Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands - (Page 75)
ORTHOPAEDICS – BONES, JOINTS AND LIGAMENTS
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Musculoskeletal problems can be debilitating and demand expert help
rthopaedics is the branch of
medicine concerned with
injuries and diseases of the
system, including bones,
joints, ligaments, tendons,
muscles and nerves. Orthopaedic surgeons
treat injuries, infections and cancers relating to
this. Here, we focus on common ankle and
foot problems and their treatment.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle
to the heel bone and is particularly prone to
injury, especially among athletes. This injury
can take the form of inflammation, known as
tendonitis, or tearing, known as rupture. Both
injuries can cause intense pain at the back of
the leg close to the heel, usually accompanied
by some degree of tenderness and swelling.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Achilles tendonitis can
be caused by a number of factors including
overuse of the tendon; a tight Achilles tendon;
tight calf muscles; and excessive uphill running.
Suddenly increasing the intensity of sports or
fitness training and over pronation (where the
feet roll inwards when walking or running) can
also lead to tendon problems.
TREATMENT Ice, elevation and over-thecounter
or prescription anti-inflammatories can
all help alleviate the symptoms of tendonitis.
Ruptured tendons, however, will require
immediate immobilisation and in the worst
cases may even require immediate surgery.
BONE AND ANKLE
When there is a trauma or injury, bone and
ankle fractures (breaks) are a risk. The ankle
bones are commonly fractured and may need
surgery to restore the anatomical alignment if
they are displaced. Fractures can range from less
serious avulsion injuries (where small pieces of
bone are pulled off) to severe shattering-type
fractures of the bones and dislocations.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Ankle fractures
are most often caused by a twisting
injury of the ankle, with the ankle
‘rolling’ inwards or outwards.
In addition, there are several
bones in the foot which are
prone to fracture as a result of
‘twisting’ the ankle. The bones
on the outside of the foot are
but there are many foot and ankle injuries
where surgery is necessary to enable a patient
to make a full recovery and avoid devastating
long term consequences. Although not always
the case, most bony injuries requiring surgery
are those where the broken fragments are
displaced. When this is the case, the surgeon
resets the bones into their original place and
fixes them with screws and/or plates.
Cartilage (flexible, rubbery connective tissue
that cushions bones at the joint) damage is
common in the foot and ankle area.
Springy and tough
is the type found
between your joints
particularly at risk and therefore the whole
foot has to be examined thoroughly after what
may appear to be a sprain.
TREATMENT All foot and ankle injuries should
be X-rayed and ideally seen by a specialist.
As a general rule, broken bones tend to heal
well. Simple fractures do not require surgery
WHAT CAUSES IT? Cartilage can be damaged
by a trauma, such as a fall that causes vigorous
twisting of the joint. This results in the
joint surfaces impacting on each other,
grinding away the protective cartilage.
Degenerative conditions such as
osteoarthritis can also cause the loss
of cartilage, as can wear and tear.
TREATMENT Cartilage does not
have its own blood supply so it has poor
restorative ability. The method of treatment
will depend largely on the degree of severity
and loss. This is typically identified through an
arthroscopic examination (inserting a tiny camera
through a small incision), ultrasound or MRI scan.
Mild damage can be treated with medication,
but in severe cases, surgery may be required. n
Dr Hilary Jones’ Healthcare guide – West Midlands 075
WORDS: Holly Quayle, Lynne Maxwell | PHOTOGRAPHS: Getty Images
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands
A HEALTHY HELLO FROM DR HILARY
NEWS AND VIEWS
THE BIG INTERVIEW
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
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EARS, NOSE AND THROAT
OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY
Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands