The joints of your lower body bear much of your weight. Your hips and knees are critical for mobility. Any unresolved pain in these joints can impact your quality of life and even limit your range of motion. Many conditions can cause hip and knee pain, so it is vital to work with your doctor to facilitate diagnosis and receive the correct treatment. Your doctor relies on several methods to help determine the medical interventions you’ll need for joint pain relief.
It can be difficult to differentiate between everyday aches and severe joint conditions. However, some symptoms warrant an urgent visit to your doctor.
Visual deformities in your joint after an injury requires immediate medical attention to minimize damage. Intense escalations in symptoms such as pain or swelling are also red flags. If your condition prevents you from moving your knees and hip or bearing weight on them, you should visit your doctor. Finally, if your symptoms are accompanied by a fever or other signs of infection, you need medical intervention immediately.
Acting promptly on these warning signs can help you get treated as soon as possible, preventing your condition from worsening. Early treatment minimizes damage to your joints and can improve your overall prognosis.
Your doctor will run a series of diagnostic tests to investigate the condition of your joints. These tests will give your orthopedic doctor information about the functionality and condition of various aspects of your joints.
The diagnostic process starts with your doctor’s appointment. Through visual inspection, your doctor can see if you have the classic signs of inflammation: swelling, tenderness, warmth, and pain. They will also investigate if there is any bruising, which is more common in traumatic injuries.
Your orthopedic doctor may also perform mobility tests by moving your legs in different directions. This process helps them assess your range of motion, which can indicate the progression of your illness. They may also push or pull on your hips and knees to confirm the integrity of your joints.
Several imaging techniques help investigate the internal structures of your joints. Determining the location of damaged and diseased tissue will help direct your doctor to the correct treatments.
An X-ray is an appropriate first-line diagnostic test, given its simplicity. This test allows doctors to check the integrity of your bones and cartilage. Fractures and signs of degenerative joint disease show up well in X-ray scans.
A more intensive version of an X-ray procedure would be a computerized tomography (CT) scan, which uses multiple scans to create cross-sectional images. This procedure allows doctors to identify issues with your bones more accurately. A CT scan can also better visualize soft tissues such as muscles and connective tissues. A specialized version of the CT scan can help identify gout.
You may also undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses strong magnets and radio waves to generate 3D images of joints. MRI scans are best for visualizing soft tissues. Your doctor will use this to check for issues with tendons or ligaments.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure where a specialized tube called an arthroscope is placed inside the joint through a small incision. The arthroscope allows doctors to visualize the interior of your joints directly. Arthroscopy can detect changes in your joints and other problems resulting from arthritis.
Aside from your current symptoms, your doctor will consider any risk factors that warrant different treatment approaches. For instance, being overweight or obese can increase the prevalence and severity of hip or knee pain. The added weight increases the load that your joints have to bear. In this case, your doctor might recommend a weight loss program alongside other treatments.
Women nearing menopause have a heightened risk of joint problems. As estrogen levels drop, your bones become less able to store calcium. The drop in calcium levels makes bones more vulnerable to injuries and degenerative conditions. Your doctor might recommend dietary changes and medications to assist in mineral absorption.
Having a family history of joint diseases, as well as a personal history of significant injuries to your knees or hips, also increases your risk of developing a chronic joint condition.
Orthopedic Care In South Florida
Your doctor relies on a wide range of information to assess your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment. From the results of medical consultations and diagnostic tests to the presence of warning signs and risk factors, these sources of information help determine a diagnosis and the best treatment options for you. To ensure the best outcomes, you should work with competent orthopedists who can use all the available information to devise a comprehensive treatment plan for you.
Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery is located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We specialize in general orthopedic conditions and acute injuries. Our team uses thorough diagnostics to prescribe effective treatment plans for patients. We excel in both surgical and non-surgical interventions to help you get back to living your life. Call us at (954) 324-7711 or use our online appointment form to learn more about our services!