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Dr. Daniel C. Eby

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine


Fractures are breaks in the bone that can occur throughout your body. A bone can break in various ways. For example, the bone may break in a straight line, a spiral, or even diagonally. Often, patients will experience associated bruising and swelling.

Causes and Risk Factors

Healthy bones are important. Good nutrition, staying active, and avoiding dangerous situations are the best ways to prevent fractures. Most commonly there are injuries that cause a fracture. In patients over 50, women, some medications, and those with a history of cancer have a higher risk of having weak or brittle bones.

The strength of our bones is important and directly impacts the chances of having a fracture. Some athletes may be more likely to develop stress fractures from activity repetition. Runners are especially susceptible to this type of fracture.

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Strain vs. Sprain

A strain occurs when a muscle is stretched or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn.

Strains are often the result of overuse or improper use of a muscle, while sprains typically occur when a joint is subjected to excessive force or unnatural movements (e.g., sudden twists, turns, or stops).

Sprains can be categorized by degree of severity:

  • A first-degree sprain stretches the ligament but does not tear it. Symptoms include mild pain with normal movement.
  • A second-degree sprain is characterized by a partially torn ligament, significant pain and swelling, restricted movement, and mild to moderate joint instability.
  • A third-degree sprain is where the ligament is completely torn with mild to severe pain, swelling, and significant joint instability.

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Muscle Spasms

When muscles become inflamed, they can also spasm, or contract tightly, as a response to injury. While they are the body’s way of protecting itself from further injury, they often produce excruciating and often debilitating pain. Muscle spasms are common in the low back (lumbar) muscles.

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Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon, a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is most commonly the result of overuse during physical activities. Repetitive motions can stretch and irritate the tendon, causing pain and swelling. Tendinitis occurs around joints such as the elbow, shoulder, wrist, ankle, or knee.

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The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, can affect any joint in the body, but most often afflicts the knees, hips, and fingers. Most people will develop osteoarthritis from the normal wear and tear on the joints through the years.

Joints contain cartilage, a rubbery material that cushions the ends of bones and facilitates movement. Over time, or if the joint has been injured, the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint start rubbing together.

As bones rub together, bone spurs may form and the joint becomes stiff after long periods of activity or inactivity.

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