Orthopedic surgeon - pickleball injury

Beyond Surgery: How to Partner with an Orthopedic Surgeon to Be Active in Your Health

Eager to get out and Be Active this summer? Between spring showers and the lingering impacts of a full year of quarantine life, many people are more excited than ever to get back to sports, fitness and other activities that move them. But if a bone or joint issue has been holding you back, now may be the perfect time to partner with an orthopedic surgeon to get ready for an active summer.

Partnering with an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t mean signing up for surgery. Sports medicine specialists and orthopedic surgeons provide expertise and treatment options that help everyone – from weekend warriors to competitive athletes – get back in the game while minimizing the risk of injury.

The most advanced orthopedic surgeons offer a holistic approach to your health including services such as physical therapy, sports medicine and sports injury prevention, non-surgical treatments and advanced and complex surgeries.

By taking a multidisciplinary approach to each patient’s treatment, providing one-on-one personalized care, and using hands-on, evidenced-based techniques, orthopedic surgeons help patients to enhance activity, wellness and performance throughout life.

Here are just a few of the ways you can partner with your orthopedic surgeon.

Physical Therapy   

Once an injury has been assessed, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and their team take a hands-on approach to treatment. They provide detailed examinations and education regarding the source and cause of pain, how to relieve it and prevent a recurrence.

Each individualized treatment plan includes progressions and reevaluations that work with your needs, strengths and goals. By using evidence-based medicine that includes manual and manipulative therapy, exercises designed for specific injuries or damage, and the latest technology such as Trigger Point Dry Needling, physical therapy can help to reduce pain, rebuild strength, reduce inflammation, and improve range of motion, and is a great non-surgical method to achieve lasting effective pain relief.

Sports Medicine and Sports Injury Prevention

Regardless of age, if you’re injured, you should stop playing sports until you can be treated. Continued play or exercise can increase the damage and, in some cases, can cause serious additional injury.

By simply giving our bodies the rest they need, many people can recover from injuries with basic treatment such as the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling and speed healing. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers, knowns as NSAIDs (think Advil or Aleve) can also provide pain relief and reduce swelling as you heal. But be careful not to use any kind of pain reliever to mask the pain of an injury as a way to keep playing.

Sports medicine specialists have specific expertise in sports-related injuries and a variety of procedures and therapies to both help prevent injury and aid in recovery and rehabilitation.

This includes techniques such as strength training of the injured or surrounding tendons and muscles to project a vulnerable joint, working on proper stretching, warm-up and cool-down methods, managing and maintaining a healthy and appropriate diet for the athlete’s age, condition and individual needs, and more. While surgery is sometimes required, other non-surgical options are typically explored first.

Bone Health

Often called the “silent disease,” osteoporosis typically shows no symptoms in its early stages. But your risk of breaking a bone increases as the disease progresses, as does the risk of losing height or having back pain due to compression or fractures in the spine.

While 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, you don’t need to take these stats sitting down. Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable! If you have had a broken bone as an adult or have other risk factors for osteoporosis, it’s important to partner with an orthopedic surgeon who is also a bone health specialist. They work with each patient to assess the risk of osteoporosis and can conduct a bone scan called a DXA. DXA scans are recommended every two years for the following populations:

  • Women over the age of 65, or younger with risk factors
  • Men over the age of 70, or younger with risk factors
  • Anyone over the age of 50 with a broken bone
  • Anyone with 1½ inches of height loss
  • Anyone with back pain due to a possible break in your spine

If you have low bone density, measures can be taken to help prevent falls and broken bones, and medications may be helpful to prevent future fractures to allow you to continue your active lifestyle.

What if I Really do Need Surgery

If a surgical solution is the best option for your needs, it’s important to partner closely with your orthopedic surgeon to ensure you have the best experience from introduction to recovery. A diligent and caring surgeon will work with you to carefully evaluate all options for your circumstances and ensure that you have a shared and realistic understanding of your post-surgery goals.

Your surgeon, along with their expert team, will help you navigate every step of the process to maximize your recovery potential and ensure you are an active participant every step along the way.

About Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Specialists

Ready to partner with an orthopedic surgeon to be active again? With 15 Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeons, two Board Certified Podiatric Surgeons, and one Board Certified Interventional Physiatrist, there’s sure to be a specialist that’s just the right fit.

Advanced Orthopedic is comprised of surgeons who specialize in sports injuries, upper extremity, spine disorders, total joint replacements, carticel implantation, podiatry abnormalities, musculoskeletal disorders, and surgical and non-operative treatment of the neck and spine.

We have three locations to serve your needs. Our Denver/Lowry Office is located in central Denver, our Parker/Lincoln office is located in south Metro Denver, and our Aurora/Southlands Office is in southeast Aurora in the Southlands Shopping District. We offer state-of-the-art digital imaging at all of our facilities. For more information, call (303) 344-9090 or request an appointment.

hand pain

Parker Hand Doctor Can Diagnose and Treat Your Pain

Your hands are critical to everyday life, so when you have hand pain or limited function, it’s important to see a hand doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment.

Located in Parker, hand doctors at Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists have extensive expertise diagnosing and treating a wide variety of injuries and disorders, including these common conditions:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you have symptoms such as tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in the hand or thumb, your hand doctor may evaluate you for a pinched median nerve known as carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is often caused by repetitive motion in your hand and wrist.

The most common treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome involve changing or eliminating motions that are putting pressure on the nerve and wearing a brace or splint that maintains a straight wrist position (during key activities such as typing or sleeping). Steroid injections or surgery may be recommended if conditions do not improve.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Compression of the ulnar nerve, which runs from the outside of your hand all the way up your arm, also causes tingling and numbness in hands and fingers – but typically in the pinkie and ring fingers.

A hand doctor will determine if pressure or stretching is impacting the nerve and suggest therapy or changes in activities that cause symptoms. Surgery may be recommended in circumstances where pressure on the nerve needs to be released.

Broken Bones

Fractured bones in the hand or wrist are common and your hand doctor will likely have you get an X-ray if she or he suspects a broken bone. The most common symptom is pain, but many patients also experience swelling. Bones may be stabilized or set with a brace or cast for healing. In severe breaks, surgery may be needed.

Tendonitis

Tendons are the essential tissue that connects muscle to bones. Tendonitis occurs when the tendons become irritated and swollen, typically caused by overuse or injury. Related injuries can occur to the tissue around the tendons, which is called tenosynovitis. In the hand and wrist, there are two types of tendonitis that hand doctors see commonly:

  • DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis is the most common and causes pain and swelling in the thumb, typically a result of repetitive motion.
  • Trigger finger or trigger thumb occurs when one finger is bent and will not straighten without assistance. This happens when the tissue around the tendon is swollen, which makes it difficult or impossible to bend the finger or thumb. The finger or thumb may lock or “trigger” suddenly. There are several therapeutic and non-surgical treatment options that a hand doctor may recommend first. In addition to minimizing or eliminating repetitive motion activities that cause these issues, your hand doctor may also recommend steroid injections, or in some cases, surgery

Dupuytren’s Contracture

While the end result may appear to be similar to trigger finger, a qualified hand doctor can quickly diagnose this disease. Dupuytren’s limits the ability to straighten the fingers – usually the ring finger or smaller fingers – due to a thickening of tissues in the palm. Depending on the progression of the disease, treatments can vary widely, and some patients focus on protecting their hands with simple accommodations to everyday activities if progression is slow. Faster progression may be treated with needling, injections and in some cases, surgery. 

Jammed Fingers 

Most people think of jammed fingers occurring in basketball or other sports, but hand doctors see cases from everyday activities as well. It happens when a finger is “jammed” inward toward the hand, usually with significant force.

Symptoms may include swelling, pain or tenderness, and limited range of motion. It’s important to see a doctor if these symptoms persist, to treat a jammed finger or address a more serious injury, such as a fracture or dislocated joint.  

Damaged Nerves

There are numerous causes of nerve damage in the hand or wrist. Common causes include excess pressure on the nerve (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, noted above) or a serious cut. If you’ve had a near miss while cutting a melon or an avocado, you know how easily it can happen.

It’s important to see a hand doctor quickly if you’ve cut your hand or wrist and you’ve lost feeling in the area, or if the cut is big or deep enough that you cannot close the gap by pressing it together. Absolutely consider it urgent and get immediate medical attention if you cannot stop the bleeding. A hand doctor is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat nerve damage to prevent permanent damage.

Whether you relate to any of these symptoms or have others that need diagnosis, don’t ignore your hand or wrist problems and don’t self-diagnose. See a hand doctor who can give you a complete exam.

For diagnosis and treatment of hand and wrist pain, see an Advanced Orthopedics’ Parker hand doctors. Or, visit us at another location.

Our Denver hand doctors are located in Stapleton at 8101 E. Lowry Blvd. Suite 230 Denver, CO 80230

Our Aurora hand doctors are in Southlands 6235 S. Main Street. Suite C-101 Aurora, CO 80016

Call (303) 344-9090 for a hand doctor appointment at any office.

Best Hand Surgeons

A. Todd Alijani, MD

Dr. A. Todd Alijani


Davis Hurley, MD

Dr. Davis Hurley


Dr. Micah Worrell

Dr. Micah Worrell


numbness in hands

What to do if you experience numbness in hands or numbness in fingers.

Numbness in hands or fingers is a symptom that can be serious and should not be ignored. As with all health emergencies, call 911 or get emergency medical help if hand or finger numbness starts suddenly – especially if it occurs with weakness or inability to move, dizziness, or a sudden, severe headache.

Aside from emergencies, while numbness in your fingers or hands could be caused by several factors – including conditions like diabetes and various auto-immune diseases – it is frequently caused by some kind of nerve compression in your arm or wrist. A visit to your orthopedic hand and upper extremity specialist can evaluate for nerve-related causes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and/or cubital tunnel syndrome.

What is cubital tunnel syndrome and how does it cause numbness in hands?

The ulnar nerve is one of three major nerves in your arm, and runs from the outside edge of your hand all the way up to your neck. Compression of this nerve occurs most frequently on the inside of the elbow, causing tingling and numbness in hands and fingers – specifically the pinkie and ring fingers. Your orthopedic hand specialist will work with you to relieve the symptoms using conservative treatments such as using a brace or adjusting the frequency and nature of daily activities. If these changes do not help, or if you have significant nerve or muscle damage, you may need to look at surgery.

Numbness in hands and fingers: How is carpal tunnel syndrome different?

While carpal tunnel may also present with numbness in hands or tingling in fingers, carpal tunnel typically causes pain in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs down the length of the arm but passes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist, before going into the hand.

Without treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome generally gets worse over time. Early diagnosis is often the difference between non-surgical treatment to alleviate the compression and surgical options to avoid permanent damage to the nerve.

Pain and numbness in hands, fingers and thumbs from carpal tunnel can be influenced by a variety of factors including gender, genetics, age, occupation and activity level. Older people and females are more susceptible to carpal tunnel, and a small or “tight” amount of space in the wrist anatomy may be a hereditary factor. Prolonged or repetitive motions can lead to carpal tunnel. Medical conditions that range from pregnancy to thyroid imbalances, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can also increase the occurrence of the syndrome.

If wrist pain or numbness in hands occurs at night, inadvertently sleeping with bent wrists (which is common) may aggravate carpal tunnel.

Although some patients experience relief by shaking their hands in an attempt to improve the numbness, the relief is fleeting. What’s worse, given the frequency that these conditions present gradually or come and go, it’s easy to ignore their signs. That can be a mistake, however, because early diagnosis can allow for the use of non-invasive solutions such as splinting and bracing as well as NSAIDS, or forgoing certain activities that aggravate the symptoms. Delayed diagnosis and treatment, on the other hand, can lead to permanent or irreversible nerve damage.

See a specialist to get the right diagnosis

If you have numbness in hands or numbness in fingers, see your orthopedic hand specialist for a proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Your orthopedic hand surgeon will carefully examine, bend, flex, and test your wrists and arms. Strength assessments identify muscle weakness or atrophy and tapping along the corresponding nerve reveals sensitivity and numbness correlation. In addition to physical tests, nerve conduction studies can provide clear indication of nerve impingement.

Don’t ignore your symptoms – numbness in hands or fingers requires attention. Early diagnosis of hand and finger numbness can offer many non-surgical treatment and positive outcomes. Knowing what to look for makes a world of difference.

Best Hand Surgeons

A. Todd Alijani, MD

Dr. A. Todd Alijani


Davis Hurley, MD

Dr. Davis Hurley


Dr. Micah Worrell

Dr. Micah Worrell