Is It Osteoarthritis?

Within your knee join there is a very smooth fibrous connective tissue, known as articular cartilage. This covers the areas where each bone comes into contact with one another, the $20 phrase would be articular surfaces.

Under normal circumstances, a normal joint this articular cartilage allows for smooth movement within the joint as well as acting as a shock absorber. However, there is a very common disease called Osteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease)and that is the degradation of this much needed cartilage. As the disease progresses, the cartilage itself becomes thinner and in some cases may wear away altogether. Along with decreased mobility, there is also pain associated. In addition, the bones themselves become thicker and may form bony “spurs”. Associated with these changes is the inflammation of the synovial membrane or thin lining which surrounds the knee joint to keep the synovial fluid or lubrication in place. Osteoarthritis can form in any joint but is more common in weight bearing joints such as the knee and hip.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

What exactly causes of osteoarthritis are unknown and the reason some people get it and others do not is still being researched. However there are a number of factors that are commonly associated with the onset of the disease that show a direct link to increasing your chances of Osteoarthritis:

Previous Injuries – Previous trauma to a particular joint increases the risk osteoarthritis forming there.
Heredity – Some individuals have a defective gene responsible for cartilage production which increases their susceptibility to osteoarthritis.
Weight - As osteoarthritis commonly occurs in the weight bearing joints, like the knee and hip, excessive body weight can hasten the progression of the disease.
Repetitive overuse – This may be as a result of excessive exercising or repeated strain on a joint over a number long period of time.
Crystal Deposits – Some crystal deposits such as uric acid crystals in gout may accumulate in joints and cause cartilage degeneration and wearing.

Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Deeply aching pain in the joint and pain will often be increased with movement.
Inflammation that is in the joint more often than not.
Stiffness in the joint, most often in the morning. Movement or gentle stretching will decrease the stiffness. A “grinding” feeling or actual sounds coming from the joint upon movement.

If you’re over 50 years of age, osteoarthritis is common in your age group and in particular, women seem more prone to have this condition in one or both knees. Additionally, individuals that play sports such as football and have had a previous injury should be on alert for the symptoms of this condition.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis

While there’s still no cure for this condition, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the pain. Wearing a knee support or brace will help by compressing the area around the joint and giving it support. Some people get relief through the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. Losing weight and lightening the burden of the knees is another positive step you can take and significantly slow down the progression of the disease. Hot and cold treatments as needed can offer a good measure of relief from the pain and inflammation, particularly after exercise or activities that used those joints. For extreme cases, knee replacement is also an option.

Ouch! It’s My Bursitis

Bursitis is also known around the world as “Student’s Elbow” and it is a common complaint of both old and young and it centers in, yes the elbow.

The elbow pain of bursitis will originate from just below the tip of the elbow where there is a little sack of fluid that is called the bursa. The bursa has the all important job of lubricating the tissues in the joints and letting you move your elbow with ease.

However if you fall on your bursa or otherwise receive a direct impact, the bursa can become inflammed or even bleeding can occur. The result will be a lot of pain and some swelling on the bony area at the back of your elbow.

Common Symptoms of Bursitis Include:
* Elbow pain whether at rest or moving.
* A painful swelling on the back of the elbow.
* Limited mobility in the elbow.

Avoiding Bursitis
*Wear elbow pads if playing sports or riding a bike, skateboard or other activity where you can risk an impact on your elbow.
* Do not spend long periods of time leaning on the elbows.

If Bursitis Happens
* Rest and apply ice is about all you can do.
* See a sports injury professional if it becomes a chronic problem.

The Minor Injury That Can Really Knock You Off Your Feet

A groin strain is a tear or rupture to any one of the five adductor muscles. The most common muscle to be injured is the adductor longus muscle which connects from the pubic ramus to the medial (inner) surface of the femur (thigh bone)and it can really sideline a person from their activities if it suffers a strain.

The main function of this set of muscles is simply to pull the legs back towards the midline, a movement termed adduction. When walking normally, the muscles pull and help swing the lower limbs and maintain the balance of the body. A rupture or tear in the muscle usually occurs when sprinting, changing direction or in rapid movements of the leg against resistance such as kicking a ball.

What are the symptoms of groin strain?

* Tightening of the groin muscles and this may not appear for up to 24-hours after the initial injury.
* A sudden sharp pain in the groin area or adductor muscles during exercise.
* Bruising or swelling is common a 1-2 days after the injury.
* Inability to contract the muscles by squeezing the legs together or possibly lifting the leg out in front.
* Pain on stretching the muscles.
* A lump or gap in the adductor muscles themselves may be felt.

There are three grades of muscle strain:
Grade 1 is the mildest with only mild discomfort and a little tenderness.
Grade 2 is more severe and is painful with movement or touch and often there is marked swelling of the area.
Grade 3 is the most severe muscle strain and will be extremely painful with a complete loss of the ability to run and sometimes even walk.

Groin strain treatment

* Apply R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately.
* Rest and use crutches for support if you must move and need assistance.
* See a sports injury professional and get an exercise program to slowly rehab those strained muscles and get yourself back into activities a lot sooner.

Common exercises for rehab of the strain include stretching exercises that are very gradually increased as the healing occurs to build up strength and endurance in the groin muscle.

Tis The Season for Golfer’s Elbow

If you’re curious about the condition Golfer’s Elbow, it’s the polar opposite of Tennis Elbow. Whereas Tennis Elbow is a condition of the outside of the elbow, Golfer’s Elbow attacks the inside of the elbow. The $20 term is flexor / pronator tendinopathy is also seen in tennis players (yes, tennis players can actually get Golfer’s Elbow) that use a lot of top spin and power their forehand shots.

Symptoms of golfer elbow include:
* Pain on the bony bit on the inside of the elbow.
* Weakness in the wrist.
* Pain on the inside of the elbow when you grip something hard.
* Pain when wrist flexion (bending the wrist palm downwards) is resisted.
* Pain on resisted wrist pronation – rotating inwards (thumb downwards).

Common Treatments for Golfer’s Elbow

* Ice the injury for two days (20 min’s on up to six times a day)
* Rest the affected area.
* After 2 days apply heat and use a wrap to hold it in place.
* Use a brace or support to reduce the load on the elbow enabling it to heal.

If You Choose to See a Sports Injury Specialist

* Apply ultrasound or laser treatment.
* Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.
* Use sports massage techniques.
* Give a steroid injection.

Rest of the elbow is paramount to healing this injury completely. Under proper rest, cold and heat treatments, you can be back in the swing as quickly as two weeks when your Golfer’s Elbow is minor.

Not an Injury But Uncomfortable Just the Same…Swollen Feet When Pregnant!

Swelling feet is a problem nearly every pregnant woman will tackle at one point or another.

It’s one of the most common complaints and it’s simply when the muscles in the feet have a buildup of fluid that is excessive. This fluid buildup can lead to a rapid weight gain that is purely from the fluid itself. Although it’s more likely to occur in the warmer months, standing without shifting your weight or sitting (where the weight of the stomach on the thighs slows circulation) can both contribute to swelling feet.

There are a few things you can do when your feet swell. Elevate your feet higher than your heart. This means actually taking a little time to relax and literally putting your feet up. Another thing you can do is to put a cold pack on your feet and/or ankles for a short period of time, this will lessen the pain and the “tingly tightness” many women say they feel as their feet are swelling.
If you must stand or sit for a long period of time in your job, take a break and walk around, stretch and change positions. If you feel your feet swelling, stop and put them up. You’ll head off a lot of swelling incidences in this way.

You can help yourself avoid swelling feet by eating a low-salt diet and drinking plenty of water. It may sound crazy but when you’re retaining water, it is important to drink plenty of plain water to help your body flush out the excess fluid. Coffee and tea may be made with water but they are actually dehydrating and should be avoided.

Additionally, if you’re having the problem with swelling feet, as minor as it seems, do discuss it with your primary care physician, as it can be an early warning sign of pre-eclampsia which can endanger both mother and baby, and tends to be an issue in first-time pregnancies more often than not.

So, drink your water, put your feet up and treat those feet!