Orthopedic Conditions

Diseases and injuries to the musculoskeletal system are collectively known as orthopedic conditions. They range from congenital conditions, such as clubfoot, to diseases, such as osteoarthritis, to conditions stemming from injuries, including rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow and tendinitis. Orthopedic conditions range from uncomfortable to crippling. While some respond well to various types of treatment, others resist healing and can become chronic disabling conditions.

Symptoms and Complications

The symptoms and complications of orthopedic conditions vary according to the specific condition. In general, they are characterized by inflammation, tenderness, stiffness and pain. Some conditions, such as arthritis, may result from or be exacerbated by the erosion of joint cartilage and bone tissue. Many are chronic conditions that worsen over time, and may result in permanent disability.

Risk Factors and Causes

The causes of orthopedic conditions vary and are often specific to the actual condition. In general, though, there are a number of things that may cause orthopedic conditions and problems of the musculoskeletal system.

* Injury: The most common cause of these conditions is an injury that causes trauma to the tendons, bones or cartilage.

* Wear: Repetitive motions can cause wear or overuse damage to joints, muscles or tendons.

* Osteoarthritis: caused by aging and wear and tear, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down.

* Tendinitis: inflammation or irritation of a tendon, most often at the shoulder, elbow, wrist or heel. The category includes tennis elbow, Achilles heel tendinitis, pitcher’s shoulder and jumper’s knee.

* Bursitis: irritation or inflammation of the bursae, which cushion and pad bones, tendons and muscles at the joints. These are commonly overuse injuries, though some, such as septic bursitis, are caused by trauma.

* Bone fractures: generally result from trauma or injury, though some are caused by repeated stress on a joint or bone


The treatment for the various orthopedic conditions varies, but most have similar features: they include resting the affected joint, applying heat or cold for inflammation, medication for pain relief and to treat symptoms. In many cases, there are surgical options for repair or replacement of the affected joint. Stem cell therapy holds enormous promise for treatment of many orthopedic conditions, particularly those that involve damage to cartilage or bone.

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