A hip fracture occurs when the femur (thigh bone) breaks partially or completely from where it joins the pelvic bone. It’s a critical injury that has to be treated right away. Hip fractures in young people are most commonly caused by car accidents, long falls, or other serious traumas. Overuse and repetitive motion can potentially cause a hairline break termed a stress fracture.

A hip fracture almost invariably necessitates surgery, which is followed by physical rehabilitation.

What are the causes of hip fracture?

A fall or an automobile accident are the most common causes of hip fractures. With repeated use of the joints, athletes, particularly long-distance runners, can fracture their hip (stress fracture).

Hip fractures in the elderly might occur as a result of a slight fall or a quick twisting or pivoting. People who have osteoporosis can shatter their hips performing simple things like walking or getting out of a chair.

What parts of the hip are most prone to fractures?

The curving hip socket (acetabulum) and the upper section of the thighbone (femur) make up the pelvis. The hip joint is formed by the round top of the femur (the “ball,” or femoral head) fitting into the hip socket. The joint is supported by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues.

Hip fractures can happen in a variety of places on the upper femur. The following are the most prevalent types of hip fractures:

– The neck is the region of bone immediately below the femoral head that can be fractured.

– The intertrochanteric area of the femur is the portion of the femur that is between the femoral neck and the long, straight segment of the femur.

What are the symptoms of hip fracture?

Hip fracture symptoms usually appear without any prior symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms may arise gradually. Hip fracture symptoms include:

– Hip pain: The hip pain that originates is typically acute and intense. It can, however, be moderate or achy. The most common areas of pain are the thigh, outer hip, pelvic, and groin. The pain may travel down to the buttocks and into the leg (sciatica). One may also experience knee pain.

– Physical changes: Most individuals having a hip fracture are unable to stand or walk. Walking is sometimes possible, but putting weight on the leg is exceedingly painful.

– Physical changes: There might be a visible bruise on the hip. It’s possible that one of the legs is shorter in length compared to the other.

Risk factors for hip fractures

– Age: People above the age of 65 are more prone to hip fractures as bones deteriorate or weaken, and become brittle as they age. The elderly are more prone to have movement and balance issues, which are responsible for falling.

– Gender: Older women account for over 75 percent of hip fractures. After menopause, women lose bone mass. Bones that are weak are much more prone to fracture.

– Lifestyle: Sedentary people (those who do not do enough exercise) are much more prone to fracturing their hips. Overconsumption of alcohol also weakens the bones and raises the risk of fracture.

– Drugs: Some medications make one more likely to fall. One may also lose their sense of maintaining balance if they take drugs that produce sleepiness or a reduction in blood pressure.

– Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become porous and fragile, hence increasing the risk of breakage. Women are 4 times more likely than males to develop osteoporosis.

– General health: People who don’t get enough vitamin D, calcium, or other nutrients are more likely to fracture. Dementia and Parkinson’s disease, for example, increase the likelihood of falling.

Method of diagnosis

The doctor will inspect the region and inquire about any recent falls or mishaps. The physician may also do a physical examination to check for any loss of sensation due to nerve injury (neuropathy).

Imaging investigations are also prescribed by the doctor to identify a fracture and assess any soft tissue damage. Some examples of imaging examinations are:

– X-ray: It produces images of the bones using radiation.

– MRI: It stands for magnetic resonance imaging, which employs a powerful magnet to make images of the bones and soft tissues.

– CT Scan: A CT scan is a procedure that involves the use of a computer and multiple X-rays to provide the doctor with comprehensive pictures of the site of the injury

Method of treatment of hip fractures

Treatment for hip fractures is determined by age, overall health, and type of injury. The majority of hip fractures necessitate surgery within a few days of the incident. However, sometimes due to age or medical conditions, surgery is not possible.

– Surgery is required for the majority of hip fractures. Hip surgery can be done in numerous ways. Metal screws, nails, or plates may be used to secure and maintain the bones in place.

– Hip replacement: A full or partial hip replacement may be required depending on what type of injury the person has. The doctor may also recommend rehabilitation after a hip replacement to improve the range of motion

– Physical Therapy: The physical therapist will design a PT program to help one restore their movement, flexibility, and strength. If one had a hip replacement, they can enhance their range of motion by doing certain exercises afterward.

– Medications: Pain relievers, both over-the-counter and prescription, can help one manage pain and inflammation. Antibiotics may be given after hip fracture surgery to lessen the risk of infection.

Method of prevention

– Active lifestyle: Being physically active improves muscle strength and prevents bone loss. Strength and balance are improved through swimming, tai chi, and weight-bearing workouts.

– Proper nutrition: Vitamin D and calcium-rich foods can help to build strong bones which can withstand impacts.

– Getting regular medical exams: Ask the doctor about bone density testing that can detect osteoporosis symptoms. Bisphosphonate drugs, which prevent bone loss and build bones, may be recommended by the doctor.

– Accident prevention: Remove any risks at home that could cause a fall (such as throwing rugs). When utilizing the stairs or walking in ice weather, exercise caution. If one has Parkinson’s disease, it’s recommended to consult a doctor about ways to stay balanced and avoid falling.

– Maintaining good health: Maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol consumption.

– Have proper eyecare: Vision difficulties can make one more vulnerable to falling. Regular eye exams help scan for irregularities in vision. People with weak eyesight should make sure that contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions are up to date.

Bone fractures is the term used when a bone or bones are broken. Millions of people across the world are affected by bone fractures each year. Fractures are painful injuries, which are commonly caused by sports injuries, vehicle accidents, or falls. A fracture requires professional medical care and hence a person should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible to avoid complications. 

What is a fracture?

A bone fracture refers to a broken bone. The structure of the bone is altered by the fracture. These fractures can occur along the length of a bone or directly across it. A fracture can break a bone into two or more fragments.

Fractures are categorized into different categories depending on their extent of damage or by the pattern in which the bones are broken.

The two major categories of facture are open fractures and closed fractures:

– Open fracture: Also referred to as compound fractures, a fracture is characterized as a compound fracture when the broken bone protrudes out of the skin or the wound caused by the fracture is deep enough to make the bone visible.

– Closed fracture: Closed fracture is the condition in which the bone is broken but the skin remains intact.

Fractures are further characterized into the following categories:-

– Greenstick fracture: This is the condition in which one side of the bone is broken and causes the other side to bend. Hence it is an incomplete fracture.

– Transverse fracture: In this fracture, the bone is broken in a straight line.

– Spiral fracture: In this fracture, the crack forms spirals around the bone. This fracture is mostly caused by twisting of the bone

– Oblique fracture: In this fracture, the bone is cracked diagonally.

– Compression fracture: In this fracture, the bone is crushed, giving it a wider appearance. 

– Comminuted fracture: In this fracture, the bone gets broken into multiple pieces and the broken fragments are present at the site of breaking.

What causes a bone fracture?

Even though bones are extremely strong, they too are prone to breaking under strong impact. Most bone breakages occur when the bone collides with a stronger force. Repeated mild stress induced on the bones over a long period of time like while jogging can also lead to fracture in case the bones are lacking calcium. These fractures are referred to as stress fractures.

Osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones with age, is another cause of fractures. It’s a serious issue, so senior citizens should talk to their doctors about the risks.

Symptoms of bone fractures

A fracture’s symptoms are determined by which bone breaks. If one has an issue with their arm, leg, or finger, for example, they’ll probably notice it soon away. Consider the following symptoms if not sure:

– The limb is difficult to use.

– Bump, bend, or twist that is noticeable 

– Extreme pain

– Swelling

Methods of diagnosis

The healthcare professional will evaluate the injuries to diagnose a broken bone. One will almost certainly have to undergo one or multiple imaging tests as well. These tests may involve the following:

– X-rays: This technique creates a two-dimensional image of the fracture. This imaging is frequently used by healthcare providers.

– Bone scan: It is used by doctors to detect fractures that aren’t visible on an X-ray. This scan takes longer, and typically requires two scans four hours apart, but it can help reveal undetected fractures.

– CT scan: A CT scan creates detailed cross-section images of the bone using computers and X-rays.

– MRI: An MRI uses high magnetic fields to produce extremely detailed images. A stress fracture is usually diagnosed with an MRI.

Methods of treatment

Doctors usually imply the use of cast or splints to repair a bone fracture. Casts provide rigid protection for the fracture, whereas splints just protect one side. Both supports straighten the bone and maintain its fixed position (no movement). The bone heals and grows back together.

One won’t need a cast for tiny bones like the fingers and toes. Before employing a splint, the healthcare provider may bandage the injury.

The healthcare professional may need to put one in traction on occasion. Pulleys and weights are used to stretch the muscles and tendons surrounding the shattered bone. Traction helps the bone recover by aligning it.

For severe fractures, surgery is necessary which includes the use of stainless-steel screws and frames to keep the bone in position while it heals

Methods to prevent fracture

One can prevent fracture by two methods either by making the bones strong by consumption of proper vitamins and minerals and by avoiding injuries as much as possible. Here are the methods to keep the fractures at bay.

– Staying fit: Regular exercise like walking helps in keeping the bones strong and healthy. This increases their ability to withstand sudden jerks and impact.

– Proper nutrition: In order to have strong bones, it is vital to consume at least 1200-1500 mg of calcium per day and 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D. The food that can provide these vitamins in surplus amounts are:-

Recovery time of a fracture

On average, it takes six to eight weeks for a bone to completely heal. The time for recovery also depends on the site of injury and the severity i.e a broken leg will take much more time to heal than a broken arm.

Foot pain is a regular occurrence. However, there are numerous possible causes, making it difficult for even medical professionals to pinpoint the exact reason for the problem. The medical history and symptoms of foot discomfort may provide some insight, but they are still not enough for a solid diagnosis.

If one has an underlying medical problem that causes foot discomfort, the situation becomes even more complicated. Diabetes, peripheral artery disease, and neuropathy are examples of these disorders. If this is the case, one should consult their doctor or foot care professional before attempting to treat the foot discomfort on their own.

Here are the top 10 reasons for foot pain their symptoms, causes, and method of treatment

Heel Spurs

A heel spur is a growth of bone on the back of the heel bone. It connects to the plantar fascia, a long band of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot, on the underside of the heel bone. This connective tissue functions as a stress absorber and holds the arch together during movement. The stress and inflammation of the tissue pressing on the bone can cause discomfort, which can also be caused if the plantar fascia is overstretched from running, wearing ill-fitting shoes, or being overweight. In reaction to this stress, the body develops the extra bone, resulting in heel spurs. 

Treatment Methods:

– Rest

– Packs of ice

– Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs

– Stretching properly before an activity

– Proper fitting footwear

– Injections of corticosteroids

– Surgery

Corns

Corns are yellowish calluses that form on the tops of the toes. Corns grow as a result of maltreatment or stress. When a toe rubs against a shoe or another toe, a corn forms. Corns can be extremely painful and inconvenient.

Treatment Methods:

– Removal of the corn slowly by scraping the dead skin layers

– Using pads to wrap around the corn

– Wearing proper fitting shoes which keep the foot comfortable and free of irritation

– Surgery

 

Bunion

A bunion is a bone or tissue protrusion around a joint. Bunions can develop at the base of the big toe or the base of the little toe, and they’re most common when the joint is overworked. Women are more likely than men to get bunions as a result of wearing tight, pointed, and constraining shoes. Bunions can also be caused by arthritis, which also affects the big toe.

Methods of treatment

– Wear comfortable, and well-fitting footwear

– Surgery

– Using pads to apply to the affected area

– Ibuprofen and other pain relievers

Morton neuroma

Morton neuroma is a benign (noncancerous) accumulation of tissue in the nerves running between the long bones of the foot. When two bones rub against each other, the nerve between them is squeezed. Neuromas most commonly form between the bones connecting the third and fourth toes. Swelling, soreness, and pain are common symptoms of Morton neuroma. In severe conditions, swelling, and tenderness may also be observed along with pain. It commonly happens after a long duration of standing or walking.

 Methods of treatment

– Proper rest

– Wearing well-fitting footwear

– Cortisone injections and surgery for persistent pain

Hammertoes

Hammertoe refers to the condition in which the toe becomes bent, which causes the affected toe’s middle joint to protrude. Tight-fitting shoes that induce stress on the hammertoe might exacerbate the problem. At this location, corn often grows.The second toe is the one that is affected the most.

Methods of treatment

– Using a toepad over the protruded part

– Wearing footwear that doesn’t put excessive strain on the protruded part

– Surgery

Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the foot and ankle are injured. Ligaments are stiff, elastic bands of tissue that link bones. If the ankle performs any movement beyond its usual range of motion, it might sprain. Awkward foot positioning, uneven surfaces, weak muscles, loose ligaments, and wearing spiked heels can all cause ankle sprains. Swelling, discomfort, and bruising are common symptoms of a sprain, depending on how badly the ligaments are strained or ruptured.

Methods of treatment

– Proper rest 

– Wrapping ankle with a bandage

– Applying an ice pack to reduce swelling

– NSAIDs to relieve pain and swelling

– Physical therapy

– Walking cast and surgery for severe cases

Foot fracture

The foot consists of 26 bones, which makes it vulnerable to a variety of fractures. Thankfully most of them don’t require surgery or a cast and heal on their own with proper care. The main symptom of a fracture is painful swelling. The main fractures that can occur in the foot are as follows:

– Toe Fracture: These fractures are harmless and they heal automatically without the need for a cast.

– Ankle Joint Fractures: A fracture in the ankle is serious and may require immediate surgery if the fracture causes the bones to be separated by a large distance or get misaligned. This fracture requires a cast.

– Metatarsal bone fracture: This is the fracture that happens in the metatarsal bone which is located in the middle of the foot. Under normal circumstances, this doesn’t require a cast, and a solid shoe with a firm sole will be just fine. 

– Sesamoid bone fracture: The sesamoid bones are 2 small round bones that exist at the end of the metatarsal bone of the big toe. Fracture of this bone can easily be relived using padded soft soles. In severe cases, sesamoid bones need to be surgically removed.

Achilles Tendonitis

The achilles tendon is the most common site of tendon rupture or tendonitis, which is swelling of the tendon caused by overuse.

Mild soreness after exercise that becomes worse over time, stiffness that goes away after the tendon warms up, and swelling are all possible symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis. 

Methods of treatment:

– Rest

– Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

– Supportive devices and/or bandages for the muscle and tendon

– Stretching

– Massage

– UltrasoundStrengthening exercises

– Surgery

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage in the joint which provides smooth movement of the joint, deteriorates due to normal wear and strain. Reduced joint space, damaged cartilage, and bone spurs are all results of osteoarthritis

The ankle, subtalar, and big toe joints are frequently affected by foot osteoarthritis, which causes discomfort and limited motion.

Method of treatment

– Exercising and losing weight

– Physical treatment while taking an NSAID

– Using a tailored orthotic to relieve pain.

– Making use of an assistive gadget to help with mobility

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenail refers to the condition when the edge of a toenail presses into the skin, it is called an ingrown toenail. It is generally observed along the edge of the big toe because of pressure from the shoe. Even the tiniest amount of ingrowth can be painful and cause swelling around the nail.

Method of treatment

– For mild cases with no redness or discharge, warm soaks and placing cotton below the toenail does the job

– If there is yellow cloudy pus present, one may need to contact the doctor to have the ingrown part removed

 

Summary

Most of the above conditions can be easily managed with rest, ice pack, and pain relief medications. Hence there is no need to worry. However, if the symptoms get worse, one should immediately contact the doctor to avoid further complications

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes one to experience extensive body pains, weakness, and sleeping disorders accompanied by mood swings. Fibromyalgia is thought to amplify painful sensations by altering how the brain and spinal cord interpret pain and non-pain-related signals.

Physical trauma, surgery, infection, or considerable psychological stress are common causes of these symptoms. The symptoms might also crop up without any particular incident leading to it.

Fibromyalgia affects women more than men. Headaches due to tension, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression are common in patients with fibromyalgia.

While fibromyalgia has no cure, it can be managed with a range of drugs. Apart from medication, activities to relieve stress and relax the body are also recommended for a better quality of life.

What causes fibromyalgia?

The majority of the studies believe that the brain and spinal cord of fibromyalgia patients are changed due to the frequent stimulation of nerves. An aberrant rise in the amounts of specific pain-signaling molecules in the brain causes this alteration.

Furthermore, pain receptors in the brain appear to establish a kind of memory and become sensitized to pain, meaning they might overreact to both painful and non-painful signals.

The main factors leading to fibromyalgia include

– Genetics: There are some genetic factors that can increase the risk of one having fibromyalgia. These factors are mostly found in people whose family has a history of fibromyalgia 

– Infections: There are certain disorders that can act as triggers for fibromyalgia and also aggravate the discomfort caused by fibromyalgia

– Physical or psychological events: Events, such as a vehicle accident, can sometimes trigger fibromyalgia. Long-term psychological stress might also set off the illness.

Risk factors for fibromyalgia

There are certain risk factors that put one at a greater risk of having fibromyalgia

– Gender: Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more frequently than males.

– Family background: If a parent/sibling has fibromyalgia, then one is more likely to have it as well.

– Other illnesses: One may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if they are already suffering from diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus

Pain, exhaustion, and poor sleep quality, caused by fibromyalgia can make it difficult to operate at home or at work. Dealing with the frustrations of an often misunderstood ailment can lead to despair and health-related anxiety.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Symptoms differ from individual to individual. However, the most prevalent symptom is chronic pain. Muscles and the places where muscles join to bones are the most commonly affected areas. These are the tendons and ligaments.

– Widespread Pain: Fibromyalgia pain is frequently described as a persistent dull aching persisting for at least 3 months. The term widespread pain refers that the pain occurring on both sides of the body.

– Fatigue: Patients with fibromyalgia often are not able to get proper rest despite long sleep, thus making them fatigued. Body aches are the main reason for disrupted sleep and most fibromyalgia patients often suffer from sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

– Cognitive problems: Fibro fog is a symptom that inhibits one’s ability to focus/pay attention, and concentrate on mental work.

Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with other conditions, such as:

– Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

– Chronic fatigue syndrome

– Migraine and other headache types

– The painful bladder syndrome is also known as interstitial cystitis.

– TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems

– Anxiety and depression

– Postural tachycardia syndrome

Method of diagnosis

The main method of diagnosis for fibromyalgia involves investigating the presence of pain in the following regions of the body which has been there for more than three months

The main spots that the doctor will examine for pain are as follows:

In order to confirm that the pain experienced is due to fibromyalgia and not any other disease, further tests are prescribed which include

– Tests for thyroid function

– Antibody against nuclei

– Celiac serology

– CBC

– Rate of erythrocyte sedimentation

– Vitamin D levels

Methods of treatment

Fibromyalgia is treated with a combination of medication and self-care measures. The goal is to reduce symptoms and improve overall health. There is no single treatment that helps for all symptoms, but a combination of treatments can help.

Medications: They are helpful in reducing pain and improving sleep. The main medicines include the following.

– Anti-inflammatory medicines: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium are examples of over-the-counter pain medicines. Opioids are not suggested since they can induce serious adverse effects and addiction, as well as worsening pain over time.

– Antidepressants: Milnacipran (Savella) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) may help with the pain and exhaustion associated with fibromyalgia. To aid sleep, cyclobenzaprine which is a muscle relaxant may also be prescribed to improve sleep quality.

– Anti-seizure medications: Epilepsy medications are frequently effective in lowering certain forms of pain. Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first medicine licensed to treat fibromyalgia. 

Therapy: apart from medications, therapies can also aid in improving the overall quality of life examples of those include,

– Physical therapy: Exercises that enhance strength, flexibility, and stamina can be taught by a physical therapist which can be helpful in improving the overall quality of life. Water-based exercises could be especially beneficial.

– Occupational therapy: It is a term that refers to a type of treatment that An occupational therapist can assist one in, which focuses on making changes to one’s work environment or the way one does specific duties to reduce stress on the body.

– Counseling: Speaking with a counselor can help one build confidence in their talents and give them coping strategies for stressful situations.

Apart from the traditional treatment methods, there are alternative healing methods that go along very well in improving the overall quality of life, some of which include the following:

– Acupuncture:  Acupuncture is a Chinese medicinal method that involves inserting very small needles into the skin at various depths to restore the natural balance of life energies. Acupuncture appears to help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms in some trials, but not in others.

– Massage therapy:  It is one of the earliest forms of health care that is still used today. Different manipulation techniques are used to move the muscles and soft tissues. Massage can lower the heart rate, relax the muscles, improve joint range of motion, and boost the body’s natural painkiller production. It frequently aids in the reduction of tension and anxiety.

– Tai chi and yoga: Meditation, gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation are all part of these disciplines. Both have been shown to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Golfer’s elbow is a disorder characterized by pain on the inside part of the elbow around the “funny bone.” The condition is also known as “medial epicondylitis.” The tendons that adhere to the bony hump on the inside of the elbow are damaged and irritated over time, resulting in golfer’s elbow. These tendons connect the muscles running down the forearm and connect to the wrist and fingers via another set of tendons, allowing one to bend and twist their wrist while gripping things like a golf club, or a hammer. The tendons in the elbow can be damaged by repetitive and strong grasping and twisting actions. During or after exertion, patients frequently suffer soreness or tenderness on the inside of the elbow.

In golfer’s elbow, It can become challenging to grip daily objects like a golf club or a tennis racket in some circumstances. The purpose of treatment is to determine and treat the underlying cause (typically overuse or poor technique), minimize discomfort and irritation, encourage healing, and strengthen the muscles and tendons in order to prevent it from occurring again.

The tennis elbow,  on the other hand, affects tendons present on the outside part of the elbow and is the polar opposite of golfer’s elbow.

What causes golfer’s elbow?

As we all know, the damage to the muscles and tendons that govern the wrist and fingers causes medial epicondylitis popularly known as golfer’s elbow. Excess or recurrent stress causes the injury, particularly with highly stress-inducing wrist and finger motions. Golfer’s also elbow can be caused by improper lifting, throwing, or hitting, as well as a lack of warmup or inadequate conditioning.

Golfer’s elbow can be caused by a variety of activities and vocations, including:

– Sports involving rackets: Tennis strokes performed incorrectly, particularly on the backhand, can result in tendon injury. Excessive topspin, as well as the use of a racket that is too tiny or heavy, can also result in damage.

– Sports involving throwing: Improper throwing techniques in sports like baseball, softball, etc are also a major causative factor. Active involvement in sports like archery and javelin throw can also lead to golfer’s elbow.

– Lifting weights incorrectly: like curling the dumbell with improper posture, can cause the elbow muscles and tendons to get overworked.

– Repetitive, forceful occupational movements: Construction, plumbing, and carpentry are examples of these. All these activities pose a problem when done for more than an hour over a prolonged period of time

What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow?

The most prominent symptoms of golfer’s elbow are as follows

– On the inside of the elbow, around the bony bump, there is pain and tenderness. The discomfort may spread to the forearm. Pain may occur only after the action at first, but it may later start to interfere with ordinary daily activities. 

– During morning hours, there is a noticeable feeling of stiffness in the inner part of the elbow. This stiffness can also be observed after a period of inactivity, such as watching a movie. While the elbow is fully straightened, the stiffness is most noticeable, but it can also occur when the elbow is nearly bent.

– Grip weakness, is usually accompanied by pain.

– There wouldn’t be swelling unless there is a case of an acute injury

– Numbness and tingling sensation are also atypical symptoms of Golfer’s elbow and are not caused by it. The ulnar nerve (sometimes known as the “funny bone” nerve) runs close to the tendons and can cause irritation. The fingers may experience pain, numbness, or tingling as a result of this.

Methods of diagnosis

An orthopedic doctor assesses the symptoms, performs checks on the elbow and forearm, and analyzes if the indulgence in any sports or daily activities would have contributed to the problem to diagnose golfer’s elbow.

One will probably need more imaging tests to determine the extent of damage inflicted on the tissues present in the elbow and forearm.

The screening tests may include

–  CT scan

– MRI

– X-ray 

– Musculoskeletal ultrasound

Methods of treatment

As per doctors, non-surgical methods are given preference over surgical procedures, and surgery is only taken into consideration when the non-surgical means fail to provide relief.

The non-surgical means of treatment include

– Medication: Over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands), naproxen sodium (Aleve), or acetaminophen are all effective in reducing pain due to golfer’s elbow.

Corticosteroid injections have not been proven to be useful over time, hence they are rarely used. Platelet-rich plasma is a recent treatment that is being tested in which a  little amount of blood is drawn and a mix of concentrated platelets and other anti-inflammatory substances are injected into the painful area. Further research needed to be done to determine the extent of efficiency of this method.

– Rest: Put off the love for playing sports involving repeated activities until the pain subsides. One may exacerbate their illness if they try to take part in activities too soon.

– Apply ice to the affected region: Application of ice packs to the elbow for a span of 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day helps in reducing the swelling in the region and also reduces the pain. Also giving ice massage to the inner part of the elbow, three to four times a day will go a long way in providing relief.

– Taking help of a brace:  Wearing a counterforce brace on the injured arm, as recommended by the doctor, may help to reduce tendon and muscle strain.

– Mild stretching: Exercising to stretch and strengthen the tendon goes a long way in boosting the healing process of golfer’s elbow.

The need for surgery is very rare as most people get well with just the use of pain relief medicines, ice packs, and proper rest. However here are the methods implied when the above treatment methods are not able to provide relief and it’s been over a year with no significant improvement.

– Tendon and ligament reconstruction: This process involves restructuring the worn-out tendons. This helps in improving the proper functioning of the elbow and reduces the pain

– Open tendon repair: This procedure is used when the tear on the tendon is large, which leads to a lot of damage to the soft tissues. This process allows the surgeon to perform multiple procedures in a single session

– TENEX: This is a relatively new minimally invasive technique that uses ultrasound to remove scar tissue. More study is needed on this procedure before it is available to the public.

Methods of prevention

Here are the steps one can take to reduce the risk of getting into the clutches of this disease

– Make the forearm muscles stronger. Squeeze a tennis ball or use modest weights. Simple exercises like these can aid in the absorption of the energy released by unexpected physical stress.

– Stretch before any exercise to warm up the muscles. One can also do walking or jogging for a few minutes. Then, before starting to play the sport, do some moderate stretches.

– Have proper posture to avoid muscle overload. In any sport, have an instructor review the form.

– Make use of the appropriate tools. Upgrade to lightweight golf clubs made of graphite rather than older ones made of iron. Make sure the tennis racket fits properly. 

– Take proper rest after doing any strenuous activity and don’t try to overstress the body

Tennis elbow also referred to as lateral epicondylitis is a painful ailment that develops when the tendons in the elbow are overworked, usually as a result of repetitive wrist and arm motions.

Tennis elbow affects people of all ages, not just athletes. Plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers are among those whose vocations require repetitive motions that might cause tennis elbow. 

The tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow where the tendons of the forearm muscles join to a bony bump. the pain also has the tendency to spread and hence, it might also affect the forearm and wrist. Tennis elbow is commonly treated with rest and over-the-counter pain medications. If non-surgical treatments fail or symptoms become incapacitating, the doctor may recommend surgery.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is an ailment caused due to muscular strain and overuse. The forearm muscles that one employs to straighten and lift the hand and wrist are the source of the problem. The tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow may rupture as a result of repeated motions and tissue stress.

Tennis elbow can be caused by a variety of activities, including the repeated usage of the backhand stroke with inadequate technique. Tennis elbow can also be caused by a variety of other common arm motions, such as:

– Using plumbing equipment

– Painting

– Screwdrivers

– Chopping up ingredients for preparation, especially meat

– Use of a computer mouse repeatedly

Difference between a tennis elbow and a golfer’s elbow?

The tennis elbow affects the outside/lateral part of the epicondyle tendon, which is located on the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is also referred to as medial epicondylitis 

Golfer’s elbow causes pain in the inner elbow that extends down the arm. The patient may also experience tingling and numbness in their fingers. Tennis elbow can affect golfers just as it can affect tennis players.

What are the risk factors for tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow can affect anyone who engages in repetitive activities involving the forearms, wrists, or hands on a daily basis. 

– Players of baseball and softball.

– Bowlers.

– Fencers.

– Golfers.

– Players of tennis, squash, pickleball, and racquetball.

Tennis elbow is more common among those who work in particular professions:

– Auto mechanics and assembly line workers

– Chefs and butchers

– Carpenters, cleaners, painters, and plumbers 

– Dentists.

– Landscapers and gardeners

– Manicurists.

– Musicians are just a few examples.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Symptoms usually appear gradually, over the course of weeks and months, the pain may worsen. Tennis elbow symptoms include:

– Burning or agonizing pain radiating from the outside elbow to the wrist. In some cases, this pain also gets worse at night

– When twisting or bending the arm for let’s say opening a doorknob, one may experience pain 

– When extending the arm, one may experience stiffness or pain.

– The elbow joint is swollen and sensitive to the touch.

– The strength to grasp is weakened considerably 

Methods of diagnosis

A physical examination will be performed to examine elbow joint pain, edema, and stiffness. The doctor may also inquire about any activities that cause pain. One or more of the following tests may be used to make a diagnosis:

– X-rays are used to rule out illnesses such as arthritis and shattered bones.

– Ultrasound,  MRI and computed tomography (CT) scans are used to evaluate tendon and muscle injury.

– Electromyography (EMG) measures muscle and nerve electrical activity to look for compressed nerves.

Method of treatment

Tennis elbow may improve on its own, requiring little or no therapy. However, it is possible that the recovery will take up to 18 months. There are non-surgical approaches that have been proven to speed up healing. The following are nonsurgical  therapies for tennis elbow:

– Rest: One may need to pause or reduce their activity for a few weeks to allow the tendons to repair.

– NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help with pain and inflammation.

– Braces: The doctor may advise wearing a counterforce brace, which is a removable support brace. Tendons and muscles are relieved of stress with this tool.

– Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the forearm muscles and improve gripping strength. Muscle stimulating treatments like massaging can also go a long way in improving the condition.

Some minimally invasive methods include

– Injectable corticosteroids: They provide temporary relief from joint pain and inflammation. Many doctors take the help of ultrasound in the procedure since they must be placed in the precise region.

– Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy: Platelets are microscopic cell fragments in the blood that aid in healing. During the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy A little volume of blood is removed and platelets are separated from others. The concentrated platelets are then injected into the damaged area under ultrasound supervision.

– Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves can tear up scar tissue in extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Following then, blood flow to the injured area improves.

– Minimally invasive tenotomy: In order to get rid of the degenerative tissue from the insides of the tendon, this method is implied. It is also referred to as  TenJet, which is a treatment that combines a needle device and high-pressure saline to induce suction and hydro-resect degenerative tendon tissue. This could be a viable alternative to a more extensive surgical procedure.

Methods to prevent tennis elbow

Tennis elbow can be avoided by taking the following steps:

– Don’t try to push through discomfort. Pain is the body’s method of communicating, and one must pay attention. Overexering an aching tendon can cause tendon damage and possible tears.

– Make sure the device is properly fitted. Stiff or loose-strung racquets, for example, may worsen forearm stress.

– Strengthen the forearms and wrists by lifting weights.

– Before beginning work or any activity, stretch the wrists and arms.

– To prevent symptoms from getting worse, wear an elbow brace.

Often in life, we find ourselves experiencing joint pains which normally are temporary and usually go away automatically or can be relieved using painkillers and pain relief gels. The problem arises when the pain instead of getting relieved, starts to get worse with time. Then the first term that will hit any individual in this condition will be “Is it arthritis?”

We have heard about arthritis many a time, but what is it that makes arthritis such a major concern. Here’s everything you need to know about arthritis and how to protect yourself from getting into the clutches of this disease.

What actually is arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints of the body. A joint refers to the point of meeting two or more bones. To prevent the damage to the bones due to friction caused by them rubbing together, the joints are cushioned by soft tissues, some joints have a pocket of synovial fluid that is padded, known as the synovial membrane.

The most commonly afflicted sites of arthritis include joints of

– Feet

– Lower back

– Hands

– Hips

– Knees

When a person has arthritis one or more joints get swelled/inflamed and become weak and break down.

What are the types of arthritis and what are their causes?

Arthritis is an umbrella term housing 100 plus different conditions of joints however the two main types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

– Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most commonly prevalent form of arthritis. In this condition, the cartilage, which is the soft tissue located at the ends of the joints where the two bones meet, gets damaged. This exposes the bones to each other and during any activity involving the joint, the bones grind against each other causing pain and reducing the range of motion.

– Rheumatoid arthritis: In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system starts to attack and damage the lining of the joint capsule which is a membrane that encapsulates the joint parts. The attack causes the lining(synovial membrane) to become swollen and eventually can also destroy the cartilage and bone present in the joint.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

As we know arthritis is a broad term housing multiple conditions, but there are certain symptoms that occur in most cases. They might be mild in one case and severe in other cases but their presence will be seen.

– Pain in performing activities related to joints

– Stiffness of joint

– Inflammation of joints

– Sensation of warmth

– Weakness

Risk factors for arthritis

Certain factors if present increases the chances of one getting affected by arthritis.

– Joint Injury In the past: Injury incurred to a joint while playing sports or due to an accident, makes the joint vulnerable to arthritis in the future.

– Obesity: Having excess body weight puts strain on the joints especially the knees and spine hence making them more prone to arthritis.

– Gender: Men are more likely to develop gout and other types of arthritis whereas women are more prone to developing rheumatoid arthritis.

– Age: Just as is the case with almost every disease, the risk of one getting affected with arthritis increases by manifolds.

– Family History: There are some types of arthritis that run in families, in that case, if the parents and siblings have arthritis,  the person is most likely to develop it in the near future.

Methods of diagnosis of arthritis

The primary mode of diagnosis involves a thorough investigation of the joint pain along with a report of the history of any such events in the family history. A physical examination will be performed in which the range of motion of the joints will be tested, along with the search for areas of swelling around the joints.

Further tests involve imaging tests which might include any of the following

– X-rays: X-rays can reveal cartilage loss, bone deterioration, and bone spurs by using low doses of radiation to see bone. The main use of X-rays is for measuring the progress of the disease.

– Tomography via computer (CT): CT scanners use a combination of X-rays from various angles to provide cross-sectional views of inside structures. CT scans can see both the bone and the soft tissues around it.

– MRI Scans: MRIs provide more accurate pictures of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments by coupling radio waves with a powerful magnetic field.

– Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves are used to image soft tissues, cartilage, and fluid-containing structures around joints with this method (bursae). Ultrasound can also be used to guide the positioning of needles for extracting joint fluid or injecting drugs into the joint.

While a blood test can’t actually be used to detect if one has arthritis, if the case suspected is of rheumatoid arthritis, or gout, undergoing a blood test may help in proper diagnosis by providing an insight into the levels of uric acid or inflammatory proteins.

Methods of treatment of arthritis

The main problem is there is no actual cure for arthritis, but there are methods of treatments that can help in managing the condition and intern the overall health.

Non-surgical methods of treatment include

– Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Biologics are drugs that target the immune system’s inflammatory reaction, they are prescribed for people suffering from rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis

– Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help one increase their strength, range of motion, and overall mobility. Professional therapists can prescribe what modifications are to be done in the daily activities to minimize the discomfort caused due to arthritis.

– Injections: Cortisone injections can help alleviate pain and inflammation in the joints for a short time. A medication called viscosupplementation may help with arthritis in some joints, such as the knee. It involves direct injection of lubricant in the joints to aid smooth motion.

Surgical methods of treatment involve

– Joint replacement: In this procedure, the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. This procedure is most commonly used for hip and knee joints.

– Joint repair: For certain cases, the surfaces of bones in direct contact can be smoothed and realigned. This relieves the pain and improves the functioning of the joint.

– Joint fusion: This procedure is carried out for small joints eg the joints in the wrists. This method involves removing the ends of both the bones in direct contact and locking them together until they join as one.

Home Remedies

– Heat and Cold: The use of heating pads or ice packs help relieve pain caused due to arthritis.

– Exercises: Regular light exercises help keep the joints supple, the best exercise for arthritis will be swimming as water prevents sudden movement of joints and buoyancy reduces stress on the joints.

– Losing Weight: Cutting down the extra weight reduces the stress imposed on the joints and hence reduces the damage and pain due to arthritis.

Preventions

– Avoiding tobacco and its products

– Doing light weight exercises

– Maintaining body weight at healthy levels

In our body, there is a nerve called the ulnar which runs from the neck to the hand. It aids muscle control and feeling in the forearm, hand, and fingers. When that nerve is inflamed or squeezed, cubital tunnel syndrome develops. If left untreated, a depressed ulnar can produce a variety of unpleasant and severe symptoms, including muscular atrophy.

What is the function of the ulnar nerve?

The ulnar runs through the cubital tunnel, a tissue tube that runs beneath the medial epicondyle, and a bony bump on the inside of the elbow. The space is small, and only a thin layer of tissue protects it. The ulnar nerve is especially sensitive in that area. The ulnar nerve makes its way to the hand by passing through the muscles of the forearm to reach the hand on the side of the little finger after passing through the medial epicondyle (pinky). When it reaches the hand, it passes via Guyon’s canal, another tunnel.

We can control some of the larger muscles in the forearm (Ones that help to grip objects), be aware of the little finger and half of the ring finger, and have the ability to control most of the muscles in the hand all thanks to the ulnar nerve. Fine actions like typing on a keyboard or playing a musical instrument are all made possible by the muscles in the hand.

What causes cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar nerve entrapment, occurs when the ulnar nerve on the inside of the elbow becomes inflamed or compressed (squeezed).

Nerves are bundles of string-like fibers that use electrical and chemical changes in the cells to transmit and receive messages between the brain and body. The median, ulnar, and radial nerves are the three primary nerves in the arm. The ulnar nerve runs from the neck to the arm and hand.

If the ulnar nerve is constricted or inflamed at the elbow, one may have cubital tunnel syndrome. The nerve may be impacted further up the arm or even at the wrist. The possible causes of depression of the ulnar nerve include the following:

– Anatomy: The soft tissues surrounding the ulnar nerve may thicken over time, or there may be more muscle. Both of these disorders can induce cubital tunnel syndrome by preventing the nerve from functioning properly.

– Pressure: The ulnar nerve can be compressed by seemingly simple actions such as leaning one elbow on an armrest. The arm, hand, ring finger, and pinky finger may fall asleep if the nerve gets pinched.

– Snapping: The ulnar nerve may not stay in place as it should. When one moves it, it may snap across the medial epicondyle. The nerve is irritated by snapping it repeatedly.

– Stretching: If one bends their elbow for an extended period of time, such as while sleeping, they risk overstretching the nerve. Cubital tunnel syndrome can be caused by excessive stretching.

What are the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome?

If one experiences the symptoms quoted below for more than six weeks or the symptoms get intense, it’s highly advised to consult a doctor because  If one waits too long to treat the compressed nerve, they risk losing muscle mass in their hand. If they do receive therapy,  their symptoms will soon improve or disappear.

Cubital tunnel syndrome causes the following symptoms:

– Tingling sensation and numbness in hand and fingers which comes in waves

– When numb, it’s difficult to move the fingers

– Aching of the insides of the elbow.

The most prevalent symptoms are inner elbow pain and numbness and tingling in the hand. When the elbow is bent, these symptoms are most likely to happen which is the case while driving, holding a phone, or sleeping.

Methods of diagnosis of cubital tunnel syndrome

The diagnosis of cubital tunnel syndrome involves the following in addition to a thorough medical history and physical examination:

– Nerve conduction test:  A test to determine how quickly signals flow down a nerve in order to determine whether the nerve is compressed or constricted.

– Electromyogram (EMG): This test examines nerve and muscle function and can be used to assess the ulnar nerve-controlled forearm muscles. If the muscles aren’t working properly, it could be a symptom of a problem with the nerve.

– X-ray: This procedure examines the bones of the elbow to look for symptoms of arthritis (rheumatoid / osteoarthritis) or bone spurs.

Method of treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome

While the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome is concerned, non-surgical methods are given preference by medical professionals. The most popular non-surgical methods to treat carpal tunnel syndrome include the following:

– Splinting: Braces or splints when worn around the elbow helps to keep it straight and hence prevent the nerve from getting depressed

– Exercise: There are several hands and arm exercises that can help relieve tension from the nerves and muscles and can go a long way in providing relief in the case of cubital tunnel syndrome.

– Hand therapy: A hand therapy by a professional can help one learn ways by which they can prevent unnecessary stressing of the nerve

– NSAIDs: Medications like ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling surrounding the nerve and hence provide relief

If the non-surgical methods fail to provide relief to the condition, or if the nerve is compressed to the point where it is causing muscular atrophy, surgery becomes the need of the hour. The most commonly implied surgical methods are

– Cubital tunnel release: A ligament runs along the top of the cubital tunnel, this ligament is sliced and divided in this procedure, resulting in expansion of the tunnel and relieving pressure on the ulnar nerve. Where the ligament is cut, new tissue will grow.

– Ulnar nerve anterior transposition: During this procedure, the surgeon will relocate the ulnar nerve from the back of the medial epicondyle to the frontal part. Thus the surgery prevents the nerve from becoming entrapped in the bone.

– Medial epicondylectomy: This procedure involves removing a portion of the medial epicondyle to free up the nerve.

These treatments often don’t require hospitalization, but one may need to stay in the hospital for one night. The arm will most likely need to be splinted for two to three weeks. Physical treatment may be required to regain the range of motion and strength.

Methods of prevention

Although cubital tunnel syndrome cannot be prevented, there are a few things one can do to lower the risk:

– Do not lean on the elbow.

– Avoid exerting pressure on the insides of the arm.

– Keep the seat up.

– Keep the elbow straight while sleeping.

– Avoid anything that requires bending the arm for an extended period of time.

What causes elbow pain

The elbow is one of the most important joint in the human body, which aids us in performing even the most basic activities like lifting and swinging etc to the most complicated ones. The elbow is the point of meeting of the upper arm referred to as the humerus and the forearm which consists of the radius and the ulna which are the two bones that make up the forearm. The ends of both the bones have a soft tissue referred to as cartilage, the role of which is to absorb shock and aid in a smooth motion. The bones are fixed into their places by ligaments, and tendons attach the bones to muscles. Any problem in the above parts can cause elbow pain, but let us discuss the most common reasons for elbow pain.

Most common causes of elbow pain

Accidental Injuries

Often times one may get injured while playing sports or doing the daily activities, these may result in the following cases:

– Stains and sprains: When one overexerts themselves in the sports, the muscles undergo abnormal stretching and might get torn, this is what’s referred to as strain, and when this thing happens with ligaments, it is referred to as a sprain.

– Fracture: If the bones get broken around the elbow either due to a sudden blow or due to an impact received by a vehicle, it is referred to as an elbow fracture. Now some people might still be able to move the elbow with a fracture but it is not safe hence, if one feels that something is odd about their pain, they should immediately get medical assistance.

– Dislocated joint: This happens when one of the bones constituting the joint is knocked out of place. This case requires medical assistance.

Injuries due to wear and tear

These injuries occur over a long period of time when a continuous movement is performed over and over for a prolonged period which puts continuous stress on a point of the joint and hence cause it to wear out. Some conditions that occur due to these continuous movements are

– Bursitis: Bursitis is the condition when the small fluid sacs called bursa which acts as a cushion for the bones constituting the joint gets inflamed due to continuous stress induced on them. This is a common condition and can easily be treated with simple painkillers and it automatically gets better within a few weeks.

– Tennis elbow / Golfer’s elbow: They both refer to a type of tendinosis. Tendinosis is the condition in which the tendons of the area concerned are damaged, in this case, the elbow. Tennis elbow targets and affects the outside part of the elbow whereas the golfer’s elbow affects the inside of the elbow.

– Trapped nerves: There are numerous nerves that move along the arms and any one of them if put under pressure, can cause pain. The most common condition of trapped nerves is referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome, in which a nerve passing through the wrist is squeezed hence causing discomfort in the arms and wrist

Diseases

There are several diseases that can lead to pain in the elbow, which might not be the main symptom.

– Arthritis: There are 100’s of arthritis, but the major ones that can affect the elbow are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common in the elbow. It is caused by the immune system attacking the healthy tissues resulting in inflammation around the joint and hence the pain. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that provides cushioning to the bones gets worn out due to overuse.

– Gout: Our kidneys filter out the excess toxins from the blood, but when due to some cases Uric acid, which is normally eliminated as waste is not removed from the body, hence it starts to accumulate and crystallize in the gaps of the joint and hence causing pain this condition is called gout.

– Lupus: Lupus is another type of autoimmune disease where the immune system starts attacking the healthy cells of the body, the damage caused is more prominent in the hands but it can also be seen in the elbow.

– Lyme disease: The carrier of this disease are ticks, and this disease may very soon become serious if not treated promptly.

When to call a doctor

The majority of cases of elbow discomfort will improve on their own when coupled with simple home remedies. If one has any of the following symptoms, a visit to a doctor is required:

– One hasn’t had an injury or infection, and the discomfort hasn’t improved after two weeks of taking medications and resting the elbow.

– The arm or hand has tingling, numbness, or weakness.

If one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, they should go to an emergency room very once.

– An intense pain that prevents free movement of the arm, as well as swelling, fever, heat, and redness. These symptoms may indicate an infection.

– One suspects having a fractured elbow – this will most often happen after a visible injury, such as a direct hit or a fall onto an extended hand. A fracture causes discomfort and, in most cases, bruising.

Ways to manage pain

– Changing the way of motion: Prevent any motion that makes the pain worse than it is. If one’s day involves doing repetitive tasks, a consultation with an occupational therapist will do the job.

– Pain relief medicines: Over the counter painkillers like paracetamol can help relieve pain, but it is advised to consume only when necessary

– Splints: The use of splints for conditions such as tennis elbow can help provide support to the elbow and ease the strain on it.

– Ice or Heat packs: Application of heat or cold packs for a duration of 10 – 15 minutes every hour can provide relief from pain and stiffness. The only word of caution is don’t apply the heat pack directly to the affected area, use a towel to wrap the heat pack. Also, heat increases the blood flow in the area hence applying it to a recent injury will make it worse

– Light exercise: When the condition starts to get better, a little bit of non-strenuous exercise can help boost the recovery process

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own tissues, hence the term autoimmune disease. The illness can not only cause harm to a joint but to multiple organs including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.

Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike osteoarthritis, affects the lining of the joint, attacking it and making it swell which eventually leads to bone degradation and joint deformity.

Inflammation caused due to arthritis can also cause damage to other parts of the body. Despite the fact that new types of drugs have greatly improved treatment choices, severe rheumatoid arthritis, despite the medical advancement can still cause disabilities.

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis, as we now know, is an autoimmune disease. In which the immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body from outside invasion, starts to attack the healthy tissues of the joints which not only leads to rheumatoid arthritis but problems related to the heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and nerves may also crop up due to it.

It is still unsure to medical professionals what is the exact trigger of rheumatoid arthritis, however, there is an undeniable aspect of genetics involved. While the genes do not cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make one more susceptible to environmental conditions like viruses and bacteria that might trigger the disease.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

The most prominent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include the following:

– Swollen, tender, warm joints

– Joint stiffness in the morning time and after a prolonged state of inactivity 

– Fever, fatigue, and a loss of appetite

The early stages of rheumatoid arthritis cripple smaller joints which generally are the ones that join fingers to hands and toes to feet. As the disease continues to progress, these symptoms spread across the major joints in the body like wrists, ankles, knees, etc. 

Rheumatoid arthritis also affects areas other than the joints, about 40% of the people who have rheumatoid arthritis observe discomfort in parts like

– Skin

– Lungs

– Eyes

– Kidneys

– Blood Vessels and Marrow

– Heart 

– Salivary Glands

The signs and symptoms caused by rheumatoid arthritis aggravate and relieve from time to time. Over time this disease causes the joints to get deformed

Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis

Certain factors if present increases the chances of one getting affected by rheumatoid arthritis. 

– Joint Injury In the past: Injury incurred to a joint while playing sports or due to an accident, makes the joint vulnerable to arthritis in the future.

– Obesity: Having excess body weight puts strain on the joints especially the knees and spine hence making them more prone to rheumatoid arthritis.

– Gender: Women are more prone to developing rheumatoid arthritis as compared to men.

– Age: Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people from all age groups but in general middle age people are more prone to develop it.

– Family History: There are some types of arthritis that run in families, in that case, if the parents and siblings have arthritis,  the person is most likely to develop it in the near future.

– Smoking: Smoking cigarettes acts as a catalyst for people who already carry a defective gene that can lead to rheumatoid arthritis. Not only that smoking also aggravates the severity of the disease.

Methods of diagnosis

The primary mode of diagnosis involves a thorough investigation of the joint pain along with a report of the history of any such events in the family history. A physical examination will be performed in which the range of motion of the joints will be tested, along with the search for areas of swelling around the joints.

Further tests involve imaging tests which might include any of the following

– X-rays: X-rays can reveal cartilage loss, bone deterioration, and bone spurs by using low doses of radiation to see bone. The main use of X-rays is for measuring the progress of the disease.

– Tomography via computer (CT): CT scanners use a combination of X-rays from various angles to provide cross-sectional views of inside structures. 

– MRI Scans: MRIs provide more accurate pictures of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments by coupling radio waves with a powerful magnetic field.

– Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves are used to image soft tissues, cartilage, and fluid-containing structures around joints with this method (bursae). Ultrasound can also be used to guide the positioning of needles for extracting joint fluid or injecting drugs into the joint.

A blood test can also help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Higher ESR rate or CRP levels indicates the presence of inflammatory processes in the body which is a strong indication of rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods of treatment

The main problem is there is no actual cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but there are methods of treatments that can help in managing the condition and intern the overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment if provided can even push the disease to remission.

Non-surgical methods of treatment include 

– Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Biologics are drugs that target the immune system’s inflammatory reaction, they are prescribed for people suffering from rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis

– Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help one increase their strength, range of motion, and overall mobility. Professional therapists can prescribe what modifications are to be done in the daily activities to minimize the discomfort caused due to arthritis.

Surgical methods of treatment involve

– Total replacement of joint: In this process, the damaged parts of the joints are replaced by plastic or metal parts.

– Joint fusion: This procedure is carried out when replacement is not possible. This method involves removing the ends of both the bones in direct contact and locking them together until they join as one. 

– Synovectomy: This process involves removing the inflamed synovium from the joint to relieve the pain and also increase the flexibility of the joint.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis

The quality of life will directly depend on the mindset of the individual, having a strong support system and daily stress-relieving activity can significantly change the life of the patient. Here are some steps to help take out the best of the life

– Find Me Time: This is the best thing you can do for yourself. Often in our busy lives, we forget we need time for ourselves. Spending time out on a walk in nature or a cup of coffee can reduce stress considerably.

– Connect with people: Always make sure that your loved ones are aware of how you are feeling.

Emergency Contact

1800 121 5744