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Medically reviewed by Adam Ploeg, MS, ATC McLeod Sports Medicine

Does your knee hurt?  It could be a bad joint that’s calling out for replacementOr it might be a stretched or sprained ligament. Before we discuss injuries and treatments, let’s take a quick course in “knee ligament basics.” (Refer to the image with this article to better understand the importance of knee ligaments.) “Ligaments help connect bones to other bones,” says Adam Ploeg, Certified Athletic Trainer with McLeod Sports Medicine.  “In the knee, there are 4 ligaments that help to stabilize the knee and connect the portion of the leg above the knee (thigh) to the leg below the knee. These ligaments can sometimes look like a bundle or intertwined rope and vary from the thickness of a pencil to a thickness of 3 fingers.”

Medically reviewed by Michael Sutton, DO McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

“Two of the primary benefits of a total knee or hip joint replacement are less pain and more life, thanks to the ability to move again,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton of McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon. “As more joint replacements are being performed on young and younger patients, a key question they ask is: ‘When can I get back to work?’”Let’s layout a possible timeline for your recovery after joint replacement surgery:

Medically reviewed by Dr. Eric Heimberger McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast

All eyes turned as Donna walked in. Her face was beautiful.  The silhouette, striking. And those high spike heels!  Whew!  Every man – and a few women – inhaled sharply, losing interest in their year-old magazines.  Donna smiled sweetly, knowing that she was causing a ruckus – and thinking to herself, If only my knees didn’t hurt so much.  Well, maybe when the nurse calls my name, the orthopedic specialist can tell me what the problem is“A number of studies have shown the increased risk from high heels of developing osteoarthritis in your knees,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Eric Heimberger. “The knee joint deteriorates, possibly leading to total joint replacement.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. David Lukowski McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast

Last year, nearly 54,000 people had their vacations ruined by luggage-related injuries. Most of those injuries involved lifting bags in a hurry (probably in a rush to or at the airport) that were too heavy, over packed, or just plain bulky. “The most common injuries are to the shoulder, neck, wrist and back,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. David Lukowski. “However, luggage handling can also aggravate existing knee and hip problems by exerting extra stress on these joints or creating bad posture.”  Here are some tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that can help keep your vacation healthy and enjoyable:

Medically reviewed by Dr. Pat Denton, Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

Hip Joint?  Bad Knee?  Leg Cramps? Torn Muscle? Hairline Fracture? Inflamed Tendon? “In medical terms, those questions are the beginning of a differential diagnosis,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Pat Denton of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “For most people, the term leg pain can be the key to a multitude of medical issues – some minor, some serious. Many – but not all – are handled by Orthopedic Specialists.” Let’s try to sort things out a bit. Orthopedic Specialists primarily deal with problems related to your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Below are some common leg pain issues treated by Orthopedic Specialists:

Medically reviewed by Dr. Pat Denton, Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

Ever try to hold up 150 or so pounds and keep it stable ALL DAY? That’s what your knees do. And small C-shaped wedges between the cartilage and bones in your knee act as stabilizers and shock absorbers.  Each of these wedges is called a “meniscus.” Given their work assignment, it’s not hard to understand that a meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries.  

Medically reviewed by Dr. Rodney Alan, McLeod Orthopaedics

“Pssst.”  “Down here.”  “Listen carefully.”  “I need your help to keep us both out of trouble.” A bit overly dramatic for sure.  Our knees don’t talk.  But if we don’t treat them right, in time we may not be able to ignore our knees, whether they talk or not. “Knee joint replacements are soaring, especially among younger people between 45 and 60,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan.  “And while total joint replacements are some of the most successful surgeries performed, it’s important to do what you can to make your original knees last as long as possible.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. Rodney Alan, McLeod Orthopaedics

The trend toward younger people seeking hip and knee joint replacements is pretty clear.  But who are the people seeking them and just how “young” are they? Here’s a brief look at these questions.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Sutton, McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

Total Joint Replacement  for Knees and Hips can reduce pain, increase mobility and enhance overall quality of life. So, why do people wait…and wait…delay…put off…find excuses to avoid the surgery?  For many, it’s anxiety over the pain they’ll have while recovering from the surgery. “There will be pain, as there is with any surgery,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton. “Yet, remember two things.  One: Unlike the pain from your knee before surgery, this pain will ease and eventually vanish as you complete your rehab.  Two: New developments continue to improve post-surgical pain management.” 

Is Shoulder Surgery in Your Future?

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically Reviewed by David Lukowski, MD McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast

If you look at the statistics, shoulder problems are not as great a problem as knee and hip joint issues.  Annually, total shoulder joint replacements number only about 1/20th as many as total knee joint replacements.

Medically Reviewed by Pat Denton, MD - Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

Although it is not generally used for total joint replacement surgery, arthroscopy is very commonly performed on the knee and other joints for diagnosing and treating problems.  One source claims more than 4 million are performed worldwide annually. In this article, we’ll focus on the knee arthroscopy, because 17 out of 20 of the procedures are performed on this joint.

When Two Joint Replacements are Better Than One

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically reviewed by Michael Sutton, MD McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

Not only was Darth Vader the father of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but all that light saber fighting took its toll. Darth – in real life, actor Dave Prowse – needed a hip replacement. And not just one hip – but both. Like many people (even those who don’t fight with light sabers) Vader (AKA Prowse) had to decide whether to have BOTH hip joints replaced in one surgery…or first have one hip replaced, recover, then have the second replaced, also called staged replacement. He decided on doing both at the same time, also called bilateral joint replacement.  

Medically reviewed by Rodney Alan, MD

For many folks, arthritis equals pain. And pain leads to limited activity. Years ago, doctors might even suggest that arthritis patients “be sure to rest their joints.” “More recently, we’ve come to understand that moderate exercise can offer many benefits, even for those with osteoarthritis in their knees, hips and back,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan, MD. “Physical activity should be a priority to improve your symptoms and prevent or delay limitations if you combine aerobic, balance, range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.”

When Baseball Hurts Your Child

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically Reviewed by Pat Denton, M.D. Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

While parents and grandparents might be struggling with the signs of aging (bad knee and hip joints, painful shoulders) orthopedic youth injuries are increasing at an alarming rate, especially in baseball. One researcher estimated that serious throwing injuries are occurring 16 times more often than just 30 years ago – even though orthopedic surgeon organizations have issued guidelines. According to the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, 20% of youth ages 8-12 and 45% of youth aged 13-14 will have arm pain during baseball season.

Gardening for Beginners & Others To Avoid Injury
Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Michael Sutton McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

It’s no surprise that lawnmowers – with sharp, whirling blades -- top the list of causes for accidents in the yard. However, coming in second is the helpless little flowerpot – causing falls, cuts, and lifting injuries.“Gardening, like any physical activity, can lead to an orthopedic problem,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Michael Sutton. “For gardeners, knees are a prime source of aches and pains.  Improper bending. Heavy lifting. And digging with your wrist at strange angles can also cause difficulties.”

Medically review by Eric Heimberger, MD

South Carolina plays a pivotal role in hip joint replacements. In September 1940, Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Austin Moore performed the United States’ first metal hip joint replacement in Columbia, SC.  “In the last 70 years, orthopedic specialists have introduced many improvements and developments to benefit hip replacement patients,” says Dr. Eric Heimberger of McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast. “Most hip replacements include 2 pieces: a cup that fits into the hip socket and a stem that inserts into the leg bone (femur) and fits into the cup.”

“I’ve seen patients who are relieved to find a specialist to handle the total knee joint replacement,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Barry Clark of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Yet, they often don’t realize that their job was only 1/3 done.  The weeks before and after surgery are also vitally important to a person’s ultimate recovery.” 

Here are some tips to help you plan:

First, a few facts.  Feel free to use these at your next cookout or family dinner.

The knee is the largest joint in the body. With good reason. Walking and running.  Turning, crouching, climbing stairs and jumping. Or, simply standing around. In nearly every activity we undertake, the knee plays a key role.  

Medically Reviewed by Rodney Alan, MD

Anyone researching hip joint replacements will eventually turn up the question of “Metal-on-Metal” (MOM) implants. In short, a hip replacement involves a ball-and-joint.  The ball being the part placed in the leg and the joint or socket placed in the hip.  For more information, see “9 Things You Should Know about Total Joint Replacement.” 

Healthcare Ratings: How They Stack Up.

Posted on in Orthopedics

Over the years, most people have relied on recommendations from friends and family when choosing a doctor or hospitals. With the rise of the Internet, easily and often accessed by health consumers, ratings and rankings boomed. To be an informed consumer, it’s good to understand what information each rating uses and how it is compiled. Here’s a brief overview.

Organizations compile their ratings with different information, from different sources with different formulas to make the data consumer-friendly. Here are the most common ways in which ratings are generated:

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