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Shoulder & Elbow


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Shoulder Pain

What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?

While the answer to this question may seem obvious, the nature of your shoulder pain, as well as any accompanying symptoms, can vary depending upon the problem.

For example, you may only experience shoulder pain at night or with certain movements. Or, the pain may be a constant companion.

As well, you may also experience:

  • A crackling sound when you move your shoulder
  • Limited range of motion, including the inability to lift your arm overhead
  • Swelling and stiffness around the shoulder

    Be sure to note your symptoms, which helps your provider at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., identify the cause of your shoulder pain.

    What are the most common causes of shoulder pain?

    The most common causes of shoulder pain include:

    • Impingement
    • Rotator cuff tears
    • Arthritis
    • Dislocation or separation
    • Fractures
    • Bursitis

      To figure out what’s causing your shoulder pain, you should seek the counsel of a joint specialist, like those found at Western Orthopaedics, P.C.

      How is shoulder pain diagnosed?

      After reviewing your symptoms and performing a physical exam, your joint expert at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., orders diagnostic imaging, such as in-house X-rays. This imaging allows your doctor to get a closer look at the internal structures inside the ball-and-socket joint to locate the source of your shoulder pain.

      How is shoulder pain treated?

      Your treatment depends upon what’s causing your shoulder pain. Once your doctor at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., diagnoses the problem, they discuss the next steps with you, which may include:

      • Immobilization (sling)
      • Anti-inflammatory medications
      • Corticosteroid injections
      • Rest
      • Physical therapy
      • Regenerative medicine

        If you have a serious tear in your connective tissue, your doctor may recommend surgical repair using the latest minimally invasive techniques. If arthritis has wreaked havoc within your joint, you may benefit from shoulder replacement surgery.

        The bottom line is that shoulders are extremely delicate joints that require prompt care in order to avoid long-term problems. For example, if you dislocate your shoulder, the joint may be more susceptible to future dislocations. As another example, if you tear your rotator cuff, this tissue doesn’t usually heal on its own and requires surgical correction sooner rather than later.

        To explore your options in remedying your shoulder pain, call Western Orthopaedics, P.C., or request an appointment using the online booking feature.

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        Shoulder Replacement

        Why would I need a shoulder replacement?

        You might need a shoulder replacement if you have shoulder pain or problems with the joint for which there’s no other suitable treatment.

        In most cases, shoulder pain is the result of one of four main causes

        • Inflamation
        • Instability
        • Arthritis
        • Fracture

        Your shoulder joint is the most versatile, flexible joint in your body. However, the extended range of motion your shoulder is capable of can sometimes lead to joint discomfort or pain.

        Symptoms of shoulder conditions include: 

        • Pain
        • Stiffness
        • Popping sensation
        • Grinding feeling
        • Limited mobility
        • Problems reaching overhead
        • Difficulty sleeping

        Initial treatments for shoulder problems include conservative measures such as physical therapy, medication, joint injections, and regenerative medicine techniques. However, if these treatments aren’t proving effective, or the damage to your shoulder joint is too extensive, you might need a shoulder replacement.

        What conditions might lead to shoulder replacement?

        The condition that’s most likely to lead to the need for shoulder replacement is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). This is a wear and tear disorder that typically affects people over 50, although it can develop at any age.

        Everyday use of the joint leads to a gradual wearing away of the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones. The bones then start rubbing and irritating each other, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is incurable, and conservative treatments may only be useful for so long before the joint deteriorates too much.

        Other conditions that could lead to the need for a shoulder replacement include:

        • Rheumatoid arthritis
        • Post-traumatic arthritis
        • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy
        • Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis)
        • Severe fractures
        • Failed previous shoulder replacement surgery 

        If you’ve been having treatment for a shoulder problem but you’re not feeling the benefits, Western Orthopaedics, P.C., has surgeons with specialized skills in performing shoulder replacement surgery.

        How is shoulder replacement carried out?

        To carry out your shoulder replacement, your surgeon at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., needs to remove the damaged sections of the joint and replace them with a prosthesis composed of artificial joint components. The parts that your surgeon can replace are the head of the humerus, which forms a ball shape, and the socket (glenoid) in your shoulder blade.

        If the whole of your shoulder joint is too damaged to save, your surgeon replaces the entire joint (total joint replacement). Some patients have bones that aren’t as badly affected, so only one component needs replacing (hemiarthroplasty). If you have a severely torn rotator cuff, you might need a reverse total shoulder replacement.

        Your provider at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., can advise you which shoulder replacement option is best for your situation. Call today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.

        Elbow Pain

        What causes elbow pain?

        There are two leading causes of elbow pain: conditions that develop over time, such as osteoarthritis, and injuries, like falls.

        Osteoarthritis is a condition involving the gradual degeneration of joint cartilage. It often occurs in people who have a history of injuring their elbows.

        The most common cause of elbow pain is a recent injury. Elbow injuries commonly occur when you’re:

        • Playing sports
        • Pursuing active hobbies
        • At work
        • Doing DIY projects

        Elbow pain can also develop from overuse, where a little damage done frequently builds up over time. Overuse injuries of the elbow, such as tendonitis, tennis elbow, and golfer's elbow, cause inflammation in the soft tissues. The inflammation can cause considerable pain in your elbow and forearm.

        Western Orthopaedics, P.C., understands that elbow pain can make everyday activities quite challenging and that a proper diagnosis is vital in determining the most effective course of treatment for your condition.

        What conditions can cause elbow pain?

        The types of elbow conditions Western Orthopaedics, P.C., sees most often include:

        Olecranon fractures

        The olecranon is the bone at the tip of your elbow. It forms the hinge of your elbow joint, rotating around the end of the humerus (upper arm bone).

        Olecranon bursitis

        Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that help to protect your joints.

        Radial head fractures

        The radial head is one of the three bones that make up your elbow joint. The most common way to fracture the radial head is to land on your outstretched hand when you fall over.

        Cubital tunnel syndrome

        Cubital tunnel syndrome causes pain and weakness due to pressure on the ulnar nerve in your elbow.

        Golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis)

        Golfer’s elbow refers to tendonitis on the inside of your elbow. It is usually seen in older athletes who repetitively grip with the palm of their hand.

        Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

        Tennis elbow is the most common type of elbow tendonitis and affects the tendon on the outside of your elbow. It usually affects people who play racquet sports.

        How is elbow pain treated?

        Treatment for your elbow pain can vary depending on the cause. For instance, fractures might need surgical repair followed by immobilization in a cast or splint, while tennis elbow would benefit from rest and physical therapy. Bracing is another useful option, and you might need to take anti-inflammatory medication.

        Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis often respond well to joint injections, either steroids to reduce inflammation or hyaluronic acid to increase lubrication.

        Regenerative medicine techniques could also promote new tissue growth and better healing. Western Orthopaedics, P.C., offers several types of regenerative medicine:

        • Stem cell therapy
        • Bone marrow aspirate
        • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

        Some elbow problems might require surgery if a comprehensive non-surgical treatment program isn’t producing results.

        Physical therapy and rehabilitation are also essential for optimal recovery when you have elbow pain.

        To find out more about treatments for elbow pain, call Western Orthopaedics, P.C., today or request an appointment online.

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        Elbow Replacement


        What is elbow replacement?

        Elbow replacement is a surgical procedure that involves taking out the damaged sections of bone in your elbow joint and replacing them with an artificial joint.

        Your elbow consists of three bones that work together to create a hinge. These three bones are the:

        • Humerus (upper arm bone)
        • Ulna (outside forearm bone)
        • Radius (inside forearm bone)

        These three bones meet to form the elbow joint, where a combination of cartilage, membrane, and joint fluid keeps everything functioning smoothly. The bones are held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

        If one or more of the bones or other essential structures in your elbow is damaged beyond repair, you might need to consider an elbow replacement.

        What conditions might require elbow replacement?

        Many conditions can cause elbow pain and disability. Most of these respond well to conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, joint injections, and regenerative medicine techniques.

        The conditions that tend to lead to elbow replacement surgery include:


        There are numerous types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common kind, caused by the effects of wear and tear over the years. The protective cartilage wears away, the bones rub together, and the result is pain, inflammation, and stiffness that worsens over time.

        Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the next most common type, but it has an entirely different cause. If you have RA, your immune system malfunctions, so it attacks the joint linings. You might also get post-traumatic arthritis in your elbow following a serious injury.

        Severe fractures

        If you have an accident and fracture your elbow, whenever possible, your provider at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., repairs the broken bones. Sometimes fractures are too extensive for repair, and elbow replacement is a better option.


        Elbow instability tends to develop if you’ve had dislocation of the joint that leads to ligament damage. If the ligaments aren’t strong enough, they can’t hold the bones in place, so your elbow won’t work properly.

        How is elbow replacement surgery carried out?

        When you have total elbow replacement surgery, your provider at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., replaces the damaged ends of your humerus and ulna bones.

        The artificial components in the replacement elbow consist of a hinge made of plastic and metal, with two metal stems. These stems fit inside your bones, where there’s a hollow area called the canal. 

        There are variations on this standard elbow replacement, so your provider can customize the surgery to fit your exact needs.

        If you have elbow pain that isn’t improving despite following a comprehensive treatment program, call Western Orthopaedics, P.C., today or request an appointment online.

        Regenerative Medicine

        What is regenerative medicine?

        Regenerative medicine at Western Orthopaedics, P.C., is an innovative, natural treatment for injuries and chronic pain. Your orthopaedic specialist injects special cells into injured areas of your body to accelerate healing and relieve pain naturally, to help you avoid addictive medicines and surgery. Stem cells stimulate your body’s ability to generate new tissues and heal itself.

        Where do stem cells come from?

        Stem cells, which can replicate into just about any other type of cell within your body, are often sourced from:

        • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
        • Bone marrow
        • Fat Donated placental or umbilical cord tissue

        Your doctor can harvest stem cells from your blood or other areas of your body, or use donated stem cells from a lab.

        For what is regenerative medicine used?

        Your orthopaedic specialist might use regenerative medicine to treat the following injuries or diseases.

        • Meniscus tears
        • Knee arthritis
        • Shoulder arthritis
        • Tennis elbow
        • Golfer’s elbow
        • Rotator cuff injuries
        • Plantar fasciitis
        • Achilles tendonitis

        Your doctor lets you know if you’re a good candidate for regenerative medicine after examining the site of an injury or pain.

        They review your symptoms and medical history, and might use blood tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other imaging procedures to determine if regenerative medicine is right for you.

        What should I expect during the procedure?

        There are several ways to implement regenerative medicine at Western Orthopaedics, P.C. Your doctor might first harvest stem cells from your bone marrow, fat, or blood. In the case of PRP injections, they spin a sample of blood in a centrifuge to extract platelet-rich plasma from the rest of your blood.

        Once they harvest stem cells from your body or source them from donated tissue from a lab, your orthopaedic specialist injects the cells into your body at the site of pain or an injury. They might recommend multiple treatments to help you achieve desirable results. As cells regenerate into new tissues, you notice improvements in pain and enhanced healing.

        Don’t settle for taking harsh medicines or undergoing surgery before finding out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive regenerative medicine. Schedule an appointment with Western Orthopaedics, P.C., over the phone, or request one online today.

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