Debunking with SCA Health: Orthopedic Misconceptions & Myths

Posted Nov 3, 2023 under:

Tackling Orthopedic Myths

Orthopedic surgery covers a wide range of treatments on various parts of the body. However, myths surrounding who is best suited for surgery, and at-home treatments persist. Learn more below.

Fact or Fiction?

Learn more about common myths surrounding orthopedics and orthopedic surgery.

Welcome to Debunking with SCA Health. This series will tackle misconceptions surrounding healthcare procedures, common diagnoses, and receiving care.

Covering the treatment of musculoskeletal issues, such as joints, bones, tendons, and more, orthopedic care provides valuable benefits for living a happy and healthy life. However, misconceptions about receiving the care and its uses persist, keeping many Americans from achieving health and exercise goals and living a fulfilled life. Below are five common orthopedic myths and the explanation behind them.

MYTH 1: Orthopedic procedures are reserved for athletes and older Americans.

FALSE. While we commonly see and hear of athletes of all ages receiving care for ligament and joint injuries, the truth remains that orthopedic care can benefit all. Some orthopedic issues can result from genetics, lifestyle, or even the nature of one’s work. If you’re feeling pain, visit a physician and learn about what treatment options may be best for your situation.

MYTH 2: If you receive orthopedic care, you should rest to help your recovery.

FALSE. No matter the type of care you receive, you should always speak with your physician about the proper avenue of treatment. Regarding orthopedic recovery, your physician may prescribe physical therapy to help you along your recovery process. Using these joints, muscles, and ligaments can help you maintain or recover flexibility and avoid muscle deterioration. It is important to note that in many cases of physical therapy, proper technique is essential, and pushing oneself too quickly can lead to further injury.

MYTH 3: You should use ice and heat if you experience an orthopedic injury.

PARTIALLY TRUE. Upon experiencing an injury, it is commonly believed to utilize a combination of ice and heat to provide early treatment before seeking care from a physician. While both should be used, it is essential to recognize when to use heat and when to use ice.

For example, if you sustain a shoulder injury, you should utilize ice or a cold pack to reduce inflammation and swelling of the affected area. Using heat in this situation can exacerbate these symptoms and make you feel even worse. It is recommended to utilize heat to improve blood flow and stretch muscles and ligaments before exercise.

MYTH 4: An orthopedic surgeon can handle every part of the body.

FALSE. Like many other specialties, physicians in orthopedic surgery can specialize in specific areas of the body, including hands, spine, feet, and sports medicine. If you require care from an orthopedic surgeon, find a physician specializing in your needs.

MYTH 5: If you can move a body part, it isn’t broken

FALSE. While mobility may be affected immediately after an injury, a lack of sharp pain does not mean that your bone is not broken. Swelling or redness can persist and cause your joint or bone to stiffen, potentially leading to numbness. The best course of action is to visit an orthopedic physician to examine your injury and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment.

BONUS MYTH: Cracking your knuckles increases your risk for arthritis.

FALSE. Despite what you’ve been told your entire life, cracking your knuckles does not increase your risk for arthritis. The satisfying cracking sound comes from tiny nitrogen-based bubbles within the liquid that lubricate our joints popping! If you do feel pain when cracking your knuckles, consult a physician.

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