At Arthritis and Sports, we strongly believe in serving our patients from injury to rehabilitation. Browse the questions below and find answers to our most common questions regarding orthopaedics, our specialties, and treatment options.
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General Orthopaedic Questions
What is orthopaedics?
Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body's musculoskeletal system. This complex system includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves and allows you to move, work, and be active.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint that leads to the destruction of healthy joint cartilage. There are various forms of arthritis such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis, just to name a few. Osteoarthritis, for example, occurs when the smooth covering of the end of bones (known as articular cartilage) gets damaged or worn through wear and tear or trauma. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that results in the inflammation and eventual destruction of the joint surfaces, including the cartilage. Symptoms of arthritis often include joint pain, swelling, stiffness and immobility. Treatments for arthritis vary depending on their underlying cause, severity of the disease and impact on an individual’s activities of daily living. For more information on arthritis and its treatment, click here.
What is articular cartilage?
Articular cartilage is flexible connective tissue located at the end of bones that protects joints and facilitates motion.
What is the difference between a tendon and a ligament?
A tendon is a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. A ligament is an elastic tissue that connects one bone to another.
What is the different between tendonitis and tendinosis?
Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon that results in very small micro-tears of the tendon as a result of the tendon being overloaded secondary to an acute injury. Tendinosis refers to the degeneration of a tendon’s collagen (the main structural component of tendons) over time due to chronic overuse. Treatment for tendonitis is aimed at reducing inflammation with anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Motrin, etc.). For tendinosis, the goal is to avoid the aggravating activities to allow the tendon to heal, maintain proper ergonomics and biomechanics, and allow the tendon to regain is tensile strength through stretching and physical therapy.
What is bursitis?
A bursae is a small, fluid-filled sac that is located between bones and soft tissues. Bursae are located throughout the body including the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and heel. . Their purpose is to decreased friction and act as cushioning between these structures. Bursitis is the inflammation or irritation of the bursae, caused by either small and repetitive stresses (overuse) or trauma. Common activities that often trigger bursitis include running, stair climbing, cycling, or prolonged walking and standing.
What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
A sprain is a stretch and/or a tear of a ligament. Sprains are typically graded based on their severity. For example, a grade 1 sprain refers to slight stretching of the ligament while grade 2 and grade 3 sprains refer to partial tearing or complete tear of a ligament respectively. A strain, on the other hand, is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Common treatment for sprains and strains involve rest, icing, compression and elevation (RICE).
What is the difference between a "break" in a bone and a "fracture"?
Nothing! A “fracture” is the medical term for a broken bone.
What is an orthopaedic doctor?
An orthopedic doctor, also known as an orthopedist, is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO) who specializes in the musculoskeletal system – bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. While orthopaedic surgeons are familiar with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, many orthopedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, shoulder, spine, hip or knee. They may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma or sports medicine. Some orthopaedic surgeons may specialize in several areas, such as our doctors. To read about their specialties, click here.
What is Sports Medicine?
A sports medicine orthopedist is a fellowship-trained physician that specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries related to sports or other physical activities. These injuries can be from acute trauma or from chronic overuse. For more information on sports medicine, click here.
What is Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R)?
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, or Physiatry, is a branch of medicine that focuses on restoring body functions lost from injury, illness, or disabling conditions. This specialty deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving the Musculoskeletal, Central, and Peripheral Nervous systems. Due to the holistic approach employed by Physiatrists, they are able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments manifesting as musculoskeletal and or neurological complaints. For more information on physiatry, click here.
What is Podiatry?
Podiatry is a medical specialty focusing on conditions related to the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. One who practices in Podiatry is known as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Podiatric physicians or podiatric surgeons can specialize in many different areas including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care. For more information on Podiatry, click here.
What are physician assistants?
Physician Assistants (PAs) are mid-level medical providers who are nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine. In Orthopedics, PAs are highly utilized both in the clinical setting and in the operating room. In the clinical setting, PAs are capable of diagnosing and treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions under the supervision of the physicians. Services provided by PAs include ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions, prescribing medications and other treatments; counseling and educating patients on disease prevention. At Arthritis & Sports, PAs see anything from New Patient encounters to follow-ups to both pre and post-operative visits. In the OR, they serve as first assistants to the orthopedic surgeon providing valuable assistance during the peri-operative period. Studies have identified high-quality care with physician-PA teams and have shown that the quality of care provided by PAs is comparable to that of physicians, that PAs enhance care coordination, and that PAs are proven to elevate health outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. For more information regarding PAs, click here. To read about each of our PAs, click here.
What are nurse practitioners?
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are mid-level medical providers who are nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine. They can practice autonomously (without physician supervision) depending on the state in which they practice. NPs can be found in many medical specialties including Orthopedics. Like PA’s, services provided by NPs include ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions, prescribing medications and other treatments; counseling and educating patients on disease prevention. To read about our Nurse Practitioner, click here.
Tests & Treatments
What is a DEXA scan?
A DEXA scan (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) is a test that measures the amount of bone in your hip, spine or sometimes the forearm. The results will tell if you have normal bone density, osteopenia or osteoporosis. A DEXA total body composition is a whole body scan that will analyze your total mass, fat mass, lean mass and total percent body fat. For more information on DEXA scans, click here.
What is an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
An MRI uses strong magnets to scan your body and create an image. MRIs may be utilized to visualize bones, joints and soft tissues such as cartilage, muscles and tendons for injuries or structural abnormalities. There is no risk of exposure to ionizing radiation during an MRI as secondary to use of strong magnets. Due to the use of magnets however, patients with implanted devices such as pacemakers or other metallic devices may not be able to undergo an MRI.
What is a CT scan (Computed Tomography scan)?
A CT scan is a diagnostic imaging study that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to develop a 3-D picture of different parts of the body including bones, soft tissues and joints. CT scans assess for damage to bones, soft tissues and joints as well as fractures, lesions and other abnormalities. CT scans do expose patients to radiation thus it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of this diagnostic study with your provider.
What does a cortisone injection do?
Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory medicine (a steroid) that helps reduce or eliminate pain caused by inflammation. Compared the oral administration, cortisone injections can be much more effective and work more quickly when treating tendonitis and joint inflammation. While cortisone may not cure the condition, it may provide temporary relief.
What are NSAIDs and what are they used for?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are medications used most commonly to treat pain and conditions related to inflammation (swelling). They are the most common kind of medication used to treat arthritis, but can also be used in conditions such as bursitis and tendonitis. Examples include Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxsyn (Aleve) and Nabumetone (Relafen). NSAIDs can be found over-the-counter (OTC) or can be given as a prescriptions.
What is electrodiagnostic testing?
Electrodiagnostic testing measures the speed and conduction of nerves and muscles in your body. Nerves and muscles create electrical signals that deliver messages to and from your brain. Injuries or diseases that affect the nerves and muscles can slow or completely halt the movement of these signals. If you have pain, weakness or numbness in your back, neck or hands, performing these tests can help your doctor make a proper diagnosis. Examples of such tests include Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) and Electromyography. For more information on electrodiagnostic testing, click here.
Why would I need a cast or splint?
Casts and splints support and protect injured bones and soft tissue. When a bone is broken, a splint or cast helps hold bones in place and maintain their proper alignment in order to allow proper healing. In some cases, splints and casts are applied following surgery in order to protect the area and allow it to properly heal.
What is the difference between an over-the-counter orthotic and a custom-made orthotic?
Over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics are made to cater to a wider range of people. Some patients may get relief using such OTC devices; however, they are often inadequate in that they do not provide sufficient support, shock absorption, or a proper fit. Custom orthotics are produced specifically for your feet, and can better address the needs of each patient. For more information on orthotics, click here.
What is arthroscopic surgery?
Arthroscopy, which literally means “to look inside a joint”, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to visualize the interior aspect of the joint using very small incisions as opposed to large incisions often need for open surgical procedures. During this procedure, small incisions are made in the skin allowing the surgeon to place a camera into the joint in order to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.
What is arthroplasty?
Total joint replacement, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to restore the integrity and function of a joint. It is performed when an individual’s activities of daily living are severely impacted and more conservative options such as over-the-counter vs. prescription medications (i.e.: NSAIDs), physical therapy, cortisone injections and viscosupplementation (lubricant injections) have failed to alleviate pain, stiffness, or immobility caused by damaged joint cartilage. Depending on the joint affected and the extent of wear and tear of the cartilage, there are, in some cases, different kinds of joint replacements such as partial joint replacement or total joint replacement. Common joints to be replaced are the hips, knees and shoulders. For more information on arthroplasty, click here.
What does open reduction, internal fixation mean?
When a bone is broken, it must be carefully stabilized and supported until it is strong enough to handle the body’s weight and movement. One method of fixing broken bones is known as an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). During this surgical procedure, the bone fragments are first repositioned into their normal alignment. They are then held together with special implants (metal plates, screws, steel rods) in order to keep the bone fracture stable in order to heal in the right way. Other methods of fixing broken bones include placing a pin through the skin into the bone (percutaneous pinning) or external fixation.
Will physical therapy be required after surgery?
Getting full range of motion, strength, and flexibility back after surgery is vital to a proper rehabilitation and usually takes time. That is where pre-operative exercise, education, and post-operative physical therapy programs come in – to ensure you are physically and emotionally prepared for surgery and to maximize your recovery after surgery. A large number of orthopedic surgeries require post-operative physical therapy in order to assist patients in regaining range of motion, strength and stability to their affected body part. The duration of post-operative therapy depends on the extent of the pre-operative condition and the surgery performed. For more information about our on-site physical therapy team, click here.
Why should I go here instead of a different orthopaedic practice?
Visiting a total care orthopaedic facility provides you with an unparalleled continuum of care from diagnostic testing and treatment to physical therapy and rehabilitation. Arthritis & Sports offers you the expertise of a large group of talented specialized orthopaedic surgeons and a variety of on-site services that most orthopaedic practices cannot. We evaluate each patient individually and recommend the best course of action that would allow you to get back on your feet as quickly as possible. In addition to orthopaedics, our practice features on-site physical therapy, massage therapy, and nutritional counseling, which allows our patients to get better from start to finish all in one location.
What are your business hours?
How can I make an appointment?
To make an appointment with us, we invite you to call us at 703.444.5000 or click here to request an appointment online.
Do I need a referral to make an appointment?
Depending on your insurance, you may need a referral in order to see one of our specialists. Please check with your insurance prior to being seen to confirm if this is necessary.
What should I bring to my initial consultation?
For your initial consultation you will need to bring a referral letter from your physician if necessary. Here is check list for your initial consultation:
Insurance or Medicare card
List of medications
X-ray and scan results
Driver’s license or other form of valid ID
Can I fill out information before coming to my appointment?
We encourage you to print and complete your forms before your visit, as it will save you time. For all of our patient forms, click here.