Important Things to Know about Knee Surgery

Surgeries of the knees are some of the most frequent operations performed by orthopedic surgeons. Our knees are subject to a multitude of injuries and diseases, and sometimes surgery is the best treatment option. Many orthopedic surgeons specialize in knee procedures and can answer your questions regarding the procedures. Here are some important, basic facts you should know if you are considering knee surgery now or in the future.

Knee Surgery Is Not for Everyone

Although surgery can be a great choice for certain patients, greatly reducing their pain and increasing their mobility, it’s not for everyone. First, your issue must be severe enough to make surgery an appropriate choice. If your pain can be relieved with more conservative measures like medications, icing, and physical therapy, then an orthopedic surgeon may decline to perform the procedure.

Important Things to Know about Knee Surgery

Surgery, like many aspects of medicine, is viewed by its risks compared to potential benefits. If the risk to you is too great due to other health issues, then surgery would not be a good choice. Also, if your surgeon believes you would not receive much improvement from surgery, then other options should be considered instead.

There are Many Types of Knee Surgery

Just as there are many kinds of knee problems, there are many different types of knee surgery. Surgery may be performed because there is a rupture or tear of one of the ligaments, to remove loose cartilage or bone fragments, or due to a problem with a knee meniscus. Each different sort of surgery has its own unique risks, procedures, benefits, recovery time, and the expected outcome. Of course, each of these factors further varies based on your individual medical history and condition. For a comprehensive view of your situation, consult with your orthopedic surgeon and don’t be hesitant to ask questions.

Compliance is Crucial

For the best outcome from knee surgery, or possibly avoiding it altogether, it is absolutely vital that you follow your surgeon’s instructions. This includes before and after surgery. Your surgeon might request that you try different medications or therapies or even change your lifestyle. For your health’s sake, you should listen to their advice.

Aftercare is also important. After getting out of the hospital, you’ll be given some restrictions as well as some exercises to perform. Adhering to these rigorously and following your surgeon’s instructions will increase your chances for a favorable outcome and reduce the likelihood of needing additional surgery.

Every Outcome is Different

Just as no two patients are exactly alike, every situation is different. You shouldn’t necessarily expect the same outcome or postoperative course as a friend or family member. Also remember that there are no absolutes or guarantees, although sticking to your surgeon’s instructions can certainly help your outcome.

Hopefully, the above information has been useful to your understanding of the basic facts and information surrounding knee surgery. Remember, however, that your orthopedic surgeon is always your best source of information concerning your individual case.

Facts about the Most Common, Serious Foot Injuries

Our feet get a workout almost every day. Simply walking around puts stress on our feet, even more so when running or participating in athletics. The potential for foot injury is high, and foot problems are among the most frequent orthopedic complaints. In fact, informal polling has shown that 74 percent of all Americans have experienced some form of foot injury during their lives. Here are some facts about the most common serious foot injuries suffered by Americans, including their symptoms and treatment.

Taking an X-ray of a patients foot

Broken Ankle

A broken ankle is actually a fracture of one of multiple bones that make up the ankle joint: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The break can be caused by any number of different traumas including automobile accidents, twists, falls, and workplace accidents.

Symptoms include severe pain and an inability to bear weight on the affected foot. Bruising and swelling also occur, and in some cases there may be a visible deformity of the ankle. X-rays and other imaging may be necessary to definitely diagnosis a broken ankle.

An orthopedic surgeon can advise on the best course of treatment. Many ankle fractures can be treated in about six weeks in a cast. In more severe cases, however, surgery is necessary. This usually involves the installation of hardware to fuse the broken bones and hold them in position.

Lisfranc Fracture

A Lisfranc fracture is a fracture and dislocation of the metatarsal bones, located in the midfoot. One or more metatarsals is shifted out of place in relation to the talus, or anklebone. This type of injury is sometimes seen in vehicle accidents but also occurs frequently when a heavy object is dropped onto the midfoot.

It’s very easy to mistake a Lisfranc fracture for a bruise or sprain. If a Lisfranc fracture is suspected, an orthopedic surgeon should be consulted, as these injuries can be difficult to see on X-rays. For injuries where the bones are non-displaced, or still in their proper positions, a few weeks in a cast will usually suffice. Again, more severe cases may require surgery to insert a metal plate with screws or pins to hold it in position.

Frostbite

Frostbite is the result of prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The fingers and toes are especially susceptible. Ice crystals form in the soft tissues, causing damage. Symptoms include itching, pain, and blisters, progressing to numbness and a waxy appearance to the skin.

In mild cases, simply rewarming the toes is sufficient, and there is no permanent damage. However, severe instances may require surgical removal of the dead tissue and even amputation of the toes.

Gangrene

Gangrene is not really an injury in itself but is the result of infection or impaired blood supply. Diabetics are particularly vulnerable and should check their feet daily for wounds or suspicious areas.

Gangrene is dead tissue, usually affecting the toes first and then progressing up the foot. Again, surgical removal of the diseased tissue, along with antibiotics, is often the first line of treatment. In more progressive cases, amputation of the toes or foot may be required.