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Best Physical Therapy's Health Information Library

Here, we have gathered health articles on almost every major subject in healthcare. Please explore, enjoy, and share this free resource provided by Best Physical Therapy

Knee Injuries and Disorders

Your knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you have knee problems. Knee problems can cause pain and difficulty walking.

Knee problems are very common, and they occur in people of all ages. Knee problems can interfere with many things, from participation in sports to simply getting up from a chair and walking. This can have a big impact on your life.

The most common disease affecting the knee is osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, causing pain and swelling.

Injuries to ligaments and tendons also cause knee problems. A common injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). You usually injure your ACL by a sudden twisting motion. ACL and other knee injuries are common sports injuries.

Treatment of knee problems depends on the cause. In some cases your doctor may recommend knee replacement.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Sports Injuries

Exercising is good for you, but sometimes you can injure yourself when you play sports or exercise. Accidents, poor training practices, or improper gear can cause them. Some people get hurt because they are not in shape. Not warming up or stretching enough can also lead to injuries.

The most common sports injuries are

  • Sprains and strains
  • Knee injuries
  • Swollen muscles
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Pain along the shin bone
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

If you get hurt, stop playing. Continuing to play or exercise can cause more harm. Treatment often begins with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Other possible treatments include pain relievers, keeping the injured area from moving, rehabilitation, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Leg Injuries and Disorders

Your legs are made up of bones, blood vessels, muscles, and other connective tissue. They are important for motion and standing. Playing sports, running, falling, or having an accident can damage your legs. Common leg injuries include sprains and strains, joint dislocations, and fractures (broken bones).

These injuries can affect the entire leg, or just the foot, ankle, knee, or hip. Certain diseases also lead to leg problems. For example, knee osteoarthritis, common in older people, can cause pain and limited motion. Problems in your veins in your legs can lead to varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis.

Joint Disorders

A joint is where two or more bones come together, like the knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder. Joints can be damaged by many types of injuries or diseases, including

  • Arthritis - inflammation of a joint. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Over time, the joint can become severely damaged.
  • Bursitis - inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint
  • Dislocations - injuries that force the ends of the bones out of position

Treatment of joint problems depends on the cause. If you have a sports injury, treatment often begins with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Other possible treatments include pain relievers, keeping the injured area from moving, rehabilitation, and sometimes surgery. For arthritis, injuries, or other diseases, you may need joint replacement surgery to remove the damaged joint and put in a new one.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Paget's Disease of Bone

What is Paget's disease of bone?

Paget's disease of bone is a chronic bone disorder. Normally, there is a process in which your bones break down and then regrow. In Paget's disease, this process is abnormal. There is excessive breakdown and regrowth of bone. Because the bones regrow too quickly, they are bigger and softer than normal. They may be misshapen and easily fractured (broken). Paget's usually affects just one or a few bones.

What causes Paget's disease of bone?

Researchers do not know for sure what causes Paget's disease. Environmental factors may play a role. In some cases, the disease runs in families, and several genes have been linked to the disease.

Who is at risk for Paget's disease of bone?

The disease is more common in older people and those of northern European heritage. If you have a close relative who has Paget's, you are much more likely to have it.

What are the symptoms of Paget's disease of bone?

Many people do not know that they have Paget's, because it often has no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they are similar to those of arthritis and other disorders. The symptoms include

  • Pain, which may be due to the disease or to arthritis, which can be a complication of Paget's
  • Headaches and hearing loss, which can happen when Paget's disease affects the skull
  • Pressure on the nerves, which can happen when Paget's disease affects the skull or spine
  • Increased head size, bowing of a limb, or curvature of the spine. This can happen in advanced cases.
  • Hip pain, if Paget's disease affects the pelvis or thighbone
  • Damage to the cartilage of your joints, which may lead to arthritis

Usually, Paget's disease gets worse slowly over time. It does not spread to normal bones.

What other problems can Paget's disease of bone cause?

Paget's disease can lead to other complications, such as

  • Arthritis, because the misshapen bones can cause increased pressure and more wear and tear on the joints
  • Heart failure. In severe Paget's disease, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to affected bones. Heart failure is more likely if you also have hardening of the arteries.
  • Kidney stones, which can happen when the excessive breakdown of the bone leads to extra calcium in the body
  • Nervous system problems, since the bones can cause pressure on the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. There may also be reduced blood flow to the brain and spinal cord.
  • Osteosarcoma, cancer of the bone
  • Loose teeth, if Paget's disease affects the facial bones
  • Vision loss, if Paget's disease in the skull affects the nerves. This is rare.
How is Paget's disease of bone diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
  • A physical exam
  • An x-ray of the affected bones. Paget's disease is almost always diagnosed using x-rays.
  • An alkaline phosphatase blood test
  • A bone scan

Sometimes the disease is found by accident when one of these tests is done for another reason.

What are the treatments for Paget's disease of bone?

To avoid complications, it is important to find and treat Paget's disease early. The treatments include

  • Medicines. There are several different medicines to treat Paget's disease. The most common type is bisphosphonates. They help reduce bone pain and stop or slow down the progress of the disease.
  • Surgery is sometimes needed for certain complications of the disease. There are surgeries to
    • Allow fractures (broken bones) to heal in a better position
    • Replace joints such as the knee and hip when there is severe arthritis
    • Realign a deformed bone to reduce the pain in weight-bearing joints, especially the knees
    • Reduce pressure on a nerve, if enlargement of the skull or spine injuries effects the nervous system

Diet and exercise do not treat Paget's, but they can help to keep your skeleton healthy. If you do not have kidney stones, you should make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet and supplements. Besides keeping your skeleton healthy, exercise can prevent weight gain and maintain the mobility of your joints. Talk with your health care provider before you start a new exercise program. You need to make sure that the exercise does not put too much stress on the affected bones.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases