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Accurately Diagnosing Knee Pain


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Besides back pain, knee pain is one of the most common issues that most athletes face. It can come out of nowhere, and be excruciating, and many times will need a qualified Arizona orthopedic surgeon to determine the root cause. Because the knee is such a crucial joint in the body, taking on a lot of pressure and use every single day, it’s imperative that you get the proper diagnosis directed at the exact cause of the pain, and implement the best treatment options, even it that means orthopedic surgery.

Common Knee Problems

Accurately diagnosing knee problems can literally mean the difference between a lifetime of pain and suffering, and a lifetime of activities and comfort. It takes a skilled, experience Arizona orthopedic surgeon to determine the issue behind the pain – the true source of what is causing all of the suffering. Dr. Martin, a highly recognized Arizona orthopedic surgeon, is just the man for the job.

As team doctor for the Arizona Rattlers, Dr. Martin understands knee pain like few other orthopedic surgeons in Arizona. In his opinion, some of the most common issues behind knee pain are the following:

  • Dislocated Kneecap – though most often suffered by Arizona athletes, a dislocated kneecap can be excruciatingly painful, and if not diagnosed properly can lead to a lifetime of knee problems. This type of  injury is fairly easy to diagnose, however proper treatment of the exact type of dislocation by an experienced Arizona orthopedic surgeon will keep your knee fresh for many years to come.
  • Torn Ligaments – the knee consists of three main ligaments that hold everything together. The three ligaments that are quite commonly injured by athletes are the Medial Collateral Ligament, Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament. All three can be stretched, sprain and torn. The proper diagnosis by an experienced Arizona orthopedic surgeon is paramount.
  • Cartilage Injuries – cartilage tears are quite common in both athletes and weekend warriors. The meniscus is made of cartilage and function to distribute body weight across the joints. A meniscus tear is commonly cause by trauma to the area, or from degeneration. It’s an injury suffered by all ages, and in order to accurately treat whether it’s a tear or arthritis, it’s important to sit down with an Arizona orthopedic surgeon.
  • Bursitis – If you kneel for work, are a carpenter, landscaper or gardener, this injury is quite common to your industry. This type of injury is caused by frequent pressure, force trauma, or a bacterial infection.

Of course, there’s always breaks and sprains that are associated with the knee, as well as inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis) and many other conditions associated with knee pain. This intricate and important part of the body has many functions and many facets, so it’s important that if you’re feeling knee pain you contact Arizona’s best orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shelden Martin, today.

What is the Recovery Time for a Torn ACL?

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With the NBA playoffs in full swing, many in the Arizona sports medicine world are wondering where Derrick Rose is. Why isn’t Derrick Rose back on the court yet? How bad was his ACL injury, and what is taking his ACL surgery recovery so long? In sports medicine, one of our main focuses in Arizona is prevention, however treatment and recovery are also a large part of what we do. And in the recovery phase, it’s most often the patient’s body that dictates the length of time.

Derrick Rose and ACL Surgery

In April of 2012, Derrick Rose, a Chicago Bulls strong forward with amazing skills that led him to a Most Valuable Player award, tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and underwent surgery. Surgery went as planned, physical therapy ensued and his sports medicine doctors cleared him to play. So, why isn’t he playing?

Rose told ESPN that “he didn’t have the muscle memory and was still thinking instead of reacting.” Could it be that, although his physicians have cleared him to play, his muscles are not ready? Just this week, the Chicago Bulls lost their final game in the NBA Playoffs, and many fans are left to question if the return of Rose could have prevented this playoff elimination.

Torn ACL Surgery Recovery Time

Speaking as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, a torn anterior cruciate ligament is a common sports injury occurring within the knee quite often from a sudden stop or change in direction. The torn ACL will immediately swell, feel unstable and become awfully painful. Many times you’ll see NBA players fall to the floor in agony after suffering a torn ACL.

Depending on the severity of the torn ACL, the Arizona athlete could require invasive treatment, surgery, physical therapy, and can expect a long recovery. It is expected that nearly 200,000 people will suffer from an ACL injury in 2013 alone.

Orthopedic surgery on a torn ACL in Arizona could mean a tendon graft to replace the torn pieces of tendon. New techniques such as anteromedial drilling can replace torn tendon in a far more efficient manner, allowing the knee to move more naturally and thus limiting the risks for a torn ACL in the future.

Arizona rehabilitation and physical therapy will include range-of-motion exercises and muscle-strengthening and stability exercises. After an Arizona orthopedic surgeon attaches the ligaments and tendons, you can expect a 4 to 6 month recovery time.

So why isn’t Derrick Rose back in the game? As an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, I see many reasons why Rose has not made it back onto the court, many of which are due to continued physical ailments. While many fans see Rose’s refusal to hit the court a mental thing fueled by fear, however as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon we know that a variety of physical ailments might still be plaguing him.

After ACL surgery, problems related to the affected area can still occur, including limited range of motion, numbness and pain, grating of the kneecap, muscle loss, muscle stiffness, and a higher risk for repeat ACL tear. In the case of a professional NBA player, this physical ailments, though they might not affect a non-athlete, can greatly affect things like Rose’s shot, his ability to move on the court, his rebound abilities, even his reaction time.

As an Arizona orthopedic surgeon who has surgically treated many ACL tears, it’s understandable that Rose did not make it back onto the court. With so many factors playing into his decision, it’s time to respect his choice.