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How Choosing an Orthopedic Urgent Care can Save You Time

Orthopedic injuries can happen at any time, but there is a good chance of having an accident that results in a broken bone, sprain, or strain over the weekend. Weekend warriors out there playing sports or participating in other outdoor activities run the risk of getting hurt. If you get injured over the weekend or even in the evening, choosing an orthopedic urgent care could save you valuable time in getting the treatment you need. 

When you go to an orthopedic urgent care center, you will be seen by either an orthopedic surgeon or a physician assistant (PA), who has had extensive training in diagnosing and treating orthopedic injuries. He or she would also have assisted in many surgeries, and have experience in determining which injuries need the care of an orthopedic surgeon. 

If you go to the ER, chances are you will get an X-ray and splint with instructions to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. If you go to an orthopedic urgent care, in addition to getting to see an orthopedic PA, you can be seen by a surgeon much faster most of the time. Some facilities are able to schedule surgery right away at their affiliated outpatient center.

Here are some of the injuries that can be treated efficiently at an orthopedic urgent care:

  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Sprains and strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Sports injuries
  • Foot or ankle injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Hand or wrist injuries

If you live in the Colorado Springs area, arrange to see the orthopedic experts at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence. From professional sports medicine including the US Olympic team, to treatment of osteoarthritis, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons provide the best possible care. Call (719) 623-1050 for a priority appointment with a skilled and experienced orthopedic provider.

Does Your Joint Replacement Have a Warranty?

One of the most common questions patients tend to ask their orthopedic surgeons, is about how long their joint replacement will last. Will it last a certain number of years, or is there a designated warranty that comes with the joint replacement, whether hip, knee, shoulder, etc.?  While you might think this type of question would be easy to answer, your orthopedic surgeon will tell you it’s not that simple.

This question is actually quite complicated to answer for orthopedic surgeons. Everyone’s anatomy is unique and built differently. In the past, surgeons used to say after joint replacement surgery, that a patient’s artificial joints would last about 10 to 15 years. However, with modern materials and updated surgical techniques, current studies and evidence-based research show that approximately 96 percent of today’s modern joint replacements, especially knee replacements, will still be functioning past the 15-year mark.

Your joint replacement does not necessarily have a warranty, per se, as each patient is unique in both their anatomy and their level of physical activity. Sometimes a patient is notified by their surgeon that they will require revision surgery. This means that the patient will need to undergo a second surgery to fix their problem. The failure of a joint replacement can occur for variety of different reasons.  These include infection, trauma, loosening of the implant, degeneration (wearing out), or poor positioning of the original implant.

For patients who are suffering from debilitating chronic pain due to degenerative diseases such as arthritis, people who are candidates for joint replacement often suffer from severe joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, muscle weakness, and limited mobility. Therefore, undergoing joint replacement surgery can help relieve their pain, improve their mobility, and most importantly, improve their quality of life immensely.

With a drastic improvement in surgical techniques, high-quality care and materials, such as metal, ceramic, and plastic, the new artificial joint is attached the bone, allowing the bone to grow into the implant. Physical therapy will be recommended afterwards by your surgeon, as rehabilitation will dramatically increase mobility, help with balance, and decrease the recovery time, giving the patient a higher quality of life in the end.

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we utilize the most advanced surgical methods available today, including minimally invasive procedures whenever possible.

To learn how you can make your joint replacement last, and if you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

The Different Types of Orthopedic Surgeons

The word “orthopedic” itself actually translates as the care of children. The prefix ortho- means straight, and the suffix -peds means child. Put the word together and it means to make a child straight. Therefore, orthopedic surgeons aim to and specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, meaning whatever is compromising the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue. The field of orthopedics contains various areas of specialty, as general orthopedic surgeons are educated and skilled at treating various parts of the body.

In other words, the field of orthopedics is a collaborative team and group effort. It takes a team of trained and highly-skilled surgeons of different specialties to help meet the different needs of people. Whether you suffer from arthritis, an athlete with a sports injury, sprain/strain or broken leg, or a child with scoliosis, there are a variety of orthopedic surgeons that you can choose from to treat your unique needs. The top types of surgeons within the orthopedic field include:

1.     Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons: Believe it or not, orthopedic surgeons treat children. Parents may turn to an orthopedic surgeon if they have concerns over their child’s growth and development. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons deal with scoliosis, broken bones, and a variety of other conditions and injuries affecting the growth plates in a child’s bones. 

2.     Sports Medicine: Athletes and active people often find themselves prone to injuries. Orthopedic surgeons often specialize in sports medicine to help athletes and non-athletes maintain a healthy lifestyle, and treat those with sports-related injuries, helping them recover and rehabilitate, to be able to function and restore mobility, to get back to doing the things that they love in a timely manner.

3.     Trauma Surgeons: When a trauma occurs due to car accidents, violence, and other severe injuries, trauma surgeons work quickly to repair the damage such as broken bones and torn ligaments, in order to prevent long-term damage. These surgeons also help rehabilitate patients from injuries after surgery.

4.     Foot & Ankle: Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating injuries and conditions affecting the lower extremities, more specifically the feet and ankles. Since the ankles and feet have a complex composition of bones, ligaments, joints, etc., a foot and ankle specialist is able to have a more intimate knowledge about the anatomy and treatment of this area. 

To learn more about these types of surgeons and others within the field of orthopedics, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

Why You Should Visit Your Sports Medicine Doctor Regularly?

If you are an athlete or just enjoy playing sports, you can’t afford to take time away from your game. So, when overuse damage, orthopedic trauma, or sports injuries occur, it can be devastating to your game, your workouts, your physical health, and even your mental health. That’s why sports medicine is an integral sub-specialty of orthopedic medicine.

Sports medicine is a medical specialty that helps people recover from their sports related injuries. However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to be susceptible to sports injuries. Recreational athletes, weekend warriors, and physically active people can receive a host of orthopedic injuries, like fractures, and muscle sprains and strains. 

Our musculoskeletal system is made up of hundreds of moving parts, all working together to allow our body to move and function at its optimal level. Sometimes these structures become injured, and are in need of treatment. The tools and techniques used by an orthopedic specialist to diagnose and treat conditions are constantly evolving. It’s good to know that there are a variety of solutions available to help your sport medicine doctor accurately diagnose disorders and injuries affecting bones, muscles, ligaments, tendon, and cartilage.

People with active lifestyles are often at risk for sports-related injuries. Board certified and fellowship-trained sports medicine specialists can properly diagnose athletic injuries and provide treatments that restore your motion and will help get you back to your sport in even better shape than before. 

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, our sports medicine specialists work just as hard as you play your game, to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and world-class care. Some of the most frequent sports injuries we treat include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis and bursitis
  • Knee ligament tears and reconstruction (ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL)
  • Meniscal tears
  • Achilles tendonitis and tears
  • Shoulder instability and dislocation
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder labrum tear
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Shin splints
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Femoroacetabular impingement / hip labrum tear

Our sports medicine doctors use the least-invasive techniques whenever possible to treat sports injuries, but surgery may sometimes be necessary. Our fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons operate with precision on injured joints, ligaments, and tendons to ensure that delicate nerves, tissues, and other surrounding anatomy is preserved.

Our main 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, hoping to have you feel just as good or better than you did before your injury occurred.

Caring for these problems quickly and effectively makes it possible for these athletes to return to their sports in good shape. Sports medicine focuses on helping both amateur and professional athletes improve their performance, recover from injury, and prevent future injuries. But it’s more than just that.  Sports medicine doctors are also good resources for those who need help with making better and healthy lifestyle decisions, and achieving their peak physical performancce.

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we see sports medicine as a large part of orthopedic medicine. Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete, make an appointment with one of our sports medicine specialists today by calling (719) 623-1050, or you can request one online.

Hip Replacement vs Hip Resurfacing

We don’t think about how much wear and tear our musculoskeletal system takes on a daily basis, especially our hips. As we age, everyday use wears down the bones and cartilage inside the hip joint. This natural degeneration of the bones and cartilage inside the hip is the cause of one of the most common condition affecting the hip, called osteoarthritis. This is a painful condition that causes severe chronic pain, stiffness in the joint, and limited mobility, which inhibits people from going about their daily tasks and activities. The good news, is that surgical procedures such as hip replacement or resurfacing help man people restore function and mobility, reducing the pain caused by bone on bone friction in the hip.

The hip joint is where the ball of the thigh bone (femur) joins the pelvis at a socket called the acetabulum. There is cartilage covering both the bone of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis in the hip joint. This helps to prevent bone on bone friction, keeping the bones from wearing down. Damage to any of the hip joint components will cause significant chronic pain, discomfort, and dysfunction (limited mobility).

There is a tissue lining surrounding the hip joint, called synovium, which produces fluid, and is responsible for lubricating the joint and providing nutrients to the cartilage of the joint. The hip joint is one the large joints of the body which most importantly enables us to have a wide range of mobility, helping the thigh move forwards and backwards. Without hip cartilage, the bones connecting the joints will rub up against each other, causing painful friction, inflammation, and in some cases, bone deformity.

If you have been suffering with hip pain and reduced function, it’s important to consult with an orthopedic specialist to diagnose the problem. If tests show that surgical intervention is required to treat your case of hip osteoarthritis, there are two solutions: hip resurfacing or hip replacement. Both hip resurfacing and hip replacement procedures involve removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with a prosthetic joint. Hip pain is a hard condition to live with, and if you are an active person especially, not being able to do what you love is a major problem. That’s why Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence stays up to date on the best, most advance surgical options for repairing and replacing degenerative hips. So, what are the differences between hip replacement and hip resurfacing? 

Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a technique which has become widespread in recent years in response to the need for repairing hip joints that have been damaged by injury or arthritis. According to research, last year, approximately 300,000 Americans underwent a total hip replacement to relieve the pain of an arthritic or broken hip joint.

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint is surgically replaced with a prosthetic joint. As mentioned before, the normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The socket is a “cup-shaped” component of the pelvis called the acetabulum. The ball is the head of the thighbone (femur). Hip replacement involves the surgical removal of the diseased and degenerated ball and socket joint, replacing them with an artificial hip implant, where a metal, ceramic, or plastic ball and cup socket is inserted into the femur bone. An additional rod is also used to fuse the joint together. The goal of hip resurfacing is to remove problematic areas and replace them with an artificial joint that will help the hip to work more efficiently than the damaged original.

Typical candidates for hip replacement surgery are patients experiencing hip pain who have not responded well to traditional treatment methods, such as physical therapy or pain medications. As with resurfacing, recovery from this procedure is a bit of a process, depending on the severity of the case, and the person. In most cases, patients remain hospitalized for 4 to 6 days, but usually with the aid of physical therapy, crutches or a walker, patients recovering can start walking again within a few days of the surgery. For patients who are recipients of hip replacements, their artificial hip should last up to 15 years or more, and will most importantly, improve their quality of life by allowing them to go about their lives with minimal pain.

Hip Resurfacing

Anatomically thinking, the end of the leg bone (femur) is a round ball, which fits into a space within the hip bone (socket). During hip resurfacing surgery, the ball joint is covered with a metal prosthesis while preserving the bone. 

In other words, hip resurfacing, unlike hip replacement surgery, is a procedure that only deals with the ball of the hip. During this procedure, the surgeon reshapes the damaged hip ball, which then is capped with a metal prosthesis. The damaged hip socket is also fitted with a metal prosthesis as well.

Hip resurfacing has become popular, and has attracted younger patients, because it has been said that this procedure preserves more bone, and is often considered to be a better solution than a total hip replacement. However, depending on the damage and condition of the joint, hip resurfacing may not be enough needed for repair.

Today, the sockets used during hip replacement surgery, are composed of two main components: a metal socket into which bone grows, and a plastic liner. This is an important distinction because if for some reason the hip fails and more surgery is necessary, the entire socket in a resurfaced hip most likely will need to be removed and replaced with a new one. If hip replacement surgery fails, and more surgery is needed to revise the socket, the hip resurfacing procedure is designed, so that only the plastic liner has to be revised, not the metal shell.

In other words, the fact that hip resurfacing preserves more bone is important, because having more femoral bone available will make the femoral revision easier. Physicians often say to their patients, that it is easier to deal with bone loss on the femoral side than on the socket side.

Recovery after the hip resurfacing procedure takes a bit longer than other minimally invasive surgeries, due to the procedures complex nature. Most patients are able to walk unassisted after two to three weeks. A resurfaced hip joint can last up to 20 years without complications.

To learn more about hip replacement and hip resurfacing, and if you may be a candidate, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

The hip is a major joint. During a total hip replacement, which is typically an invasive procedure, the surgeon removes the top of the femur, or thigh bone, and replaces it with an artificial stem and ball, made of ceramic, metal, or plastic – inserted into the hip socket. 

During traditional hip replacement surgery, surgeons usually have to make a 12-inch incision at the thigh area, cutting through tendons and muscles in order to reach the hip joint. This will not only cause trauma to the area, but can also cause a large amount of blood to be lost, due to the invasive nature of the surgery. Not only that, during a total hip replacement, the hip is usually dislocated beforehand, which by nature causes damages to tissue in the hip, and the surrounding tissues as well.

Today, advances in medical technology has developed in multiple aspects, including: surgical techniques, patient education, patient pre-op preparation, discharge process, the way anesthesia is administered, etc. These advancements include making joint replacement a minimally-invasive procedure with cutting-edge technology such as da Vinci robotics, which has drastically improved patient health, and have led to less hospital readmissions and shorter stays. This also means that patients experience a faster recovery, and may experience a lower risk of complications.

Just like the traditional hip replacements, minimally invasive hip replacement surgery also involves replacing the damaged hip joint with prosthetic parts. However, with the procedure being minimally invasive, the surgeons use smaller incisions, causing less damage to the surrounding muscle and soft tissue. Much like arthroscopic surgery, the orthopedic surgeon is able to utilize the smallest tools and scopes possible to reduce the damage to surrounding tissue.

Other advantages of minimally invasive hip replacement include:

  • A smaller incision or pair of incisions results in a smaller post-surgery scar.
  • Less blood loss during surgery.
  • Less cutting of muscle and tissue during the procedure, resulting in shorter and easier rehabilitation.
  • The procedure may require a hospital stay of only one or two days, and can even be done as an outpatient procedure, allowing the patient to go home to same day.

Despite the many advantages of a minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, not all patients will qualify, depending on the severity of their damaged or diseased joint. Talk to your doctor immediately about your hip pain, in order to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure. Don’t wait, as doing so can cause further complications. Patients who are obese or have existing bone problems such as osteoporosis are not candidates, as excess weight places extreme stress on your joints. The doctor may suggest making healthy lifestyle changes before undergoing the procedure.  Despite its name, minimally invasive surgery is still a complex procedure.

To find out if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Improving Your Peak Performance

Just like any muscle in the body, the human brain can be strong or weak. Therefore, if you want something to improve, you have to train for it to get better. Being able to power through injury, illness, and mental roadblocks can be difficult at times, but ultimately will improve your peak performance. The key is knowing how to do so, as our mind and body are connected.

Chronic pain, stress, mental illness (anxiety and depression), overeating, poor sleep, and sickness due to a weakened immune system, can all be signals from the body that something is out of balance. Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act.

For example, when you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. This is especially true when it comes to your emotional health, or maybe even your overall health. One of the main tenets of psychology states, your mind is connected to your body. In other words, the nature of our mind reflects the state of the body.

Plato stated, “For the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” This ancient philosophy says that our body is made up of symbiotic parts, and if one part is compromised or not working at its optimal level, other factors will be affected, and can negatively impact someone’s overall health. Luckily, our bodies are remarkably resilient, and can heal themselves over time. Even so, there are things you can do to boost your mental and physical health, and to operate at your peak performance.

It is highly encouraged for people to be responsible and mindful of the daily care of their health and lifestyle, whether it be mentally, physically, professionally, or emotionally. To do so, Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence provides resources, and offers a variety of approaches and techniques to empower our patients on how to take responsibility for their overall well-being.

Some important factors include: 

Good Nutrition: Your brain cannot function properly if it does not receive the proper nutrients and fuel that it needs. So, boost your body’s immune system by consuming the nutrients and vitamins it needs to perform at the highest level possible. We can help you find the right dietary mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean meats and fresh fish. 

Exercise: It is time to keep your body active. Not only does it keep you healthy, it helps with keeping your mind clear, and relieves stress and anxiety. Our orthopedic specialists and physical therapists can help you find the best exercise and activity regimen that will keep you on the climb towards your pinnacle of fitness.

Meditation: In order to perform at your best, you have to be in the best frame of mind. Meditation can take your mind to a whole new level, by feeling at peace with your body. As mentioned before, the body and mind are connected. Therefore, meditation removes the negativity and impurities that clog your mind. Keeping your mind clear will help you perform at your best, and may provide some perspective about the best path towards wellness.

To learn more about the best methods for striving for peak performance and overall wellness, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

The complex anatomy of the hand consists of 27 bones, along with muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. If any of these structures become injured, pain and loss of function can put a damper on almost all activities. In other words, you rely on the use of your hands for almost everything you do on a daily basis. However, when you have constant pain and discomfort in your hands or wrists, these simple tasks become more difficult and uncomfortable. Some conditions, such as trigger finger, are not only painful, but also affect your appearance and function.

Any hand or wrist problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or a tingling sensation, or abnormal shape, that persists for more than two or three days should be evaluated by your orthopedist to establish the cause, and allow treatment as early as possible. Early diagnosis and early treatment generally give the best results.

So, you notice that one day when making a fist, you try to straighten your fingers afterwards, when one catches when attempting to bring it back into a straight position, causing pain. After you go to a doctor to check it out, they diagnose you with a condition called trigger finger, caused by overuse.

Trigger finger, known medically as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain, locking, popping or clicking of the fingers or thumb when the hand is opened or closed. Muscles in your forearm attach to tendons that run all the way down to the bones at the ends of your fingers. These muscles are what help you bend your fingers into a fist. 

The reason why we are able to open and close our hand is due to our tendons being pulled close to the bones of the fingers by pulleys. If these pulleys become too thick, stiff, tight or swollen, commonly due to inflammation, this causes the finger to “trigger” or get stuck when trying to straighten your fingers after being in a fist. Therefore, if the tendon cannot glide freely, trigger finger occurs.

Symptoms of trigger finger can occur differently for people, which is why it is not always easy to identify the cause. In its early stages, trigger finger can cause pain on the palm of your hand, or on the back side of a finger. Trigger finger causes inflammation, creating symptoms of stiffness and swelling. As the muscles and tendons in our fingers give us the ability to move, when someone is diagnosed with trigger finger, there can be a painful snapping sensation when opening and closing the hand. Often one of our fingers can get stuck in a certain position, making it painful and impossible to straighten or bend it.

To learn more about trigger finger and its symptoms, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

What is Swan Neck?

The fingers are made up of bones called phalanges. The phalanges in each joint are separated by two joints called interphalangeal joints (IP joint). The two joints are the distal IP joint (DIP joint), meaning further away, and the proximal IP joint (PIP joint), meaning the middle or closer in. These IP joints of the fingers are like hinge joints, allowing us to have mobility with our hands, including straightening and bending. 

The tendons allow each of our finger joints to be able to flex and straighten completely. These are called extensor tendons. The extensor tendons come from the muscles that arise from the backside of the bones located in the forearm. These muscles travel toward the hand, where they eventually connect to the extensor tendons before crossing over the back of the wrist joint.

Then, the extensor tendons become what is called the extensor hood. The extensor hood becomes flat in order to cover the top of the finger. The extensor hood sends out branches of ligaments (tough bands of tissue) to connect the bones in the middle and end of the finger. When the extensor muscles contract, they tug on the extensor tendon, allowing the joints to work together, so that the finger can straighten and bend.

Finger position and movement of the hand occur from the balanced actions of many important structures, that work cohesively when everything is normal. Ligaments support the finger joints, muscles hold and give our fingers the ability to move, while tendons help control the motion of each finger. Any injury or condition can disturb the balance and inner workings of all these parts, altering functionality and the alignment and structure of the hand and fingers. The result may be a condition call swan neck.

What is Swan Neck?

Swan neck is a deformity, in simple terms, a crooked finger. The PIP joint (the joint in the middle of the main knuckle and DIP joint), includes the strongest ligament called the volar plate. These ligaments connect on the palm side of the joint. As the ligament tightens when the finger is straight, the PIP joint is protected from bending back too far, or hyperextending. Swan neck deformity occurs when the PIP joint in the finger becomes hyperextended and the DIP joint at the end of the finger is flexed, causing a crooked finger.

Swan neck symptoms include inflammation from injury, or conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), causing pain and swelling of the PIP joint. This imbalance causes the finger to look like a swan’s neck, bent and abnormally crooked.

Your doctor will physically examine your finger, and sometimes order an X-ray to check your joints and look at the alignment, to fully diagnosis the problem. Treatment for swan neck deformity can be nonsurgical or surgical, depending upon the severity of the deformity. The approach your doctor chooses will also depend on whether the proximal IP joint is flexible or stiff.

 While the term deformity connotes a visual disturbance, remember that it can also affect mobility and day-to-day function, so getting treatment is important! To learn more about swan neck deformity and how to treat it, call the orthopedic surgeons at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.