How to Choose The Best Orthopedic Surgeon | Lake HavasuThe practice of Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, The Knee and Shoulder Institute is equipped to offer patients with advanced orthopedic care.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV and surrounding communities.

 

Why Choose a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon?

When patients choose a board certified surgeon for a complex procedure such as orthopedic surgery, they receive an automatic assurance that the surgeon would have received a minimum number of years of training in this area.

Surgeons who are certified by a leading board invest in best surgical practices and top-notch quality standards, adopt the latest surgical techniques and technologies, and pursue continuing education to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

 

Experience

It is advisable for patients to choose a surgeon with specialized training. But it is also important to understand whether the surgeon has sufficient hands-on experience in orthopedic surgery.

If the patient seeks a specific type of orthopedic surgery or additional procedures, they should choose a surgeon with experience in these particular procedures.

 

Desirable Qualities of an Orthopedic Surgeon

  • Easy to talk to, warm, and compassionate
  • Inclined to offer the patient with in-depth information on the surgery
  • Passionate about the idea of making a positive change in the patient’s life through surgery
  • Offers customized attention and care to each patient
  • Ability to understand the cosmetic needs, desires, hopes, and goals of the patient
  • Has a detailed understanding of the anatomy of the sites to be treated
  • Possesses artistic sensibilities with a sense of form, balance, and proportion
  • Uses advanced techniques to ensure that the orthopedic procedure is minimally invasive and produces as little scarring as possible

 

Focus on Personalization and Innovation

Each person has unique anatomy as well as diverse orthopedic issues. This makes it vital for the surgeon to individualize the procedure depending on the unique anatomical requirements of the patient.

Patients experience the highest satisfaction rates when the surgery is customized to create more complete and natural outcomes.

Orthopedic surgeons who focus on routinely updating their knowledge and skills, pursuing ongoing education and informing themselves on the latest surgical approaches and technologies usually offer their patients satisfactory outcomes.

The use of the latest techniques is most beneficial for patients as these techniques are typically an improvement over previous ones. The use of cutting-edge solutions enables procedures to be less painful and minimally invasive with reduced risks and shorter recovery periods.

 

Facilities

The background and certification of the surgeon is an important factor when seeking a surgical procedure. But the surgical facility is an equally important element.

Ideally, orthopedic surgery should be performed at a hospital, or an American Associations for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Centers accredited surgical center. Only surgical facilities that maintain the highest safety and surgical standards receive this prestigious certification.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.

How to Choose The Best Orthopedic Surgeon | Bullhead CityMost orthopedic procedures, especially orthopedic surgeries, are intricate and complex. It is important for the orthopedic surgeon to have a detailed understanding of the underlying physical structures and anatomy.

They should be able to create a customized surgical plan that can offer the patient predictable outcomes in a targeted and less invasive manner.

The surgeon should try to minimize risks and adopt a conservative approach while focusing on achieving sustainable benefits of function, movement, and pain relief for the patient.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV and surrounding communities.

 

Choosing the Right Surgeon

The results of the orthopedic surgery will last for many years to come, or likely the patient’s entire lifetime. Therefore, the patient should take the time to choose a surgeon who will offer them safe and sustainable outcomes.

It may seem like a confusing task to identify the right surgeon with so many doctors providing orthopedic surgery. However, some things make it more convenient for the patient to make the best choice.

The patient should choose a surgeon who has performed multiple orthopedic surgery procedures before and has a record of creating excellent results.

Many surgeons are renowned for specific procedures but do not have hands-on knowledge of the surgery that the patient is considering. Such surgeons are likely not an appropriate choice.

It would be beneficial for the patient to work with a surgeon with training in managing surgical complications. The possibility of developing such complications is low, but choosing a surgeon with specialized training in this field will reduce the risks even further.

The patient, on the other hand, should assess whether the surgeon they are considering has a good record. Potential patients have a right to attain all pertinent information on the surgeon from the state medical board.

 

Individualized Care

Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler will develop a personal relationship with each patient. The surgeons and their team will make every effort to help new patients feel completely stress-free and relaxed.

They will encourage them to share their innate concerns, clarify doubts, and ask questions during the pre-operative consultation. The surgeon will provide detailed and accurate answers to ensure that the patient is completely satisfied.

The surgeon will engage closely with patients to develop an individualized surgical plan that is customized to address the unique aesthetic and functional needs of each patient.

The kind Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler provide their patients with the highest level of care. They are committed to a holistic approach to diagnosis and treating a wide range of orthopedic injuries and conditions.

 

Certifications and Affiliations

Patients should always choose a board certified orthopedic surgeon for effective and safe outcomes. Doctors can only attain this renowned certification after dedicated training in the area of orthopedic surgery. On top of this, doctors must undertake ongoing education to retain their board certification.

Most surgeons have photos of past procedures on their practice site or in the office. Patients should see these pictures carefully and evaluate whether the results appear satisfactory.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.

How to Choose The Best Orthopedic Surgeon | PahrumpOrthopedic surgery is an advanced and complex procedure that should only be performed by a highly skilled and dependable orthopedic surgeon.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV and surrounding locations.

 

How to Choose an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Patients may identify a qualified and experienced orthopedic surgeon in their area in the following ways:

  • The patient should search online for top orthopedic surgeons in their local region, and review their website, previous patient testimonials, and other details available on the internet.
  • Talk to friends and family who have received orthopedic surgery previously for recommendations on a skilled orthopedic surgeon.
  • Speak to their doctor about the specific medical concern or seek a referral.
  • Assess the database of licensed orthopedic surgeons who are on the American Board of Orthopedics site.
  • Talk to the insurance provider to garner information on local orthopedic surgeons.

 

Customized Care

The surgeon and their team should be committed to offering an exemplary treatment experience to every patient. The surgeon will need to engage closely with the patient and comprehend their concerns.

They will also need to understand the specific anatomical needs of the patient to deliver appropriate care. Based on this assessment, they will develop a customized surgical plan to achieve targeted and effective outcomes.

Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler have extensive training and experience in orthopedic surgeries. They are committed to delivering excellent results to each patient.

The surgeon will follow a customized treatment plan to allow them to meet the patient’s goals in the least invasive and minimally painful manner. This also reduces the risk associated with a procedure as well as the downtime.

 

Questions to Ask

Once the patient has identified one or more potential orthopedic surgeons for their procedure, they should ask certain relevant questions before choosing a specific surgeon.

A responsible surgeon will encourage the patient to ask any questions or raise concerns that they may have during the initial consultation. They will offer the patient detailed and accurate answers to their questions. The patient may ask the surgeon the below mentioned questions:

  • Are you board certified in orthopedic surgery?
  • How many years of training do you have in this area?
  • What number of years have you practiced as an orthopedic surgeon?
  • Are you a fellow or member of a prestigious orthopedic professional association or society?
  • Will you perform my surgery yourself, or will the procedure involve other surgeons or trainees?
  • Do you perform the specific type of orthopedic surgery that I seek?
  • Are there any techniques available that can make my orthopedic surgery less invasive?
  • Are there any appropriate alternatives to the procedure that I require?
  • What is the success rate of the orthopedic procedures that you perform?
  • Can you show me the testimonials of previous patients who have received the same procedure from you?

 

Desirable Attributes of an Orthopedic Surgeon

A patient should seek the following qualities when choosing an orthopedic surgeon:

  • Warm, caring, compassionate, and easy to talk to
  • Inclined to provide the patient with information on various facets of the procedure
  • Passionate about the idea of making a positive difference in the patient’s life through orthopedic surgery
  • Ability to understand the innate desires, goals, aspirations, and concerns of the patient

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.

Is Knee Osteoarthritis Curable? | Las Vegas, NV | Orthopedic SurgeryThere is no known cure for osteoarthritis (OA). However, there are things that a person can do to make a difference in how OA impacts them. Related to this, there are some treatments available that could significantly relieve the pain.  

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding communities.

 

Exercise

For joints to remain healthy, they need to be exercised on a regular basis. It is vital to keep moving if a person has osteoarthritis of the knee. Regardless of a person’s fitness level, exercise helps the knee be able to perform routine activities again.

They will need to strike the correct balance between rest and exercise. A majority of individuals with osteoarthritis find that excessive activity aggravates their pain while too little makes their joints harden.

Exercise can strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, enhance the posture, and help the patient lose weight, all of which can mitigate the symptoms and pain.

It is crucial for the patient to continue with their exercises even if they start to feel better. Reducing or stopping the amount of exercise could cause the symptoms to recur.

A physiotherapist can recommend the best exercises to the patient. However, the patient will need to build them into their daily routine to derive the most benefit from them.

The physiotherapist may recommend the patient to exercise in a hydrotherapy pool. This can enable the joints and muscles to function better. The water in this pool is warmer than in a normal swimming pool, and this can be very relaxing and soothing. Sometimes hydrotherapy is also called aquatic therapy.

Exercising and swimming in water can be helpful for painful joints as the water takes the weight off the body. This reduces the strain on the knees while still allowing the patient to keep moving.

It is vital to balance this with weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, as this will enable the bones to remain strong. There are numerous exercises that have been proven effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee.

 

Range of Movement Exercises

Range of movement exercises are good for posture and helping to keep the joints flexible. These exercises can be as simple as stretching, ensuring that the joint moves through a range of position that comfortably stretch the joint’s reach and flexibility slightly further each time.

 

Strengthening Exercises

This type of exercise is vital to enhance the strength of muscles that control the knee and help protect and stabilize the joint.

It has also been proven to reduce pain as well as prevent the knee giving way, decreasing the chances of falls. The patient should try to perform strengthening exercises on at least two days a week if possible.

 

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise refers to any exercise that increases the pulse rate and makes the person a bit short of breath. Performing aerobic exercise can help an individual in various ways. It is good for overall health and well-being.

It can reduce pain by promoting the release of pain-relieving hormones known as endorphins. It can also enable a person to sleep better. Various types of aerobic exercise include swimming, cycling, and walking.

The activity should be hard enough for a person to get out of breath but still be able to have a conversation. It is ideal to perform two hours and 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. This can be spread out over the week and does not need to be undertaken all in one go.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.

Osteoarthritis of The Knee Treatment | Las Vegas, NV | Orthopedic SurgeryOsteoarthritis (OA) of the knee occurs when the cartilage in the knee joint breaks down, causing an overgrowth of the bone beneath. The cartilage becomes rough and disintegrates. This results in inflammation, pain, and difficulty in moving the joint.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), OA can develop at any age, but it most often occurs in individuals aged 50 years and above.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.

 

Treatment Options

The treatment options are determined by the stage of osteoarthritis and how rapidly it is progressing.

 

Stage 1

In this stage, any symptoms are typically minor. In general, acetaminophens or other over-the-counter (OTC) can usually offer pain relief.

Performing specific exercises can help build mobility and strength.

Certain doctors may recommend taking supplements, such as chondroitin and glucosamine. But, the AAOS have come to the conclusion that there is not sufficient evidence to support that supplements help.

 

Stage 2

The treatments at this stage include:

  • Taking pain relievers
  • Attending physical therapy sessions to maintain or build flexibility and strength
  • Wearing a knee brace meant to relieve pressure on the surfaces of the joint
  • Wearing shoe inserts to relieve pressure on the knee

Individuals with OA of the knee may require modifications in their daily activities to avoid pain at this stage.

 

Stage 3

The treatments at this stage include:

  • Taking OTC pain relievers, such as acetaminophen
  • Taking prescription pain relievers, such as codeine or oxycodone
  • Receiving injections of hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids

A doctor will inject three to five hyaluronic acid injections over a span of three to five weeks. While it may take time for the results to manifest, relief can last for over six months.

The AAOS has expressed concerns on the use of corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections. These medications can be expensive, and long-term corticosteroids use can have adverse effects.

 

Stage 4

By this stage, the cartilage would have either significantly reduced or disappeared entirely.

The individual may require surgery to replace or realign the joint.

Osteoarthritis patients may try the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Magnetic pulse therapy, although there is inadequate research to support its effectiveness
  • Lateral wedge insoles
  • Supplements of chondroitin, glucosamine, or both
  • Needle lavage, which involves inserting a needle into the joint and injecting a saline solution

But the AAOS either don’t recommend these treatments or believe that sufficient evidence does not exist to support their effectiveness and safety.

 

Stem Cell Therapy

There has been on-going research on whether stem cell therapy can regenerate cartilage in individuals with osteoarthritis.

But there are various challenges with this approach. For instance, this treatment is expensive, and an individual may need to undergo multiple rounds before seeing results. This treatment may also be ineffective if a person’s BMI is above 35.

A 2018 meta-analysis assessed the different ways in which doctors were using stem cells to treat OA and how this affected long-term results. The study concluded that the findings of high-quality studies were not consistent.

While some clinics offer stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to people in November 2017 asking them to not “believe the hype.”

The side-effects of unapproved stem cell treatments include:

  • Adverse reactions at the injection site
  • Cells regenerating in the wrong location
  • Failure of the cells to function as expected
  • Risk of tumor development

People considering stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis should consult their doctor first.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Osteoarthritis of The Knee Diagnosis | Las Vegas, NV | Orthopedic SurgeryThe symptoms of early stage osteoarthritis (OA) may not be noticeable to an individual. If a person experiences knee pain, the physician will ask them about their personal and family health histories.

They will then undertake a comprehensive physical exam and order diagnostic tests.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding communities.

 

Diagnosis of Knee Osteoarthritis

The doctor will ask the patient the following questions:

  • When and where the patient is experiencing stiffness and pain
  • How this impacts their daily life
  • Whether they are taking any medications

The doctor will evaluate the knee joints, test their overall range of motion, and assess for damage. They will also pay close attention to any sites that are inflamed, painful, or tender.

Joint fluid tests and MRI scans can help detect early OA signs. The doctor may undertake a joint aspiration, which involves the removal of some fluid using a needle and sending it to a lab for testing. X-rays can also indicate damage to the joint.

Blood tests can assist in ruling out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually develop slowly and become worse over time. The signs and symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain: The joint may hurt during or after movement
  • Tenderness: The joint may feel tender when pressure is applied to it.
  • Stiffness: Joint stiffness may be most apparent when the patient wakes up in the morning or after a period of rest.
  • Loss of flexibility: The patient may not be able to move their joint through its complete range of motion.
  • Grating sensation: The patient may feel or hear a grating sensation with joint movement.
  • Bone spurs: These are extra fragments of bone, which feel like hard lumps, and may develop around the impacted joint.

 

Risk Factors

The factors that contribute to an increase in the risk of knee osteoarthritis development are:

    • Older age: OA risk increases with age.
    • Sex: OA is more likely to develop in women, although the reason for this is not clear.
    • Obesity: Extra body weight is a contributory factor to osteoarthritis in various ways. The risk of osteoarthritis development is linked to the weight of a person as increased weight creates pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the knees and hips. On top of this, fat tissue generates proteins that may lead to harmful swelling in and around the joints.

 

  • Joint injuries: The risk of osteoarthritis may increase with injuries, such as those that occur due to an accident or from playing sports. The risk of OA may increase even with injuries that may have occurred many years ago and seemingly healed.
  • Certain occupations: In case the patient’s job includes tasks that place repetitive stress on a specific joint, that joint may eventually develop osteoarthritis.

 

  • Genetics: Certain individuals inherit a tendency to develop OA.
  • Bone deformities: Some individuals are born with defective cartilage or malformed joints. This can increase the risk of OA development.

 

Complications

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that worsens over time. Stiffness and joint pain become severe enough to make even routine tasks challenging to perform. Some individuals may not be able to work any longer. Doctors may recommend knee joint replacement surgery when joint pain is this severe.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Osteoarthritis of The Knee | Las Vegas, NV |  Orthopedic SurgeryOsteoarthritis (OA) of the knee impacts the cartilage, the bones, and the synovium in the knee joint. Cartilage refers to a slippery tissue that offers a smooth surface for joint movement and acts as a cushion between the bones.

Synovium lines the joints, and it is soft. It generates fluid, known as synovial fluid, which provides lubrication. It also delivers nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage.  

When these functions disintegrate, they no longer offer protection to the bones of the knee joint. Consequently, bone damage occurs. Osteoarthritis of the knee can lead to stiffness and pain, and the symptoms become worse over time.

Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.

 

Stages

In osteoarthritis of the knee, the cartilage disintegrates, and bone damage occurs. The pain and stiffness increase as the stage progresses. This condition takes multiple years to develop, and it progresses in stages.

This condition can be challenging to address as the symptoms do not manifest until OA reaches an advanced stage. Individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee should monitor for any changes in symptoms or other signs that the condition is progressing.

 

Stage 1: Minor

Small lumps of bone known as osteophytes may grow in the knee region, and there may be slight damage. There will be no obvious narrowing of the space between the bones, which can indicate that the cartilage is disintegrating.

Individuals with stage 1 OA are unlikely to experience discomfort or pain. The joint will also look normal on an x-ray.

 

Stage 2: Mild

In this stage, an individual may begin to notice symptoms. Doctors may be able to see certain indications of wear. X-rays, and other knee joint scans, will clearly indicate more osteophyte growth, and the cartilage will start to thin.

While the space between the bones will still appear to be normal, the region where the tissues and bones connect will start to harden. Upon tissue hardening, the bones will become denser and thicker. A thin bone layer will also develop underneath the cartilage in the joints.

The individual may experience joint pain or stiffness. The region around the knee joint may begin to feel especially uncomfortable and stiff after an individual has been sitting for longer durations.

 

Stage 3: Moderate

The cartilage damage has progressed, the gap between the bones has narrowed, and x-rays still indicate cartilage loss.

The patient may experience pain and discomfort while undertaking daily activities, such as walking, running, bending, and kneeling. There may be early indications of joint inflammation.

The cartilage will continue to break down and thin as OA progresses. The bones, in turn, will thicken and grow outward to develop lumps.

 

Stage 4: Severe

The only option for late-stage OA of the knee may be knee replacement surgery. This is the most advanced stage of this condition, and the symptoms are quite apparent. The space between the bones in the joint has continued to become narrow, causing further disintegration of the cartilage.

Consequently, there is joint stiffness, constant inflammation, and less fluid around the joint. In addition, there is more joint friction as well as significant pain and discomfort with motion. Surgical treatment is usually the only option at this stage.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

What are the stages of osteoarthritis? | Las Vegas, NevadaOsteoarthritis (OA) is categorized into five stages. Stage 0 represents a normal, healthy knee, while the highest stage, 4, represents severe OA. OA that has advanced to stage 4 is likely to lead to severe pain and cause disruptions in joint movement.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler provide treatments for the knee, shoulder and other joints to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding communities.

 

Stage 0

Stage 0 OA is assigned to a healthy knee. The knee does not show any indications of OA and the joint functions without any pain or impairment.

 

Treatments

Stage 0 OA does not require any treatment.

 

Stage 1

Patients with stage 1 OA displays very minor bone spur growth. Bone spurs refer to boney growths that usually develop where bones connect to each other in the joint.

People with stage 1 osteoarthritis do not typically experience any pain or discomfort due to the minor degeneration of the components of the joint.

 

Treatments

If a person has a genetic predisposition for arthritis or is at a higher risk, the doctor may recommend that they take supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, or start an exercise regimen to relieve any minor OA symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.

 

Stage 2

Stage 2 knee OA is considered a “mild” stage of the disease. X-rays of the knee joints in stage 2 will reveal increased bone spur growth. However, the cartilage is typically still at a healthy size, i.e., the space between the bones is normal, and the bones are not scraping or rubbing against each other.

The synovial fluid is also usually still present at appropriate levels for normal joint movement at this stage.

 

Treatments

Various therapies can help relieve the discomfort and pain caused by stage 2 of osteoarthritis. These treatments are primarily non-pharmacologic. This means that the patient does not need to take medication for the relief of symptoms.

 

Stage 3

Stage 3 OA is categorized as “moderate” osteoarthritis. There is obvious damage to the cartilage between the bones in this stage. The space between the bones starts narrowing as well. Stage 3 knee OA patients will likely experience recurring pain when running, bending, kneeling or walking.

 

Treatments

In case nonpharmacological therapies do not work or no longer offer pain relief, the doctor may recommend cortisone injections to the patient. Cortisone is a steroid that is manufactured naturally by the body. It has been shown to provide relief from pain when injected near the impacted joint.

 

Stage 4

Doctors consider stage 4 OA “severe.” Individuals in stage 4 experience significant pain and discomfort upon walking or moving the joint.

The reason for this is that the joint space between the bones is substantially reduced and the cartilage is almost entirely gone. Therefore, the joint becomes stiff and likely immobile.

 

Treatments

One option for people with severe OA of the knee is bone realignment surgery or osteotomy. In this procedure, a surgeon cuts the bone above or below the knee to reduce it, lengthen it, or change its alignment. This surgical procedure is usually done in younger patients.

Total knee replacement (arthroplasty) is the last resort for a majority of patients with stage 4 osteoarthritis. In this procedure, a surgeon excises the damaged joint and replaces it with a plastic and metal device.

It will take the patient several weeks or months to recover from this surgery, and they will require extensive physical and occupational therapy.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler receive patients for knee, shoulder and other joint treatments from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Can osteoarthritis cripple you? | Las Vegas, NevadaOsteoarthritis (OA) can be crippling if untreated as it disintegrates the cartilage that supports the joints of the spine, knees, hands, and spine.

This causes debilitating pain because the bones start rubbing against one another. This can impact an individual’s ability to work and perform otherwise routine activities such as standing up after being seated for a few hours.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler provide treatments for the knee, shoulder and other joints to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.

 

Severe Effects of Osteoarthritis

OA can lead to severe pain as well as limit joint motions, sometimes to the point of disability. In general, this means that a person cannot perform the routine activities of daily life anymore, such as bending down, climbing up a flight of stairs, walking for a distance, or even getting dressed by themselves.

Osteoarthritis can also impact the ligaments and muscles. Individuals with OA can sometimes suffer from depression and helplessness due to their limitations. This can be disabling as well. In this condition, medication and physical therapy may be helpful.

In the event that the patient is unresponsive to other treatments, joint replacement surgery can usually help individuals with this debilitating condition become independent again.

There are various ways to avoid or slow down the disabling impact of osteoarthritis with pain drugs, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. It typically takes years for OA to become severe. However, it may progress quite quickly in some cases. There are varying levels of disability, and only a doctor can diagnose a person with a disability associated with OA.

It is important to keep in perspective that all osteoarthritis patients do not become disabled by it. A person can take various steps such as exercising and losing weight to help them manage their OA and prevent disability over time.

 

Measures for Arthritis Pain Relief

Arthritis medication or treatment is only one element of the fight against arthritis. Some other things that an individual can do to relieve pain and enhance mobility are as follows:

 

Regular Exercise

The joints may ache, but not because they require rest. Osteoarthritis patients can improve their strength and flexibility, and get some pain relief from a combination of moderate stretching, weight lifting, and aerobic exercises such as water exercise classes, swimming, and cycling.

A doctor can help the patient devise an exercise regimen that offers the maximum benefits with little discomfort. In fact, there are even specific exercises to stretch the fingers.

 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If a person is overweight, reducing a few pounds can help them take the strain off their joints and reduce pain.

 

Be Mindful of the Posture

Good posture can ease and prevent OA-related pain in the hips, back, and knees.

The patient should adapt their environment to their condition. If they have arthritis in their fingers, for example, they may require footwear that fastens with Velcro rather than laces.

 

Be a Part of a Support Group

It can be deeply rewarding for patients to share their experiences with others. Support groups can help the patient learn practical tips for managing arthritis.

 

Need for Timely Treatment

Prompt treatment can prevent OA from causing disability. According to the Arthritis Foundation, this disease is behind over 27.5 million outpatient visits annually. It is also the primary reason for joint-replacement surgery.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler receive patients for knee, shoulder and other joint treatments from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas. If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

What are the early signs of osteoarthritis? | Las Vegas, NevadaThe symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) vary depending on which joints are impacted and how severely they are affected. But the most common symptoms of this condition are pain and stiffness, especially right after getting up in the morning or after resting.

The affected joints may get inflamed, particularly after extended activity. Rather than showing up suddenly, these symptoms tend to build-up over time.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provide treatments for the knee, shoulder, and other joints to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Common osteoarthritis symptoms include:

Pain: The joint may hurt during or after movement.

Tenderness: The joint may feel tender when light pressure is applied to it.

Stiffness: The patient may experience the most joint stiffness when they wake up in the morning or after a period of being inactive.

Loss of Flexibility: The patient may not be able to move their joint through its complete range of motion.

Grating Sensation: The patient may hear or feel a grafting sensation when they use the joint.

Bone Spurs: These are extra bits of bone which feel like hard lumps and may develop around the impacted joint.

Patients who experience persistent joint pain or stiffness should consult with their doctor.

While it is often possible to effectively manage osteoarthritis symptoms, the underlying process cannot be reversed. The progression of the condition may slow down by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and undergoing treatment.

 

Risk Factors

The risk of osteoarthritis development increases due to the following factors:

Family History

At times, osteoarthritis development depends on genetic predisposition. A person is more likely to develop OA if their parents or siblings have the condition. Researchers still do not understand why this condition runs in families. While no specific gene has been identified as the reason for OA development, genes may contribute to a higher risk.

Age

Osteoarthritis causes the degeneration of joints, and it becomes more common as people age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than one-third of adults over the age of 65 years have OA symptoms.  

Gender

Osteoarthritis can impact men as well as women. The National Institutes of Health highlights that it is slightly more prevalent in men until the age of 45 years. After that, it occurs more commonly in women. This may be an indication of the different joint stressors that males and females experience at different ages.

Obesity

Being overweight is a contributory factor in OA development. The more a person weighs, the higher their risk of developing this condition. Excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints; the joints of the hips and knees are certainly among them. To build onto that, fat tissue generates proteins that may lead to harmful swelling in and around the joints.

Joint Injuries

Osteoarthritis risks may increase due to injuries that occur when playing sports or those sustained from an accident. In fact, even an injury sustained several years ago, and one that appears to have healed can increase OA risks.

Certain Occupations

People working in an occupation that creates repetitive stress on a specific joint may eventually develop OA.

Bone Deformities

Some individuals are born with defective cartilage or malformed joints. This may increase the risk of OA development.

 

Complications

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that becomes worse over time. The patient may experience severe joint pain and stiffness making even routine tasks difficult to perform. Some individuals may no longer be able to work. Doctors may recommend joint replacement surgery when joint pain is this severe.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, receive patients for knee, shoulder and other joint treatments from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.