Orthopaedic conditions can arise as a result of injury, wear and tear and disease processes. Early intervention with specialist treatments that are based on clinical knowledge and proven research findings offer the best outcomes. That is why it is essential that you are seen as soon as possible so that chronic problems which can lead to disabilty are avoided. There are many treatment options available but most fall into three categories, medication, physiotherapy and surgery. Often a combination of treatments may be necessary but surgery is not always needed.
Managing your condition with medication can vary greatly. Short term pain relief and anti inflammatory medicines can be very effective for sprains, ligament damage or bone injuries. In some cases, however, stronger medication may be needed to stop a disease process causing further damage. Osteoporosis (thinning of the bone), rheumatoid arthritis and cancer are examples of conditions which require more complex combinations of medication. In these situations there is usually a team approach with other specialists involved so that the effectiveness of medications can be fully monitored.
The aim of physiotherapy is to improve muscle performance and range of motion associated with connective tissue disease, localised inflammation and trauma. It involves regaining appropriate health and function of structures surrounding the joint which in turn will help to reduce pain and stiffness. Specialised physiotherapy forms the mainstay of conservative care for almost all orthopaedic conditions and is also required following major orthopaedic surgery. Following consultation you may be referred to a physiotherapist for further assessment and prescribed a course of treatment which will include exercises and or treatments specifically tailored to your condition.
Orthopaedic surgery has made many advancements and operations requiring long stays in hospital are now mostly a thing of the past. Prior to coming into hospital you may be seen in a preoperative assessment clinic where details of your condition, medical history and routine tests will be taken. Day case surgery is now possible for a wide range of conditions and allows for a planned admission followed by recovery in the comfort of your own home. If you do need to come into hospital for your operation you will normally be up and about quite quickly following surgery. The average stay in hospital following total knee replacement is 3 - 4 days followed by a period of recovery at home. Early mobilisation after surgery reduces many of the serious complications that used to arise and recovering in your own home means you are less likely to pick up infections from other patients.