankle pain or an ACL tear, we can help. Make your appointment with an orthopaedic doctor in Joliet by calling (815) 741-6900.

  • All About Shoulder Instability

    The shoulder is the meeting place of three different bones, allowing it to move in multiple directions. Because of the intensity of the movements that shoulders must perform, orthopaedic injuries are common. Injuries can lead to both acute and chronic shoulder instability that can significantly impact your everyday activities. If you’re suffering from shoulder instability, see your orthopaedic doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment. Here is what you need to know.


    The most common symptom of shoulder instability is subluxation. With subluxation, the shoulder slips when you move it into certain positions, and it may feel loose, as if it is not in its proper place. A sharp, sudden, pinching pain usually happens when subluxation occurs, and the pain may prompt you to stop moving your shoulder in certain ways in order to prevent it. Shoulder dislocation may also occur. In people with untreated, chronic shoulder instability, dislocations may happen frequently.


    Shoulder instability often occurs after an injury that causes a dislocation that requires the shoulder joint to be put back into its socket. When this kind of injury occurs, the ligaments that hold the shoulder in position may stretch or tear, allowing instability to occur. Repetitive motions can also cause instability, which is why it is such a common sports injury. Swimming, pitching, and playing volleyball can all increase the risk of shoulder instability.


    Treatment for shoulder instability depends on the nature of the underlying injury and the severity of the symptoms. Your orthopaedic doctor may recommend physical therapy initially to build strength and re-stabilize the joint. If that is not effective, then surgery may be necessary.

    If you experience shoulder instability , make an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor in Joliet at MK Orthopaedics. Ignoring the condition could cause it to worsen, so seek treatment as soon as possible. Call us at (815) 741-6900 to make an appointment.