Common Conditions Treated
At Crystal Clinic, our physicians treat a wide range of common and complex bone, muscle, and joint problems. The most frequently seen conditions are described below.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common hand condition that affects millions of Americans. In fact, more than 500,000 people each year elect to have surgery to gain relief from the typical symptoms of tingling and/or numbness in their hands.
Many patients experience numbness or tingling at night, when gripping the steering wheel while driving, or when talking on the phone. Most report feeling relief after dropping their hands or shaking them out. Clumsiness or difficulty with normal daily tasks due to numbness and/or weakness of the thumb are late symptom.
Before deciding on surgery, we start with a non-operative approach such as night splints to keep the wrist in a neutral position that blocks flexion or extension. To help manage any discomfort, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen are recommended. You will also be advised to avoid activities that tend to aggravate the condition. Cortisone injections may also be considered if you don’t have relief with the other treatments. When those options fail, or your CTS is more severe, then it may be necessary to proceed with surgery.
A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. There are many different types of fractures.
Bone fractures are often caused by falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body. Overuse or repetitive motions can cause stress fractures. Fractures can also be caused by diseases that weaken the bone. These include osteoporosis or cancer in the bones. The main goal of treatment is to put the pieces of bone back in place so the bone can heal. This can be done with a splint, cast, surgery, or traction.
Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability and strengthen the joint. There are four main ligaments in the knee: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
The ACL can tear during a sudden twisting motion and are most commonly seen in those who ski or play basketball or football. Damage to the PCL usually occurs as a result of a sudden direct impact from a car accident or a football tackle. Often, these injuries don’t cause significant pain, but you may hear a popping sound as the injury occurs, followed by the leg buckling when attempting to stand. The same is true for collateral ligament injuries. Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle-strengthening exercises, protective bracing and icing. Surgery may be necessary to repair the tear.
Meniscus Injuries / Tears
Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries. A tear may occur in different ways. Oftentimes, it can occur when playing sports, but may also happen after years of wear and tear. Older people may experience a tear from just an awkward twist when rising from a chair. Pain, stiffness and swelling, catching or locking of the knee, and limited range of motion are common symptoms. Depending on the location of the tear, surgery may or may not be necessary. Nonsurgical treatment includes RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Osteoarthritis most often affects people age 50 or older, and starts with the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. Symptoms include pain, reduced range of motion and swelling and stiffness in the joint, which may worsen when sitting or resting for prolonged periods. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are usually effective at relieving pain. While there is no cure, the sooner you seek treatment the more likely you can minimize how it affects your life.
Rotator Cuff Injury / Tear
Every year millions of people visit their physician due to shoulder injuries. One of the most important parts of your shoulder, your rotator cuff, consists of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place and help you lift and rotate your arm. A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults.
Common injuries to the rotator occur from lifting a heavy object or suffering a traumatic fall, but most rotator cuff problems develop over time because of the degenerative wear and tear that comes with aging. That is why most rotator cuff injuries are commonly seen in patients over the age of 40.
Symptoms can include recurrent pain, especially with certain activities; pain that prevents you from sleeping; grating or cracking sounds when moving your arm; a limited ability to move your arm; and muscle weakness. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often used as a helpful tool in appropriately diagnosing and managing rotator cuff injuries.
Rotator cuff injuries may respond to non-surgical, conservative treatment. Nonsurgical management of shoulder injuries includes rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and an occasional cortisone injection. However, if nonsurgical treatments are not effective or you have a significant tear, surgery may be necessary.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. A sprain happens when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ligaments are flexible bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to bones, and bones to cartilage. Most sprains heal with getting rest and applying ice. However, if the affected joint is swollen and you have any difficulty moving or bearing weight on it, you’ll want to see your doctor.
Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is injured. Tendons are the fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone throughout your body. Similar to sprains, a strain may be an overstretched muscle or tendon, or it could be a partial or complete tear in the muscle and tendon combination. Pain, cramping, inflammation, muscle spasm, muscle weakness and swelling are the most common symptoms.