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The Truth About Orthopaedic Myths

The Truth About Orthopaedic Myths

DR. ALEJANDRO BADIAAs a long-standing member of the Doral Business Council, I am always enthusiastic about attending DBC functions and meeting new people. Sometimes I’m asked if I can debunk a myth or two. Here are some of the most commonly heard orthopaedic myths:

Myth: Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by using a computer.

Truth: Pressure on the medial nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This pressure can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. Things that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome include hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, obesity, wrist injuries and bone spurs and smoking because it can reduce blood flow to the medial nerve. Patients should see an orthopedic specialist if they experience tingling, weakness, or pain in their fingers or hand that keeps coming back or that has not gone away after two weeks of home treatment.

Myth: Tennis or golfer’s elbow is due to those sporting activities.

Truth: “Tennis elbow” is a common term for a condition caused by overuse of arm, forearm, and hand muscles that result in elbow pain. You don’t have to play tennis to get this but the term came into use because it can be a significant problem for some tennis players. Another common term, “golfer’s elbow,” refers to the same process occurring on the inside of the elbow — what your doctor may call medical epicondylitis. Overuse injury can also affect the back or posterior part of the elbow.

Myth: If you can move a body part, you do not have a fracture.

Truth: Osteoporosis, poor nutrition, participation in sports, advanced age, being postmenopausal and decreased muscle mass increases risk of a fracture. Many times the patient can move the area where the fracture occurred. Lack of movement does not mean that a fracture has not occurred. Evaluation must be obtained including a physical exam, x-rays and a discussion on how the injury occurred. In a limited number of cases, your doctor may order CT scans.

Myth: Cracking knuckles causes arthritis.

Truth: “Cracking joints” and “popping knuckles” are an interesting but poorly understood phenomenon. There are many theories as to why joints crack or pop, but the exact cause is simply unknown. Knuckle “cracking” has not been shown to be harmful nor beneficial. More specifically, knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis; however, there have been anecdotal reports of cartilage injury due to this vigorous activity.

Myth: Both heat and ice should be used immediately following an injury.

Truth: Ice should be used after an injury in order to reduce inflammation and inhibit pain. Heat should be used prior to exercise to warm and stretch injured soft tissues. However, both ice and heat have similar effects in helping improve blood supply to the injured area by slightly different mechanisms, as suggested by Dr. Tarik Husain, a board-certified Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoNOW.

OrthoNOW is South Florida’s only Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center. The Center is a walk-in care clinic located in Doral, Florida with 15 specialists on staff that treat broken bones, sprains, torn ligaments and muscles, cuts, sports, and workers’ compensation injuries. OrthoNOW has an in-house digital X-ray, MRI, ARP Wave, on-site operating rooms and provides follow up care, and rehabilitation. OrthoNOW accepts most major insurance, has extended weekend hours and no appointment is necessary. For more information visit <www.orthonowcare. com> or at 305-537-7272.

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