Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Understanding SI Joint Pain and Treatment Options

Commonly misdiagnosed as sciatica or lumbar disc herniation, SI joint dysfunction is one of most common causes of lower back pain. Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment starts with understanding what the SI joint is, what it does, and what symptoms become present when it starts to deteriorate.

What Is The SI Joint and What Does It Do?

Located at the base of the spine, the sacroiliac nerve serves three primary functions. First, it connects the sacrum (a triangular bone located at the base of the spine) with the pelvis. Second, it transmits the upper body’s forces to the pelvis and legs. Lastly, it acts an important shock absorber.

What Causes SI Joint Pain?

Most commonly found in young and middle-aged women, SI joint pain can be the result of too much or too little movement. Hypermobility (or instability) is the term used to describe pain caused by too much movement in the joints. This pain is generally felt in the lower back and can radiate up into the hip bones. Hypomobility (or fixation) is the term used to describe pain caused by too little motion in the joints. This pain is generally felt on one side and is located in the buttocks with some radiation down the leg.

How Is SI Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Proper diagnosis of SI dysfunction is generally achieved through a physical exam and a pain-blocking injection. During a physical exam, a joint specialist will try to determine if the SI joint is the cause of the pain by examining the effects of movement on the area. If they’re able to recreate the pain through movement, and no other explanation is found, SI joint dysfunction is likely the cause of the pain. If a physical exam cannot accurately pinpoint the SI joint as the cause of the pain, the specialist may opt to perform a sacroiliac joint block. In this procedure, the physician uses an x-ray to guide them as they inject a numbing agent in the SI joint. If the pain ceases, SI dysfunction is the most probable cause of the pain and treatment options can be discussed.

How Is SI Dysfunction Treated?

Most often, SI dysfunction is treated non-surgically and focuses on restoring movement to the area. This can be done through a number of methods. Treatment options include the following techniques.

Ice, heat, and rest periods

Pain and anti-inflammatory medications

Chiropractic manipulations

Supports and braces

Physical therapy

SI Joint Injections for pain management

Finding A Joint Specialist For Your Pain

If you’re experiencing prolonged lower back pain that has not responded to over the counter medications, call New Jersey Joints to speak with a specialist and request an appointment. Our team will review your medical history, examine you, and properly diagnose and treat SI pain quickly and effectively. We look forward to hearing from you!


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The Not So Funny Bone — Understanding Elbow Joint Injuries

Referred to as “the funny bone,” the elbow serves a far more profound purpose than most give it credit for. Your elbow is the joint that connects the three large arm bones and is responsible for your arm’s movement and rotation ability. Understanding the complexity of this joint–and the associated injury risks–starts with an understanding of what comprises your elbow joint.

The Elbow’s Components:

Biceps: The biceps muscle group is the muscle group responsible for allowing the “hinge” motion in the elbow joint. Hinge motion is the term used to describe the elbow’s ability to move the arm forward and backward, like a hinge.

Triceps: The triceps are the muscle group that allows the elbow joint to extend outward during this hinge motion.

Tendons: Attach to the joint to facilitate rotation and movement.

Bursa: A fluid-filled sac that overlies the tip the elbow and helps to reduce friction during movement.

Common Elbow Injuries:

Due to the complexity of the elbow joint, injury is fairly common among athletes. The most common injuries seen by NJ Joint specialists are as follows.

Bursitis: Caused by acute impact on the edge of the elbow, bursitis is an incredibly painful condition that produces swelling and pain and often requires a physician for medical treatment.

Tennis Elbow: Technically known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow results from overuse of the extensor muscles in the forearm and often presents as gradually increasing pain. If treated early enough, patients can often feel relief from rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If left untreated, an NJ Joints treatment specialist is required for healing.

Muscle Strains: The biceps, triceps, forearm flexors, and extensor muscles are the most commonly injured elbow muscles. The most severe of these injuries is a muscle tear that requires non-invasive surgical intervention.

Contacting an NJ Joint Care Specialist For Treatment:

If you’re experiencing persistent elbow pain that is not responding to rest, ice, compression, or elevation, contact a specialist at NJ Joints today to get treated immediately. Our team will accurately diagnose the injury and offer you the least invasive treatment option possible. Visit our website or call to request an appointment.


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Is Shoulder Resurfacing Right For Me?

If you have been suffering from arthritis of the shoulder, you know how much the pain and stiffness can limit your daily tasks. But weakness, grinding, and discomfort don’t have to be part of your routine anymore. With shoulder resurfacing as an alternative to total shoulder replacement, you can get your life back, faster than ever before.

 

Shoulder resurfacing is a more conservation procedure, making it ideal for patients with shoulder issues who are not yet in need of a full replacement but want to return to full function. Instead of surgically cutting and removing two separate bones, as is done in full shoulder replacement, only the humeral head of the shoulder is replaced with metal.4209110_l

 

Only a surgeon can determine if you qualify for resurfacing rather than a replacement. But, usually, patients who have resurfacing suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, rotator cuff disease/injury, or post-trauma arthritis. If you are ready to take the next step, request an appointment with us today.

 

Unlike a full replacement, shoulder resurfacing is a less traumatic surgery to your body, and has no risk of fracture at the top of the prosthesis. Resurfacing restores the normal anatomy of the shoulder, and can be done even if the bone is deformed from an accident or injury.  The recovery is shorter, with no risk of fat embolism from surgery, and less pain.  Should there be a need, resurfacing is easily revised to a full replacement.

 

The benefits are clear, but every surgical procedure carries its own risks. However, with an experienced surgeon and follow-up physical therapy, most patients experience the cessation of pain and a full recovery to functionality that can last for many years.  Shoulder arthritis does not diminish over time; it worsens. Before you find yourself unable to do the things you enjoy, consider whether shoulder resurfacing might be the right solution to your shoulder pain and weakness.

 

 

 


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The Ins and Outs of Finger Joint Replacement

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If you’ve been experiencing pain from arthritis in the knuckles of your fingers, and nonsurgical treatments have not reduced your pain, your doctor may recommend Finger Arthroplasty. Although the name sounds a bit intimidating, finger joint replacement is a safe procedure that has excellent results for most patients. Today, we’re going to look at what finger joint replacement entails, what recovery is like, as well as the level of permanent results you can expect.

 

Finger joint replacement isn’t actually as invasive as it may sound. Arthritis in the knuckles is usually a result of excessive wear and tear on the articular cartilage that cushions the ends of the finger bones. When the articular cartilage wears out, the bones slide against each other and can cause extreme pain. In a finger joint replacement, surgeons use plastic silicon implants in place of the degraded natural tissue. This silicon has a long lifespan and is much less subject to erosion from use, making it an ideal candidate to provide long lasting relief.44448133_ml

 

Because finger joint replacement is a well-researched and studied procedure, surgeons are extremely experienced in performing it and can use either general anesthesia (where you are completely asleep) or local anesthesia (where you will remain awake but feel no pain or discomfort). Any procedure involving any level of anesthesia can have complications; so if you’ve had any issues in the past with anesthesia, or have issues with your breathing, let your doctor know well before your surgery. No surgeon can guarantee any specific result, and every surgery carries risks. Finger joint replacement can result in infection, nerve damage, or failure of the prosthesis. However, these risks are extremely low provided you choose a reputable surgeon and follow his or her instructions carefully.

 

After surgery, your hand will be in either a splint or a cast for about three weeks. Immediately after surgery, you may experience some discomfort that you may choose to control with pain medication. To avoid swelling or throbbing, your doctor will advise you to keep your hand elevated for the first three to five days. Once your finger is healing well, you will progress to rehabilitation. Ultimately, most patients have a return to full function with no lasting pain or stiffness. If you’re ready to move forward and regain pain-free use of your fingers, contact us today to request an appointment!


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 Tips For Keeping Shoulders Healthy

 

Good shoulder health means more than an attractive physique. It can mean the difference between being able to engage in daily activities with a full range of motion and being unable to participate in your life because of limited or painful movement in the shoulders and arms. The shoulder, as we know it, is made up of the rotator cuff and the shoulder blade. The shoulder blade, a ball and socket joint, is known as a “mobile but unstable” joint and relies heavily on a healthy rotator cuff for stability and overall health. In a nutshell, good shoulder health is the result of a combination of proper posture and regular conditioning. Our team of joint specialists have compiled a list of ways to keep your shoulders mobile, pain-free, and operating in optimal condition all year long.

 

Tips For Keeping Your Shoulders Healthy

  1. Training The Cuff: As mentioned above, a healthy rotator cuff is the key to healthy shoulders. Rotator cuff tears are incredibly common among athletes and the elderly. They go 13764733_lundiagnosed all too often due to the fact that pain is not always a symptom. As with all muscles, training this group to perform properly during physical activity will go a long way towards keeping the entire region healthy. A good physical therapist can review your specific health history and offer a series of rotator cuff movement exercises designed specifically to meet your needs.
  2. Warm Up: Warming up before every exercise routine is absolutely crucial to shoulder health. The easiest way to avoid injury is to get your muscles warmed up and ready for action before each and every workout. Spend five to ten minutes warming up with gentle rotations before starting. This goes for the Average Joe, not just athletes. Whether you’re lifting weights or simply shoveling the snow from your driveway, getting these muscles ready to work is easy, quick, and effective.
  3. Straighten Up: It turns out your mother was right. Your posture could be ruining your health. Joint and muscle specialists – as well as physical therapists – are seeing a significant increase in shoulder pain and injuries as a direct result of our work force’s tendency to spend hours hunched over the computer at work. Get up, walk around, work while standing or – at the very least – take regular breaks to stretch your muscles. But, most importantly, mind your posture while working.

 

If you’re experiencing pain or a lack of range of motion, call NJ Joints today. Or visit our website to request an appointment with one of our experienced doctors and physical therapists. The earlier you seek medical help, the less likely a surgical procedure will be.


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4 Causes of Elbow Pain and Available Treatment Options

Proper arm functioning is essential to everyday life; and arm functioning hinges–quite literally–on the elbow joint. Like most joints in the body, the elbow is made up of bone, muscle, ligaments, and tendons. Damage to any of these can result in a several painful conditions. Read on to learn about four common conditions that result in elbow pain and what treatments are available.

 

  1. Elbow Fracture. A breaking, partial o11841049_lr full, of any of the bones in the elbow is known as an elbow fracture. This is usually caused by direct trauma to the bone due to a fall, sports injury, or another accident. Depending on the severity of the fracture, treatment can range from temporary casting of the joint to open joint surgery.
  2. Elbow Sprain. Sprains involve stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments in the elbow. Elbow sprains usually result from impact to various parts of the arm, especially in an upward motion, while the arm is extended, such as breaking one’s fall with the hands while arms are outstretched. Treatment for elbow sprains involves the application of cold packs to the affected area, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and resting the arm for a period of time.
  3. Tendinitis of the elbow, sometimes known as Tennis Elbow, involves inflammation of the tendons that connect the elbow with the muscles of the forearm. This condition usually results from ongoing stress on the elbow, resulting from a variety of physical activities, such as playing tennis and tasks that involve repetitive twisting motions. Applying ice to the area and resting the arm, supplemented by anti-inflammatory medications, is the first line of defense in treating tendinitis of the elbow. In more severe cases, bracing and cortisone injections may be recommended.
  4. Several varieties of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, can result in pain and inflammation in the elbow and can limit range of motion in the joint. Most forms of arthritis are treated through medications and, in severe cases, surgery. The condition can also be managed, however, through exercise, physical therapy, and other alternative interventions.

 

If you are experiencing elbow pain, request an appointment with a specialist at Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute today to identify the source of your discomfort and learn what treatment options are available.

 


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Ankle Replacement: What You Need to Know

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Ankle replacement surgery is the procedure used to replace your own damaged bones or joints with artificial ones in response to damage severe enough to render the ankle unusable. While not uncommon, ankle replacement surgery is a major procedure that should be done by a reputable team of surgeons, and only when absolutely necessary. If you have had an injury that resulted in persistent and severe pain that limits mobility and a partial or total ankle replacement has been suggested, read on to learn more about the procedure and know what to expect.

 

When Ankle Replacement Is Suggested:

 

Ankle replacement surgery – whether partial or complete – can be suggested for a number of reasons. Here are the most common reasons for an ankle replacement.Untitled design (21)

  • Bone fractures
  • Arthritis caused by previous ankle injuries or surgeries
  • Infection
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

What Risks Are Associated With The Procedure?

 

There are a few risks that accompany an ankle replacement surgery. In addition to the general risks of infection, allergic reactions, breathing problems, and blood clots associated with any surgical procedure, the most common risks of ankle replacements are:

  • Weakness in the ankle
  • The artificial joint loosening over time and resulting in instability
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Allergic reaction to the artificial joint
  • Dislocation of the artificial joint

 

Trained and experienced NJ joint specialists do ankle replacement surgery under general anesthesia. The team will open the ankle up and remove damaged joints. These damaged joints will then be replaced by prosthetics. In the first hours and days following surgery, patients experience some numbness and pain in the leg and ankle, which can be addressed with pain medication. After leaving the hospital, you will need to walk with assistance, such as crutches or a walker, for between four and six weeks to give the ankle the opportunity to fully heal.

 

If you believe you are a candidate for replacement surgery, visit our website to request a consultation and get started on recovery.


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Tips for Keeping Your Knees Healthy in the Winter

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For sufferers of arthritis and joint pain, winter’s arrival is felt in the knees. As temperatures drop, joints will naturally become stiffer — especially for those already struggling with a joint condition. What’s the reason for this? There are two main causes for increased pain in joints during cold weather.

  • Blood Flow: As the temperatures drop, our bodies send less blood to the peripheral regions of our bodies (knees, elbows, etc.) as a way of increasing the blood flow to our core (heart and lung) regions. The result? Inflexible joints.
  • Lack of Vitamin D: We spend fewer hours outside in direct sunlight during the winter. Therefore, we are exposed to less of the Vitamin D that strengthens our bones.

 

For sufferers of joint pain, there are a few things you can do to help keep your joints healthy, flexible, and pain-free throughout this season. As always, request an appointment with your joint specialist at the first sign of persistent pain — before the need for surgical intervention arises.50204878_l

 

Tips for Protecting Your Knees In Cold Weather:

  1. Watch Your Diet: Your diet is your first defense in the fight for joint and bone health. Be sure your diet includes lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables, fibers, and dairy products.
  2. Stock Up On Vitamins: As we mentioned earlier, you are naturally going to get less of some of the essential vitamins for bone and joint health. Make sure you’re incorporating foods with vitamins D, K, and C into your daily meals.
  3. Limit Unhealthy Beverages: Alcohol, tea, and coffee reduce the amount of calcium your body can absorb and can work to weaken your bones. Try to significantly limit your intake of these beverages this winter.
  4. Get Moving: Unless your doctor has expressed concerns over you getting physical exercise on a daily basis, be sure to get your body moving this winter. This will increase flexibility, relieve some of the stress placed on your knees, and keep your bones in good condition all season. To up the value of your workouts, get outside for brisk walk earlier in the day or late in the afternoon to soak up some vitamin D.
  5. Relax in the Tub: For joint pain, there are few things that provide more relief than a warm bath. Soak in your tub at the end of a chilly day to raise your body temperature and restore flexibility to your joints.

 

Hopefully, with these tips in hand, you will enjoy a pain-free winter. If you’re dutifully incorporating these tips and still struggling with pain, it might be time to see your doctor and get evaluated. Call us today or visit our site to request an appointment.


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Knee Injuries in Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

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Knee injuries among young people are on the rise. In 2012, there was a 400% increase in the incidence of these injuries among teens, and those numbers appear to still be on the rise. Some of this increase can be attributed to the growing number of children and teens participating in sports, especially among girls (who are more vulnerable to ACL tears–a common knee injury). Read on to learn more about preventing treating these injuries.

Playing soccer barefoot on a wet tennis court is definitely not a great way to minimize risk of injury.

Playing soccer barefoot on a wet tennis court is definitely not a great way to minimize risk of injury.

Prevention

Prevention is key. Some knee injuries have lifelong consequences; for instance, an ACL tear boosts the likelihood that a young person will develop arthritis in the afflicted joint. At the very least, these injuries often force students to miss school and miss out on other athletic activities. That’s why it’s especially important to take a “better safe than sorry” approach to upholding and enforcing policies that aid in preventing sports injuries among young people.

  • Create A Team Culture That Thinks Long Term: “Playing through the pain” probably won’t win the game, and it may very well lose you the season. Make sure suffering isn’t glorified on teams for teens and kids, and that the long term growth and success of the players are valued. It’s easier for young people to honestly assess and articulate their injuries when they know they won’t be doubted or looked down on, and even easier when they know that attentiveness and commitment to staying strong is something their coaches and teammates appreciate.
  • Cross Train: Cross training is a great way to develop strength and flexibility without overburdening one muscle or joint. If you’re a parent, encourage your child to try other sports or go to the gym; if you’re a coach, integrate cross training activities, like jogging or weight lifting, into practices or as part of an off-season program.
  • Rest Up: Cross training may be important, but teens also need plenty of rest time between practices, games, and seasons. Make sure young people aren’t overbooked, and that they have adequate time to sleep a full eight hours, eat real meals, and finish schoolwork.
  • Hydrate: Dehydration can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion–all of which make kids more vulnerable to injurious trips and falls.
  • Wear Quality Gear: Make sure you child has appropriate gear in quality condition. Shoes, knee guards, etc. can all be worn down or crushed over time, so make sure these items all still offer the protection they’re intended to.

Treatment

Treatment for knee injuries varies based on the type and severity of the injury. Physical therapy is often used. Sometimes, physical therapy serves to correct movement or posture problems that caused or will worsen the injury. Other times it’s to help build strength, particularly in supporting muscles, in a way that won’t exacerbate the injury. Other times, physical therapy is part of rehabilitative care post surgery or other treatment.

Bracing is very non-invasive treatment option. Bracing can be very useful in supporting and/or immobilizing damaged areas. It’s a good option for kids, who may have a hard time resisting the urge to move the injured area.

Knee surgery is more rare, but may be necessary. It’s not ideal, but can be the most effective solution for certain injuries that can’t be treated with the less invasive options. With proper rehabilitative care, surgery can offer relief and a more mobile, active future for young athletes.

For more assistance diagnosing and treating knee injuries in young people, we encourage you to contact our specialists and request an appointment.


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How to Help Your Loved Ones Pre and Post Joint Replacement Surgery

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Patients undergoing joint replacement surgery can use all the help they can get–even if they don’t always know how to ask for it. Major surgery presents more than physical challenges, and it’s profoundly helpful for patients to have support in all forms.Whether you are the spouse, child, friend, sibling, or other family member of a joint replacement patient, there are ways you can help.

Educate Yourself

A little homework can go a long way. Joint replacement surgery means confronting a lot of potentially scary experiences, such as anesthesia, the operation, and the medications many patients take after surgery. The more mysterious these things are, the more frightening. The more you can discuss them, understand them, and prepare for them, the more comfortable patients can feel with the procedure. Walk through the steps of preparation and recovery with the patient regularly to make them clearer and more familiar.

Meet The Doctor(s)

Ask if you can tag along on a visit to the doctor. The physicians, surgeons, and physical therapists that your loved one will be seeing are a great resource for tips on how you can help provide the best care. Plus, it can be overwhelming as a patient to take in all the info and guidelines discussed each visit. You can help by taking notes, and by asking questions. As an outsider, you may have a clearer perspective on the conversation–patients can feel distracted by anxiety, pain, or, post-surgery, even medication. You may even want to brainstorm some questions with your loved one beforehand, so that you can make sure they are all answered.

Chauffeur

This may sound obvious, but transportation is a big deal to someone going into or recovering from surgery. Even if a patient is technically okay to drive, they may feel uncomfortable doing so, and may be reluctant to ask for a ride to avoid feeling as if they are a burden. If your availability as a driver is limited, help look for a solution. Organize a rideshare group with other family members or friends who want to pitch in. Or, look for a reliable car service or app like Uber or Lyft, and try using it together to help get your loved one comfortable with this alternative.

Be a Rehabilitation Cheerleader

Recovery from joint replacement surgery can be slow, and even painful. It can be easy to feel like things will never get better, or even that they’re worse than before. Keep your loved one motivated by tracking and celebrating their progress–even the small stuff. Assure them that recovery takes time (though if it seems to be taking too long, definitely call the doctor). Recognize the hard work they’re putting in, and let them know that you’re proud of them.

Take Care of Yourself

At the end of the day, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get sleep, eat well, exercise. Your loved one made the very difficult decision to undergo joint replacement–very likely in part because they want to be more mobile, and better able to be part of your life. The best way you can honor and respect their courage and strength is to not take your health for granted.

If you or someone you love is considering joint replacement surgery, we encourage you to request an appointment with our joint specialists to learn more about your options.


Limited mobility and chronic pain from damaged joints is a tragedy that affects more than just one person — it robs families, loved ones, and communities of so much you have to offer. The specialists at the Advanced Joint Replacement Institute want to help you get back on your feet and out in the world. Our team has the experience, skills, and technology to replace joints using minimally invasive techniques for a faster recovery time, less pain, and less scarring.