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An Overview of Orthopaedic Injuries

Because the field of orthopaedics encompasses many parts of your musculoskeletal system, there are many areas of potential injury. Your orthopaedic injury can originate from your neck, shoulders, wrists, back, hips and legs. The injury source can vary, too, from one based on age and occupation to activity level and lifestyle.

Your specific condition can be diagnosed by a ProMedica health care professional, and an appropriate treatment plan recommended.

To help you understand more about orthopaedic injuries, we’ve also summarized common examples of these kinds of injuries and ways to identify them.

How Do I Know If I’m Injured

One of the first signs may be a limited range of motion or just discomfort doing normal activities. Other signs you may have a musculoskeletal (orthopaedic) injury are reoccurring pain, stiff and painful joints, swelling and dull aches. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, examples of acute or chronic orthopaedic injury include:

  • Shoulder: rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and recurrent dislocations.
  • Knee: meniscal (cartilage) tears, chondromalacia (wearing or injury of cartilage cushion) and anterior cruciate ligament tears with instability.
  • Wrist: carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Loose bodies of bone and/or cartilage (knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle or wrist).
  • Inflammation of the lining in the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle.

Top 10 injuries for Athletes, Young and Old

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the most common sports injuries are:

  • Ankle sprain.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Tennis elbow.
  • ACL injury.
  • Meniscus tear.
  • Shoulder dislocation.
  • Rotator cuff tear.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Distal radius fracture (also known as a wrist fracture).

More about anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

An anterior cruciate ligament injury is the over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete. The knee is similar to a hinge joint, located where the end of the thigh bone (femur) meets the top of the shin bone (tibia).

ACL tears may be due to contact or noncontact injuries. A blow to the side of the knee, which can occur during a football tackle, may result in an ACL tear. Early symptoms including A "popping" sound at the time of injury; Knee swelling within 6 hours of injury; and Pain, especially when you try to put weight on the injured leg. Those who have only a mild injury may notice that the knee feels unstable or seems to "give way" when using it.

Read more about ACL injuries

Fragility Fractures

Osteoporosis can be a contributing factor to fragility factors. Dr. Jeffrey Fair explains how his practice treats and prevents these types of medical events.

Hip Injuries

Hip-related pain is not always felt directly over the hip. Instead, you may feel it in the middle of your thigh or in your groin. Similarly, pain you feel in the hip may actually reflect a problem in your back, rather than your hip itself. Hip fractures are a significant and serious cause of sudden hip pain. Other possible causes of hip pain include:

  • Arthritis -- often felt in the front part of your thigh or in your groin
  • Osteonecrosis of the hip
  • Trochanteric bursitis -- hurts when you get up from a chair, walk, climb stairs, and drive
  • Tendinitis from repetitive or strenuous activity
  • Strain or sprain
  • Low-back pain such as sciatica
  • Infection

More on hip injuries and pain at ProMedica’s Health Library

Tips for Preventing Knee Injuries

Not all knee injuries can be prevented (an accident, for example). But others can by adopting some of these practices:

  • Before exercising, warm up by walking, riding a stationary bicycle or stretching.
  • Strengthen leg muscles through specific exercises.
  • Do not quickly change the intensity of your activity; instead, gradually increase the force or duration.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes in good condition.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of certain knee problems

Bones, Joints and Muscles Toolkit

Use the tools below to learn more about how to take care of your bones, joints and muscles.

Patient Stories

We all have a story about what we live to do, but for some, joint pain can make those activities nearly impossible. Tasks that used to be simple, such as running the vacuum, getting in and out of the car or even sleeping at night, can become unbearable. If you’re experiencing these same issues, you’re not alone..

Watch and read patient stories

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Why Does Your Knee Hurt?

Knee pain: it can stop you from playing a sport you love, taking the stairs or enjoying an evening walk. What causes it? What treatments are available? Seeking help from a medical professional can help you regain health and mobility. We asked Joseph A Assenmacher, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with ProMedica Physicians.

Learn about knee pain