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Hip Pain, Shoulder Pain and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes aches and pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia also have “tender points” throughout their bodies. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs that hurt when pressure is put on them.

Fibromyalgia affects as many as five million Americans ages 18 and older. Most people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80 – 90 percent). However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age. Fibromyalgia can occur by itself, but people with certain other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other types of arthritis, may be more likely to have it. Individuals who have a close relative with fibromyalgia are also more likely to develop it themselves.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

  • The causes of fibromyalgia are not yet known. Researchers think a number of factors might be involved. Fibromyalgia can occur on its own, but has also been linked to:
  • Having a family history of fibromyalgia
  • Being exposed to stressful or traumatic events, such as:
  • Car accidents
  • Injuries to the body caused by performing the same action over and over again (called “repetitive” injuries)
  • Infections or illnesses

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

People with fibromyalgia often see many doctors before being diagnosed. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, also are symptoms of many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often must rule out other possible causes of these symptoms before diagnosing fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia cannot be found by a lab test. A doctor who knows about fibromyalgia, however, can make a diagnosis based upon two criteria:

  1. A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months. Pain must be present in both the right and left sides of the body as well as above and below the waist.
  2. Presence of tender points. The body has 18 sites that are possible tender points. For fibromyalgia diagnosis, a person must have 11 or more tender points. For a point to be “tender,” the patient must feel pain when pressure is put on the site. People who have fibromyalgia may feel pain at other sites, too, but those 18 sites on the body are used for diagnosis.

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It’s important to find a doctor who has treated others with fibromyalgia. Many family doctors, general internists, or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who treat arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints and soft tissues.

Treatment often requires a team approach. The team may include your doctor, a physical therapist, and possibly other health care providers. A pain or rheumatology clinic can be a good place to get treatment. Treatment for fibromyalgia may include the following:

Getting enough sleep: Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Most adults need seven to eight hours of “restorative” sleep per night. Restorative sleep leaves you feeling well-rested and ready for your day to start when you wake up. It is hard for people with fibromyalgia to get a good night’s sleep. It is important to discuss any sleep problems with your doctor, who can then recommend proper treatment.

Exercising: Although pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it is crucial to be as physically active as possible. Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. People who have too much pain or fatigue to do hard exercise should just begin to move more and become more active in routine daily activities. They can begin with walking (or other gentle exercise) and build their endurance and intensity slowly.

Eating well: Although some people with fibromyalgia report feeling better when they eat or avoid certain foods, no specific diet has been proven to influence fibromyalgia. Of course, it is important to have a healthy, balanced diet. Not only will proper nutrition give you more energy and make you generally feel better, it will also help you avoid other health problems.

Pain management: Three medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia. These are pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). Other medications are being developed and may also receive FDA approval in the future. Your doctor may also suggest non-narcotic pain relievers, low-dose antidepressants, or other classes of medications that might help improve certain symptoms.

Other treatments: Complementary therapies may help you. Talk to your physician before trying any alternative treatments. These include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Myofascial release therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Light aerobics
  • Acupressure
  • Applying heat or cold
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Breathing techniques
  • Aromatherapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Nutritional supplements

To learn more information about fibromyalgia, and if you may have it, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

Sports Medicine: Keeping You in the Game

People with active lifestyles are often at increased risk for sports-related injuries. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists can properly diagnose all athletic injuries and provide treatments that restore a more pain-free condition. The Sports Medicine “team” is made up of individuals from a variety of fields such as orthopedic surgery, primary care medicine, athletic training, physical therapy, and nutrition.

Sports medicine doctors have special training to restore function to injured patients so they can get moving again as soon as possible. They are also knowledgeable about preventing illness and injury in active people. Although sports medicine doctors do work with professional athletes, they also treat children and teens involved in sports, and adults who exercise for personal fitness, as well as people who have physically demanding jobs.

Reasons to see a sports medicine specialist:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Fractures
  • Knee and shoulder injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Exercise-induced asthma
  • Heat illness
  • Concussions
  • Eating disorders
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Proper injury recovery
In addition, sports medicine doctors can provide advice on nutrition, supplements, exercise and strength training, and injury prevention.

Our experts at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence strive to prevent and treat injuries in physically active individuals. If your child sustains an injury during exercise, sports participation, or any type of physical activity, you may be advised to see a sports medicine doctor for treatment.

Our goal is to return you to play as quickly as possible while preventing re-injury and improving your body’s response to stress. We utilize cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment methods to eliminate pain and improve range of motion, so the next time you throw the ball, dunk a basket, or run toward the finish line, you will feel just as good or better than you did before your injury occurred.

Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete, our Colorado Springs orthopedic doctors give the best care possible. Request an appointment today with one of our specialists today by calling (719) 623-1050 or you can request one online.

Could Your Sports Career Lead to Knee Pain?

The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat, round bone that protects the knee joint. Your knees provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. Due to their intricacies, the hip and knee joints are the least stable in the body, susceptible to accelerated aging, deterioration, strain, and repetitive injuries. If the knee becomes injured, it can be due to many different things, but your sports career is a common one. Some sports may take more of a toll on the knees than others, such as distance running and basketball, while others tend to present more opportunities for impact, such as football or soccer.

If you are an athlete, and have ever sat on the sidelines with a knee injury, you probably appreciate more than ever, about how your knees have powered you through various sports and activities: kicking, jumping, running, and pivoting. Sport injuries can affect almost any part of the body, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments).

Although a knee problem is often caused by an injury to one or more of these structures, it may have another cause. Some people are more likely to develop knee problems than others. In other words, all those working parts mean there are bunches of ways to injure a knee. Many jobs, sports and recreation activities, getting older, or having a disease such as osteoporosis or arthritis increase your chances of having problems with your knees.  Common causes for injuries are overuse from repetitive motions, sudden stops or twists, or direct blows to the knee. To avoid knee injuries, it helps to understand how your knees work and what you can do to protect them.

Common knee injuries due to sports:

  • Sprains and Strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Meniscus Tears (ACL, MCL)
  • Fractures and Dislocations

When overuse damage, orthopedic trauma, or sports injuries occur, it can be devastating to your game, your workouts, your physical health, and your mental health. That is why the sports medicine specialists at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence work just as hard as you play your game to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and world-class care. Our goal is to return you to play as quickly as possible, while preventing re-injury and improving your body’s response to stress. 

Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete who is experiencing knee pain, our sports medicine specialists at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence can help. Call our office at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment, or you can request one online.

Is Kinesiology Tape Effective for Knee Pain?

Kinesiology is the study and science of human movement. It is a means of prevention, management, and performance. It’s well-known that exercise and physical activity are key to a healthy life. Kinesiologists are experts in exercise and the body’s motion, with the goal of educating and helping people move better, live longer and be healthier.

These scientists are not only committed to enhancing quality of life through the promotion of physical activity, but also the prevention and management of injury, and the overall improvement of health and performance, including musculoskeletal disorders. Kinesiologists are also responsible for lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases. The science of kinesiology’s main goal is to build strong bones, joints and bodies. However, some people, depending on age, have limited mobility and are prone to injuries, especially of the knees.

Your knee happens to be the largest joint in the body. You count on your knees to provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. Since the knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, knee injuries can become complicated since they could be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. No matter what your age, you have likely experienced some sort of knee pain. Whether you are an athlete who experiences occasional soreness, or you live with chronic pain like arthritis, it is very important to know how your body works, and what you’re able to do. What is also very important is to know how to avoid or reduce the risk of knee injuries.

Kinesiology Tape and its Effect on Knee Pain:

Watch almost any modern sporting event, from a nationally televised game to a local 5k, and chances are you will encounter one thing in common: athletes wearing kinesiology tape. In the past few years, kinesiology taping has exploded in the world of athletics. A recent study has found that kinesiology tape can improve pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis, as well as improve joint mobility and decrease pain.

What is Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic tape with an acrylic adhesive tape that is applied directly to the skin. Kinesiology tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows the taped area to move without restriction, while also providing support to muscles and joints.

Many people associate the use of kinesiology tape with sports and active lifestyles, yet there is growing evidence that it can be helpful in painful conditions that restrict people’s everyday function. Therapeutic kinesiology tape can benefit those people with a wide variety of musculoskeletal or sports injuries, plus inflammatory conditions. While kinesiology tape is most often used for musculoskeletal conditions (issues arising from muscles and joints), it’s also used for reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and promoting lymphatic drainage. “Taping” has become a widely-accepted form of therapy in the athletic population, but its potential to help many more people is just beginning to be tapped into.

Osteoarthritis and Taping: Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a painful condition that plagues much of the older adult population. Lost cartilage and loosened ligaments result in abnormal wear on the joints that can be extreme enough to limit the ability to function in normal daily activities. Arthritis can occur in any joint, but mostly affects knees, hips, hands, feet, and the spine. Studies have shown kinesiology tape to be effective in reducing knee pain and improving the ability to perform activities, such as climbing the stairs. Research also suggests that kinesiology taping offers promise for those suffering from arthritis in other joints besides the knee.

Post-surgical healing and Taping: Major joint replacement surgery is common today, and often these are the same joints susceptible to arthritis (knees, hips, shoulders, etc.). Afterward, reducing pain, controlling swelling, and improving mobility become primary concerns in the healing process. Taping has been shown to reduce post-operative pain, swelling, and to improve knee mobility in patients with total knee replacements.

If you would like to learn more information about kinesiology tape, call the bone and joint experts at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

What Does a Hurt Shoulder mean?

The shoulder is an elegant piece of machinery. It happens to have the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. However, this large range of motion can cause the shoulder to become unstable, leading to joint problems and the site of multiple injuries. Your shoulder joint is composed of four joints, over 30 muscles and 6 major ligaments, and three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone).  An edge of the scapula, called the acromion, forms the top of the shoulder.

Understanding how the different layers of the shoulder are built and connected can help someone understand how the shoulder works, how it can become injured, and how challenging recovery can be when injuries occur. As you can see, the shoulder is extremely complex. When you realize all the different ways and positions we use our hands and shoulders every day, it is easy to understand how they are highly vulnerable to injury and how hard daily life can be when the shoulder isn’t working well.

The most common type of shoulder injuries involves chronic shoulder pain, rotator cuff tears, total shoulder replacement, and shoulder impingement syndrome. Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Arthritis, injury, and repetitive motions such as those used during sports or work-related activities are leading causes of shoulder or elbow pain, stiffness, and restriction of movement.

However shoulder trouble happens, you should take it seriously. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, too many people try to “play through the pain,” often turning a minor annoyance into a serious injury. If your shoulder feels stiff and you can’t move your arm normally, or if your shoulder feels weak or ready to pop out of its joint, schedule an appointment with your doctor or an orthopedic specialist. If the pain is intense or you cannot move your arm at all, call your doctor right away.

Here’s a rundown of the most common types of shoulder injuries:

Dislocated shoulder:

When the head of your upper-arm bone (the humerus) slips partially or completely out of the shoulder joint, you have a dislocated shoulder. This injury can happen any number of ways, from pitching a baseball to falling and landing hard on your shoulder. In any case, the injury is impossible to ignore. Your arm will feel like it’s hanging loose, and the pain will be intense. Dislocations call for immediate medical help. A doctor or other medical professional can push the arm bone back into the shoulder joint, providing dramatic and immediate pain relief. It’s not a good idea to try and pop it back in yourself, as you could easily injure yourself further.

Your shoulder problems aren’t over just because your arm is back in place. You may have to wear a sling for several weeks to rest and protect the joint. You may also have to ice the shoulder three or four times a day to reduce pain and swelling. After the swelling goes down, you can start daily exercises to strengthen your shoulder and reduce the risk of further injuries.

Separated shoulder:

A separated shoulder isn’t the same as a dislocated shoulder, but it can be just as painful. If you have a separated shoulder, the ligaments connecting your shoulder blade to your collarbone have become either strained or torn. Your shoulder will feel loose, and your arm may feel weak or even numb. The pain in your shoulder can be intense, especially if the ligaments are torn. If you only have a mild strain, you may feel moderate pain when you throw a ball or lift your arm.

Injured rotator cuff:

The “rotator cuff” is the collective name for a group of muscles and tendons that connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder blade. The rotator cuff is a vital part of the shoulder. It’s also prone to injury. If you injure or overwork your shoulder by repeatedly throwing a ball or lifting heavy objects, the tendons in the rotator cuff can become inflamed, a condition called tendinitis. In more extreme cases, the tendons and muscles in the rotator cuff can actually tear.

Injury Prevention and treatment:

To avoid injuries to the shoulder, start weightlifting sessions with a brief cardiovascular warm-up, to loosen muscles and joints. Make sure to stretch the upper body after lifting weights to prevent tight muscles and ligaments that are vulnerable to tears and sprains.

You can also prevent future injuries with weight training to strengthen the muscles that connect to your shoulders. Dips and push-ups are good ways to strengthen the whole shoulder girdle. Even abdominal exercises can help to prevent shoulder injuries. Whether you’re pitching a baseball or reaching into a closet, a strong abdominal core supports the torso, providing more overall control.

If your injury is mild or severe, your doctor will recommend daily exercises to start once you’ve recovered. These will help to strengthen your shoulder and prevent future problems.

To find out what is causing your shoulder pain, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

The Difference Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Words that sound the same may be very confusing, especially if the words are medical in nature. Medical terminology can be a very overwhelming language to learn, even to some medical professionals! This is especially true once you see how closely spelled, and in some cases, pronounced, some terms are. It is imperative that close attention is paid when using medical terminology in order to be sure that the desired information is communicated. Let’s spend a little time making sure we understand the differences between some commonly confused medical word roots. With few exceptions, we will use various suffixes, as we explore these root words to help distinguish the meanings easier.

Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Even though they may seem alike, there is a difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical therapy aims to reduce pain, improve and restore mobility and function, and prevent disability. Occupational therapy aims to help individuals across the lifespan engage in occupations, or everyday activities, that individuals want and need to do.

Physical Therapy:

The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, physical therapists are experts in the way the body moves, and they help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.

Physical therapy can help treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it’s arthritis or another condition, and will help chronic pain improve over time. Physical therapy may include water therapy, such as working muscles in a pool or whirlpool. Physical therapy also includes regular exercise, and working with pain specialists trained in physical therapy can teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate pain, not increase it.

Occupational Therapy:

Occupational therapists must often determine whether the patient can complete daily functions on their own, or whether a caregiver is ultimately needed. They focus on the patient’s well-being, both in and outside of therapy.

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities or occupations. Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent or live better with their injury, illness, or disability.  Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, as well as helping people recovering from injury to regain skills.  

To learn more about the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment. 

Physical Therapy Can Eliminate the Need for Medication

Have you ever suffered from such bad and long lasting pain that you just reach for your medicine cabinet and take whatever will relieve your pain the fastest? Truth is, that pain medications such as Tylenol and Aleve usually only offer temporary pain relief, meaning, it is not going to stop the pain or cure what’s causing it. Fortunately, there are many alternative approaches available through pain management specialists who can provide you with better pain management strategies. When it comes to pain management, medication isn’t the only solution.

In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions, from rotator cuff tears to degenerative disk disease and knee osteoarthritis. Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective treatment that can improve mobility and relieve pain. They will try to reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, and allow patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.

Avoid Surgery and Prescription Drugs

While surgery and prescription drugs can be the best course of treatment for certain diagnoses, there is increasing evidence demonstrating that conservative treatments like physical therapy can be equally effective and much less expensive. Prescription pain medication will often only mask the pain, and can have unfortunate side effects such as constipation, and the potential for addiction. In some cases, surgery may be the only way to fix the injury, but the best protocol is often to try a non-invasive approach first. The one thing that surgery cannot do is strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility, and physical therapy is often prescribed after many orthopedic surgeries.

Most importantly, unlike medication, physical therapy can help treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it’s arthritis or another condition, and will help to reduce chronic pain over time. Physical therapy may include stretching, aerobic exercise, yoga and pilates, and even water therapy – such as working muscles in a pool or whirlpool to reduce impact and stress. Physical therapy also includes regular exercise, and working with our trained physical therapists will teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate and avoid pain, rather than increasing it.

Benefits of physical therapy:

The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, they are experts in the way the body moves, and they help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.

A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being. Primary care doctors often refer patients for physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a traditional approach to managing problems.

If you are experiencing chronic pain or reduced mobility and would like to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

Occupational Therapy Reduces Hospital Readmissions

By definition, Occupational therapists must often determine whether the patient can complete daily functions on their own, or whether a caregiver is ultimately needed. They focus on the patient’s well being, both in and outside of therapy, with the ultimate goal of determining and maintaining a person’s capability to function in regular society. In some circumstances, an occupational therapist is tasked with evaluating whether someone will continue to be at risk of hospitalization if left in their current living or working situation.

Research and evidence from an independent study published in Medical Care Research and Review showed that occupational therapy reduces hospital readmission rates for the three health conditions studied: heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. This was largely due to how occupational therapy places a unique focus on the patient’s return to his or her daily life. Improvement of daily functions is immensely important for the safety of patients, and thus are the primary focus of occupational therapists.

The research specifically looked at Medicare claims and cost data to understand hospital spending for specific services and the 30-day admission rates for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. The correlation focused on occupational therapy’s mission to improve patient’s functional and social needs, which are huge underlying factors in readmission if left unaddressed. Sometimes, a helping hand is needed to guide people back to a healthy and safe lifestyle.

 

The study cited six specific interventions that occupational therapists can provide to lower readmission rates by:

  • Providing recommendations and training for caregivers. Making sure that the caregivers and patient have a good understanding and respect for one another.
  • Determining whether patients can safely live independently, or require further rehabilitation, nursing care, or assisted living.
  • Addressing existing disabilities with assistive devices, so patients can safely perform activities of daily living (e.g., using the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed, making a meal).
  • Performing home safety assessments before discharge, to suggest modifications or the possible need for a home that is more amenable to a particular patient.
  • Assessing cognition and the ability to physically manipulate things like medication containers, and provide training when necessary.
  • Working with physical therapists to increase the intensity of inpatient rehabilitation when needed, and determine the best possible rehab plan for the patient.

If you would like more information on this study go to: Occupational Therapy Reduces Hospital Readmissions, and call Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence (719) 623-1050  to request an appointment.

Preparing to Run a Marathon

Gearing up to run a marathon takes a lot of guts, preparation, and hard work. If you are running in your first marathon, give yourself a major pat on the back. Running is an enjoyable sport for many people, and a race or marathon is like taking it to the next level. Marathons take patience and endurance, but with the right training plan and a positive attitude, you will achieve your goal – whatever your reasons are for doing one.

The actual training for competing in a marathon is no easy task, either. Months of training and conditioning are often required for an optimal outcome.  Some people devote their entire day to training, while others fit it in around everyday activities and work responsibilities. Before you think of running a marathon, just know that it is for motivated and dedicated people only, as these types of races are all about not giving up.

Completing 26.2 miles is an inspiring accomplishment and goal that many people want to achieve, may think that they cannot. In other words, if you want to be one of the 0.5 percent of people in the United States who run a marathon, it requires commitment and dedication. After completing a marathon, there are many rewards, both psychologically and physically. Diving into a marathon before you have taken the necessary steps is not sensible, as it is unhealthy and increases your chance of becoming badly injured. The most important thing is to have fun while accomplishing your goals the right way.

Choosing your marathon depends on multiple factors, such as time, location, size, and the course or type of terrain. Many marathons in the United States are held in October or November when conditions are most likely to be cooler. However, events that land in the fall often require training throughout the summer, when it is hot. Weather can be unpredictable; it is good to check the weather you’re likely to face on race day and in training when making your initial selection.

To find out more information on how to prepare for a marathon, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050.

Cracking Knuckles: Is it bad for you?

Around 25 – 54 percent of people possess the habit of cracking their knuckles. Although a lot of people love cracking their knuckles, the habit is poorly understood. Likewise, many people believe that cracking your knuckles may cause a number of health problems.

Some people, for instance, think that the habit can lead to arthritis. From fingers and toes to necks and knees, everybody knows that someone who is a habitual joint popper. There have been rumors going around that their habit may cause arthritis, but are those rumors true?

Many of your joints, including those that allow your fingers to move and pop feature small pockets, or gaps, that are filled with synovial fluid. Like grease, this fluid allows the bones that have joints to glide close to one another without friction. When you pull, or “crack” a joint, you’re expanding the volume of space between your bones, and this expansion creates negative pressure, which sucks the synovial fluid into the newly created space. This sudden inflow of fluid is the popping you hear and feel when you crack your knuckles.

 So is this bad for your joints? Almost certainly not, as multiple studies have looked into the prevalence of “crackers” among large groups of osteoarthritis patients. They found no evidence that finger pullers and poppers are more likely to suffer from arthritis than those who don’t crack their knuckles. As stated before, there is no medical evidence to support this notion, but as evidence shows, it is possible that cracking knuckles a lot over a long period of time could cause problems like swelling or reduced grip strength.

To find out more information about this non-correlation between cracking your knuckles and arthritis, or another related concern, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment. 

Around 25 – 54 percent of people possess the habit of cracking their knuckles. Although a lot of people love cracking their knuckles, the habit is poorly understood. Likewise, many people believe that cracking your knuckles may cause a number of health problems.

Some people, for instance, think that the habit can lead to arthritis. From fingers and toes to necks and knees, everybody knows that someone who is a habitual joint popper. There have been rumors going around that their habit may cause arthritis, but are those rumors true?

Many of your joints, including those that allow your fingers to move and pop feature small pockets, or gaps, that are filled with synovial fluid. Like grease, this fluid allows the bones that have joints to glide close to one another without friction. When you pull, or “crack” a joint, you’re expanding the volume of space between your bones, and this expansion creates negative pressure, which sucks the synovial fluid into the newly created space. This sudden inflow of fluid is the popping you hear and feel when you crack your knuckles.

 So is this bad for your joints? Almost certainly not, as multiple studies have looked into the prevalence of “crackers” among large groups of osteoarthritis patients. They found no evidence that finger pullers and poppers are more likely to suffer from arthritis than those who don’t crack their knuckles. As stated before, there is no medical evidence to support this notion, but as evidence shows, it is possible that cracking knuckles a lot over a long period of time could cause problems like swelling or reduced grip strength.

To find out more information about this non-correlation between cracking your knuckles and arthritis, or another related concern, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.