Surprisingly, those orthopaedic injuries you have always been led to believe are the most common may not be after all. For example, you will see from the seven common injuries we have listed below, broken arms and legs are not in the running for the top five to 10 common orthopaedic injuries. Yes, they are common, but they are not the most common. Some of the following injuries just might surprise you as to how common they really are.
1. Torn Meniscus
Experiencing a torn meniscus can be extremely painful because the meniscus is the protective cartilage that is supposed to help keep the knee safe from injuries. Once that is torn, the knee is also prone to more injuries not already sustained. The first treatment an orthopaedic specialist will try is rest and physical therapy but, in some cases, surgery is required to repair the cartilage.
2. Torn Rotator Cuff
This is also another very painful injury because the shoulder is the joint with the widest range of motion. A rotator cuff is the muscles and tendons that go through and around the shoulder. As is the case with a torn meniscus, the orthopaedic treatment first prescribed would be non-invasive treatments such as rest and physical therapy.
When either the meniscus or the rotator cuff has been stretched beyond its limits and is injured, these orthopaedic surgery options are what it will take to begin the healing process. Specialist consultants will always opt for the least invasive treatment first. However, even surgery isn’t the end of the road because the patient may need extensive physical therapy to regain that range of motion.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome has actually become quite common and may, in fact, be one of the most, if not the most, common orthopaedic injury. While it wasn’t as common before the days of digital technology, it is becoming more so today. This is because it is the result of repetitive motions such as typing, sewing, knitting and ‘busy work’ with the hands. While surgery isn’t listed as one of the orthopaedic treatments, it may require pain medication, braces and even physical therapy.
4. Torn ACL
Usually referred to as simply the ACL, this is an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. The most common cause of this injury is a sudden sharp twist or turn. Treatment for a torn ACL involves the same pattern as for a torn meniscus or a torn rotator cuff. Doctors always start with the least invasive and only resort to surgery if absolutely necessary.
5. Dislocated Shoulder
This is an injury we have all laughed at on television although it’s no laughing matter. How many movies have you watched where the poor actor says they’ve dislocated their shoulder only to have another actor make a mess of it trying to snap it back into place? If you feel that you’ve dislocated your shoulder, please learn a lesson from the television. Don’t let a friend pull and snap your shoulder. Only a qualified medical professional has the knowledge and experience to do it safely.
6. Foot and Ankle Sprains and Breaks
There are so many tiny bones in the foot that it is often difficult to tell if you’ve simply sprained it or have fractures in those bones. It will most often require an x-ray to diagnose the extent of the injury but even so, the treatment will often be the same. You will probably be told to stay off your feet, which helps to relieve the swelling. You may be fitted with a brace or cast of some kind but usually, surgery is not required unless the break is extensive. In cases like that, reconstruction surgery is performed.
7. Stress Fractures
These are other kinds of injuries that are often mistaken for strains or sprains, but they can be more serious. Stress fractures are tiny little cracks in the bone. Unfortunately, they usually occur in the lower legs or the feet which can result in a misdiagnosis if not x-rayed. These kinds of ‘fractures’ will often heal on their own because they are painful enough that the sufferer doesn’t want to put pressure on that side of the body. In a case like this, Mother Nature is the treatment if we care to listen to what she has to say!
Your key takeaway from all this should be that you will need a definitive diagnosis in order to get the right treatment. Even with stress fractures, you will not know for certain that it is, indeed, a tiny fracture so any injury resulting in pain should be seen by a medical professional. Some injuries don’t require surgery if treated early enough, but others can get exacerbated if left untreated.