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    Sports Injuries: How to Tell If It's a Sprain or a Strain

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Athletes tend to suffer from a number of injuries, including those that affect their spines, necks, shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, and feet. Some of the most common sports injuries include sprains and strains—both of which can be treated by an orthopedic surgeon in Arizona. However, very few people have a clear understanding of the difference between these two injuries.


    A sprain refers to a tearing or stretching of a ligament, or the fibrous bands of tissue that connect the ends of your bones and support and stabilize the joints within your body. Sprains are often the result of bodily trauma that overstretches the joint or knocks it out of position. In some cases, a sprain may be caused by a rupture of the supporting ligaments. The most common causes of sprains include falls or direct blows to the body. While the signs of a sprain may vary from patient to patient, the most common symptoms of a sprain include bruising, swelling, pain, and inflammation.


    Unlike a sprain, a strain refers to an injury of a tendon or muscle and is often the result of repetitive, prolonged movements of the tendons and muscles. In some cases, chronic strains may be caused by a direct blow to the body, excessive muscle contraction, overstretching, or lack of rest between periods of intense physical activity. The most common symptoms of strains include muscle spasms, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, cramping, and pain.

    The best ways to avoid both sprains and strains are to wear properly fitting shoes, perform stretching exercises on a daily basis, and warm up before participating in any type of sports activity. It is also a good idea to nourish your muscles by following a proper diet and conditioning your body to build muscle strength.

    Whether you’re suffering from a sprain or strain, the orthopedic surgeons with The Orthopedic Clinic Association, also known as "TOCA",  are here to help. Visit our website or contact us at (602) 639-4027 to set up a consultation.

    Have You Enjoyed Our Recent Articles About Arthritis And Other Orthopedic Injuries? Check Out These Resources To Learn More!

    Last updated 2 years ago

    If you’d like to learn more about the different types of arthritis and how they are treated, then you should check out these links and consult with The Orthopedic Clinic Association, or TOCA, at (602) 639-4027:

    • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has a great general overview of arthritis.

    • The Mayo Clinic and WebMD offer explanations of glucosamine and how it is commonly used for arthritis.

    • This article discusses the toll rheumatoid arthritis can take on patients, who are more likely to suffer depression because of their illness.

    Supplements and Medications Commonly Used to Treat Orthopedic Injuries

    Last updated 2 years ago

    When it comes to treating orthopedic injuries, doctors usually begin with the least invasive treatment plan possible.  For most patients, this means a regime of physical therapy and supplements and medications.  But what kinds of medications and supplements are you likely to need if you’ve had an orthopedic injury?  We’ll discuss this issue in the article below:

    Pain Relievers

    Most of the medications you’ll be taking to deal with the pain and the inflammation caused by an orthopedic injury or arthritis will be substances that you probably already own.  Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, for example, are commonly used to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis and are probably already in your medicine chest under the names Tylenol and Motrin, respectively.  In some cases, however, these medications are not safe, as they can react poorly with preexisting kidney or liver damage.


    There are a variety of supplements that your doctors may encourage you to try.  The least exotic of these substances is vitamin D, which is known to improve bone health.  Most people receive enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and by drinking fortified milk, but if you suffer from arthritis or another orthopedic injury, your doctor may prescribe you the vitamin in pill form.

    There are also other supplements that doctors and researchers find very promising for the treatment of arthritis and orthopedic injuries.  These substances include:

    • Glucosamine: Glucosamine is something that your body produces naturally to help repair damaged cartilage; taking more of it from other sources can help speed up healing. 
    • Platelet rich plasma, or PRP:  PRP is created by taking a sample of your own blood and separating it out into its component parts.  Most of the blood is then returned to your body, but first the technician in charge will concentrate an unusually high amount of platelets in your plasma.  This substance is kept off to the side and then injected into the injured or arthritic area.  Platelets stimulate your body’s immune system, so having a high concentration of them in one area will force your body to concentrate on healing that area.

    If you or someone you care about suffers from arthritis or has recently sustained an orthopedic injury, then you should consult with The Orthopedic Clinic AssociationTOCA is located in Arizona, with locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa and Glendale.  Our great sports medicine practitioners and orthopedic surgeons can provide you with the best quality of care.  For more information, call (602) 639-4027 today.

    Arthritis Information & Relief: Symptoms of Arthritis in the Back

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Although rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have very different sources, their symptoms are generally the same.  When experienced in the lower back, both involve stiffness and pain when the patient first wakes up, as well as muscle tension because of the need to compensate for damaged ligaments.  Osteoarthritis, however, is the result of old age or overuse of a particular part of the body.  Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is probably genetic in origin and does not involve any sort of injury to the affected area. To learn more, watch the complete video clip.

    If you’re suffering from either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, then you should consult with The Orthopedic Clinic Association. TOCA provides expertise in orthopedics to residents of Arizona, with five Arizona locations.  Our skilled orthopedic surgeons will have you feeling better in no time.  For more information, call (602) 639-4027 today.

    Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Arthritis is a relatively common condition affecting people of all ages.  The symptoms of arthritis can be anything from mild irritation and swelling to a severe and debilitating pain. To learn more about arthritis, read on:


    Arthritis is usually divided into two general groups: Osteoarthritis, which is usually due to age or injury, and arthritis that is caused by inflammation.  Of the latter group, rheumatoid arthritis is the most common; it is present in about one percent of the world’s population.  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis overall, and it can have a number of different causes.  The most common is simply age: As humans get older, the cartilage and other cushioning substances between the bones of a joint begin to wear away, causing the bones to come into contact.  But even people who are not in middle or old age can develop osteoarthritis as the result of a traumatic injury or overusing a particular joint.

    Inflammation-based forms of arthritis cause pain because of the pressure that the inflammation puts on the joints.  In rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation is actually an autoimmune response that eventually leads to the body’s own immune system dissolving the lining of the joints.


    Regardless of the type of arthritis a person has, the symptoms are generally the same: pain, swelling, and stiffness (especially in the morning).  Of course, the severity of the symptoms can vary greatly. And while the symptoms of arthritis can tell your doctor that you have arthritis, in order to know which kind of arthritis you have, your doctor will have to perform a number of different tests.


    When it comes to treating arthritis, doctors will always attempt the least drastic measures first.  Usually, they begin with pain and inflammation control, both of which are often dealt with via common over-the-counter substances such as ibuprofen.  Cortisone shots may also help with the swelling.  Physical therapists and sports medicine practitioners will also be consulted on how a patient can best manage to live and work without aggravating the affected joints.  If pain relief and physical therapy aren’t enough to allow the patient to function, then an orthopedic surgeon will be consulted.  Surgery may be required to either fuse the bones of the joint together to stabilize it or to install a completely artificial joint.

    If you live in Arizona and suffer from arthritis, then you should consult with The Orthopedic Clinic AssociationTOCA has locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe and Glendale, which are all staffed by qualified sports medicine practitioners and orthopedic surgeons.  For more information, call TOCA today at (602) 639-4027.

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