Joints and bones. They’re really great when they work well and can cause a world of hurt when they don’t. When do you know you need an orthopedic or sports medicine professional, and where do you go? The professionals at Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine are here to bust a few myths about orthopedic care, offering answers to some of the most common questions that arise with joint, bone, and soft tissue injuries and disorders, backed by a combined four decades of expertise among the surgeons.
Myth #1 – Surgery is the first and only option
The most experienced orthopedic physicians will always do a full exam of each patient to determine the best course of action to treat knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, and other injuries, and should always recommend the least invasive course of treatment first.
Drs. Keith Pitchford and Richard McClain are joint surgery experts, but have built a comprehensive practice that can help a patient through their joint injuries or condition at whatever point they are in their journey to healing. That means the physicians may first recommend physical or occupational therapy to improve mobility and decrease pain. Other non-surgical options could include cortisone or steroid injections and other pain relief techniques.
The ultimate goal is to help patients live their highest quality of life with their own natural joints for as long as they can. When surgery is needed, Dr. Pitchford and McClain use the most advanced technology, supported by a full recovery plan with specialists who help patients get right back to their normal way of life.
Myth #2 – Joint replacement surgery requires long hospital stays and months of recovery
While every patient’s situation is different, modern medicine has quickly evolved in the last two decades to dramatically reduce the amount of time a patient spends in acute care for hip, knee, shoulder, ankle, and elbow surgery. In many cases, knee and hip replacements, for example, can be done in a same-day surgery procedure, and the patient is up and walking, albeit carefully, before heading home for the evening. Then, they follow up with a few weeks of comprehensive physical or occupational therapy.
“Therapy is an extremely important step in the recovery of joint surgery, and should never be skipped or shortened,” Pitchford said. “Even when patients start to feel better and might feel like they don’t have to go any more, they should continue the regimen so all the bone and tissues can heal properly. Our happiest patients are those who recover fully, and are back to their normal way of life, pain free and with increased mobility.”
Myth #3 – Orthopedic specialists only work on athletes
While sports medicine is a large component of Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine care, the surgeons and physician assistants, as well as the therapy team, offer bone, joint, and soft tissue care to patients of all ages and demographics. Whether it’s the typical arthritic knee or hip as patients approach their golden years, or a common childhood fracture from hard playing outside, the professionals at Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine care for the entire spectrum of the community.
Myth #4 – A podiatrist only handles diabetic foot issues
The foot and ankle are two of the most well-used parts of the boy, enduring more than 145,000 miles of walking in an average person’s lifetime. So it’s no surprise that they are also some of the most commonly injured parts of the body as well. While Podiatrist Natasha Mandula at Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine definitely provides care for individuals with diabetes who are at increased risk for poor circulation and foot ulcers, she also has expertise in all areas of foot and ankle care, including surgical repair. Did you know that the foot alone contains 25 bones supported by a vast network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments? Backed by the expert therapy team at Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Mandula takes that same conservative approach to foot and ankle care, working with patients on custom treatment plans to alleviate pain non-surgically whenever possible, and helping them through some of life’s most common – yet most painful – foot and ankle conditions with surgery when needed.
If you have other preconceived notions about the kinds of care offered at Great Lakes Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, visit them online at http://www.glorthopedics.com/ and bust a few myths of your own! The practice has offices in both Crown Point and Lowell.