Frequently Asked Questions


What is osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in joints. Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It is associated with a breakdown of cartilage in joints. Any joints in the body may be affected, but it most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, shoulders and spine.


What is arthroplasty?

Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to treat a malformed or degenerated joint. Total hip and knee replacements are common arthroplasty procedures.


What is arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure using several small incisions to treat common problems that affect joints. It can aid in both diagnosis and treatment of common conditions such as meniscal tears, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears or rotator cuff tears/impingement.


What is a torn ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. It is located in the center of the knee and is commonly injured with sports or other physical activity. Associated injuries to other ligaments, meniscus or articular cartilage may be present. Less active patients may be treated without surgery, however, many active patients will require a reconstructive procedure.


What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve within the wrist. As the nerve travels through the carpal tunnel, compression of this nerve by the transverse carpal ligament can result in wrist pain, numbness and hand tingling, weakness in grip and a feeling of incoordination or clumsiness.


What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis results from inflammation of the extensor carpi radialis brevis at the lateral aspect of the elbow. It may be caused by a sudden injury such as a blow or by repetitive use of the arm in an activity like tennis or other sports.


What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. There is a misconception that the pain is a result of a heel spur. However, inflammation in the tissue at the heel (plantar fascia) is usually responsible and may be treated with stretching. Other treatments are available for those who don’t improve with physical therapy. It is common in several categories of people, including runners and other athletes, people who have jobs that require a fair amount of walking or standing on a hard surface, and in some cases, it is seen in people who have put on weight, as through pregnancy.


What is a rotator cuff tear?

The rotator cuff is composed of four tendons that control motion and strength of the shoulder with throwing and other reaching and twisting motions. A rotator cuff tear is when the tendon is either partially torn or completely torn. A rotator cuff tear may occur during falls or develop gradually. People with a rotator cuff tear may complain of constant pain, muscle weakness, limited motion or a catching or cracking sound when the arm is moved. Depending on the size, depth and location of the tear, surgery may be needed.


What is a shoulder dislocation?

Shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This may be caused by trauma and may lead to tearing of stabilizing structures of the shoulder, or it may be due to the natural laxity of the stabilizing ligament around the shoulder. Many factors, including failure to respond to therapy, recurrent dislocation and patient activity level need to be considered when formulating a treatment plan which may include physical therapy or surgical reconstruction.


What is rotator cuff tendinitis?

Rotator cuff tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder. This can occur in sports or activities requiring repetition or overhead motions. Symptoms include pain associated with arm movement, pain in the shoulder at night and/or weakness with raising the arm above the head. It is important for your doctor to differentiate this condition from a cuff tear.


What is a meniscal tear?

The meniscus is a cartilage that is located in the knee. Its function is to act as a shock absorber within the knee. Damage of the meniscus can result from an injury or from “wear and tear”. Pain can occur if the torn piece begins to move in an abnormal fashion inside the joint. This causes inflammation and pain within the knee. Occasionally the knee will lock where you cannot straighten or bend it.


What is a trigger finger?

Triggering of a finger occurs when the tendon that closes the finger becomes irritated and thickened. Symptoms may include the presence of a small lump, pain in the palm, swelling and a popping sensation in the finger or thumb joints.


What is a labral tear?

The labrum is a thick cartilage tissue that helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. Tears can occur as a result of an injury or as part of the normal aging process. Common injuries include shoulder dislocation that can damage the anterior/inferior labrum (Bankart lesion) and traction injuries such as a throwing or a sudden pulling injury to the arm that can damage the superior labrum (SLAP tear).


What is bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection or underlying rheumatic condition such as gout.