Ouch! What’s going on with my elbow?

You are used to doing everything you want to do. Lately, though, just picking up a gallon of milk with your right hand hurts so much it almost makes you cry. You made an appointment with your primary care provider, who thinks you are developing osteoarthritis in that elbow. She referred you to us, the Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine Center.

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After hearing your story, reading your history and reviewing some plain x-rays your PCP had obtained, one of the tools our board-certified surgeons may use to both diagnose and treat your elbow pain and dysfunction is elbow arthroscopy.

What is Elbow Arthroscopy?

The elbow, like all the joints of the human body, is a truly amazing anatomical structure. Through small spaces between the bones pass all of the nerves and blood supply for your hand. In addition to the pain symptoms you are currently experiencing, problems in the elbow can cause pain, numbness and weakness to everything past the elbow – your forearm and hand. Compromised blood flow from the elbow to the hand can cause even more serious symptoms.

Arthroscopy is ideally suited to examine the elbow. Instead of a large, open surgical procedure, one or more tiny incisions are made in the elbow to pass a small fiber-optic camera and various small instruments into the elbow space to both diagnose and potentially treat your pain.

While the x-rays your PCP ordered rule out obvious fractures, elbow arthroscopy can also treat arthritis, loose bodies in the elbow, stiffness, tennis elbow and many other conditions of the elbow.

Because arthroscopy does not use large incisions, less soft tissue has to heal, leading to less post-operative pain and speedier recovery times.

To set up an appointment, please contact us. There’s no need to put up with the pain and limitations! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Hip Arthroscopy Recovery Tips

How to Boost Your Recovery after Hip Arthroscopy

Having hip arthroscopy is scary when you do not know what to expect afterwards. Science has found that psychological stress is detrimental to the body’s healing process and can prolong your recuperation. Learning how to prepare for the typical recovery period before your scheduled surgery will help ease your mind and give you time to make arrangements for the necessary post-procedural support. These are all great questions to explore with Dr. Irvine before you have hip arthroscopy:

  • How long will you experience pain during your recovery? Recovery from joint surgery is different for each person. It is not unusual to experience pain and soreness for 3-6 months after the procedure. Talk with Dr. Irvine about pain control methods that will work best for you. Keeping on top of your pain levels reduces your psychological stress and aids in your healing process.
  • Will you need to use a walker, crutches, or a cane? Crutches are used for the first 2 weeks (possibly up to 6 weeks) after the procedure so that you are not placing weight on the affected side.
  • Will you need to stay at an inpatient rehabilitation facility afterwards? Typically this is not the case, however, inpatient rehabilitation may be required in rare instances and Dr. Irvine can address this with you.
  • When should you expect to start physical therapy? A post-operative appointment is scheduled about a week after the surgery to remove any stitches and check on your progress. During this visit Dr. Irvine will assess if you are ready to begin physical therapy, which often begins the following week.
  • How long does physical therapy usually last? The usual course of physical therapy is 2-6 weeks, though this varies from patient to patient.
  • Who will help you at home and transport you to your appointments? Enlist a friend or family member to stay with you for at least the first few days after the procedure. You will need assistance with activities of daily living, such as preparing food, toileting, and bathing. If you anticipate needing additional help, you may wish to arrange for visits from a home healthcare service.
  • When will you be able to start driving again? You may be able to drive as soon as a week after the surgery if Dr. Irvine clears you to drive at your initial post-operative appointment. Talk with Dr. Irvine to find out what criteria is used to determine when you will be ready to drive again.

At Missouri Orthopedics, we strive to help you achieve your mobility goals so you can get back to the activities you enjoy. Please contact us to find out how we can serve your physical rehabilitation and orthopedic needs in the Greater St. Louis area.

Knee Arthroscopy: Your First Step to Minimize Your Time on the Sidelines!

Your knee hurts. Maybe it’s been building slowly to this point, or maybe you know exactly when it happened. Maybe it’s a dull ache; maybe it’s a sharp pain that makes everyday activities unbearable. In any case, when you are tired of the pain impacting your performance, it is time to consult a professional like Dr. Irvine.

One of the most common methods of diagnosing knee pain is knee arthroscopy. With this procedure, several small incisions are made on and around your knee and a small high-resolution camera is used to view the joint. Arthroscopy can also help your doctor repair your knee, as the other incisions are used to insert small instruments to remove or repair damaged tissue.

The procedure can be performed under either local, regional or general anesthesia, and is commonly performed in a matter of hours as an outpatient procedure, so no overnight hospital stays are usually required.

While recovery time depends on a number of factors, typical recovery time from arthroscopic knee surgery is 4-6 weeks, which is generally much faster than the time required to recover from open knee surgery. Of course, your results will largely depend on your willingness and ability to be an active participant by following your doctor’s instructions for post-surgery care and adhering to your prescribed physical therapy regimen.

No procedure is guaranteed to alleviate knee pain, and it is important for your doctor to evaluate your symptoms and medical history before determining whether you are a candidate for knee arthroscopy.

For more information about knee arthroscopy, or to schedule an appointment, contact us to take the first step to getting off the sidelines and back into the game.