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3 Signs It’s Time to Visit an Orthopedic Specialist

When it comes to seeking out treatment for unusual pain or changes in the body, many individuals can be slow on the uptake, particularly if the pain they’re experiencing is mild, intermittently experienced or the result of unknown factors. Consequently, in cases where individuals could benefit from visiting a knee pain doctor or orthopedic specialist in Green Bay, Appleton, or Oshkosh sooner rather than later, most end up waiting until their symptoms have advanced to the point of severe pain or begin to seriously affect their quality of life.

However, even small symptoms such as muscle pain, stiffness and general discomfort can hint at larger problems within the body. As people age, it becomes increasingly important to note changes in the way their body functions, as conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and degenerative diseases of the bones and muscles can arise. Early detection can help slow their effects and ensure specialists have ample time to put preventative measures into practice.

Although regular doctor visits are useful for helping to detect early signs of disease and degeneration within the bones and muscles, many patients remain hesitant to contact their doctor about knee pain and sore muscles. Read on to learn 3 signs it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist and why it can be detrimental to wait.

After an Injury

Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and even tendonitis are among the most common types of injuries to the muscles and are easily sustained as a result of sports, physical exercise and even from a simple fall. Although these types of injuries require extra care to ensure they heal correctly, they don’t necessarily indicate a serious condition. However, if an individual has recently sustained a direct injury or experienced a more serious soft-tissue injury such as a torn or ruptured tendon, any pain or unusual symptoms should be treated with an extra degree of caution.

Visiting a specialist after sustaining an injury can help ensure a patient receives the treatment they need to aid in their recovery and prevents other serious conditions from developing. Because the body’s muscles and bones work in tandem, any injury that throws off its regular functions can cause stress to other areas, and has the potential to cause additional injury.

Following a Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative disease that attacks the joint cartilage and underlying bone. The most common form of arthritis, particularly in individuals over the age of 60, early symptoms of Osteoarthritis include joint pain and stiffness and may only appear following exercise or physical activity. Over time, symptoms become progressively worse and may become chronic, including swelling of the joints, decreased mobility and range of motion and numbness in the limbs.

Although Osteoarthritis can affect any joints in the body, those that have been previously injured are most susceptible to showing early signs of the disease. Consequently, individuals who have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis should prioritize visiting a knee pain doctor, specialist, or orthopedic surgeon to determine a course of treatment and implement preventative measures to manage the progression of the disease.

Treatment for osteoarthritis often includes exercise and therapy, in addition to measures such as the use of a cane or rest to decrease stress on the joints and medication to manage discomfort. Depending on the disease’s progression, long term patients may be considered for joint replacement surgery. Although not a permanent cure, artificial joints typically last 10-15 years.

In the Event of Acute Radiating Pain

Although most pain and discomfort associated with muscle and bones begins slowly overtime, anytime an individual experiences acute pain should be a cause for immediate concern. Pain that is sharp, aching or burning and carries the sensation of radiating outwards should warrant an immediate visit to orthopedics, and could indicate a pinched nerve.

Often accompanied by the feeling of numbness or decreased sensation in the affected area, pinched nerves can happen at a number of areas throughout the body, including: the back, neck, arms, wrists, hands and elbows. A potentially serious condition, pinched nerves can cause damage to the body ranging from minor to severe and can cause long-lasting problems if left untreated. Consequently, any sensation of acute or radiating pain could should be cause to seek immediate treatment to prevent the condition from worsening.

Resulting from compression on a nerve by surrounding tissues such as cartilage, bones, muscles, and tendons pinched nerves are the result of this pressure disrupting the nerve’s normal functions. While most pinched nerves will improve with rest and conservative treatments, in severe cases surgery may be required to relieve pain and repair damage to the nerve.

Although many individuals are hesitant to seek help from their doctor, experiencing pain and discomforting sensations should never go ignored, particularly if the signs and symptoms aren’t responsive to over-the-counter pain relief and rest. Though it may be tempting to sweep mild symptoms such as aches and pains under the rug, delaying treatment, particularly when it comes to issues affecting the muscles and bones can have serious ramifications on an individual’s health.

Preventative measures such as exercise and treatment plans designed by knee pain doctors and orthopedic surgeons are essential to managing painful symptoms and the progression of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. As individuals age it is thus increasingly important to note changes in the body’s function in order to identify emerging patterns and treat them accordingly. Consequently, all symptoms are worth noting, no matter how mild or infrequently they may appear. Although some symptoms can wait to be discussed during a typical doctor’s visit, the instances outlined above require immediate treatment and should never be put off for a later date.

When You Are Ready

Request a consultation with one of the hip and knee specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online. Do your homework, talk to friends and family members, neighbors and colleagues to identify avenues applicable to you.

OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries. OSI has outreach clinics in Green Bay, New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location at 600 N. Koeller Street in Oshkosh.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.