Posts tagged ‘bones’

June 4, 2014

We Love… Best Bones Forever!

Best Bones Forever by Office of Women's Health via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainAs doctors, we find many people and organizations we love – from patients who we care about deeply to nonprofits that are assisting others on the road to their best possible health. Today we’d like to highlight a really great initiative: Best Bones Forever!

 

Best Bones Forever focuses on the bone health of young girls with the hope of avoiding bone health issues later in life. You know the old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure – well, it’s true! Taking care of yourselves when you are young can help avoid a world of aches further down the line.

 

An initiative of the Office of Women’s Health, the hope is to help prevent conditions like osteoporosis, or loss of bone mass that affects many elderly women. Bone loss can lead to a higher risk of fractures which can be associated with life-threatening complications and side effects which have a profound impact on quality of life. As it turns out, keeping bones strong now means having stronger bones in the future. So whether it’s exercise or a diet with the proper nutrition, the aim is to help girls develop a lifestyle of healthiness that will last them a lifetime and result in less risk for bone loss as aging occurs. And for their parents, some handy notes can be found here.

 

(Oh, and you can like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for more helpful, healthful information!)

(Image credit: Best Bones Forever by Office of Women’s Health via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

April 24, 2014

Ankles: Sprains and Pains

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For any building to be upright, it requires a solid foundation. Such is true for the human body: if what’s below the knees goes wonky it can have an effect on the body as a whole. Ankles are incredibly resilient joints but when they take a hit (or a fall or a twist) they can be problematic.

 

Ankle sprains are common, and can be seen in athletes and nonathletes alike. Sprains can result from the ankle turning from a misstep, from stepping down at an angle or from sideways movements. There are clinical rules which help determine who needs imaging- mild sprains may not need to be imaged.

 

Sprains typically result in injury to the ligaments, those soft tissue bands which connect bone to bone. If the ankle is unstable or if symptoms do not improve as expected, imaging with an MRI may be needed. This allows assessment of the bones of the ankle as well as the soft tissues, including the ligaments.

 

A fall from a height may lead to fracture or dislocation (ouch). Plain films of your ankle will be the starting point if fracture is suspected.  If a fracture is complex, CT is excellent at showing the anatomy and helping your surgeon plan treatment.

 

Achilles tendontears are often an event with a distinct injury, sometimes related to a sudden movement and abrupt tensing of the calf muscle (Remember those replays of Lebron James’ injury? Ouch!). Physical exam will often reveal a focal defect in the tendon your doctor can feel. We may want to image to see if the tendon is completely torn and the distance between the torn ends to help with surgical planning. Ultrasound can show this nicely, as can MRI.

 

Tendons about the ankle other than the Achilles can also be injured, torn or inflamed. Injuries to other ankle tendons can also be evaluated with ultrasound, although MRI is more commonly used. Tendons about the ankle include the peroneal tendons on the outer side of the ankle and the posterior tibial tendon on the inside.

 

It’s important to treat ankle injuries, because as a foundation for the body, adding a limp can lead to other problems including back pain (double ugh). If left untreated, ankle sprains can lead to chronic instability.

 

As ever, prevention is the best medicine. Some ankle strengthening exercises can be found here.

(Photo credit: Broken ankle Cast detail by FiDalwood via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

April 22, 2014

Knees: Scrapes, Twists and Tears

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Knees are famous for scrapes (and bees). Little kids play rough and tumble and when they do, they land on ‘em. Little band-aids on a child’s knees are almost – dare we say – cute. They remind us of learning to ride bikes and popsicles on summer days and swingset leaps. Luckily, kids’ knees are resilient.

 

As we get older – not so much. Knees take a beating and unfortunately they’re really only meant to bend in one direction. We could go on and on about knee maladies (arthritis anyone?) but let’s pick one: sports injuries.

 

As we graduate from learning to ride bikes to learning to ski and more, we introduce a lot more opportunities to scrape, bang, twist and torque our knees. Knee injuries are incredibly common, especially in sports. There are a variety of tissues to damage – from bone to muscle to tendons to ligaments. Imaging may be needed to see all of the complex structures.

 

With sports injuries, damage to ligaments may occur, especially with twisting or blows from the side – ligaments (connecting bone to bone) include the anterior cruciate (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligaments which cross (cruciate comes from the Latin for “cross”) the center of the knee. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments stabilize the inner and outer aspects of the knee respectively.

 

Sometimes with a twisting motion, multiple structures will be involved in the injury. MRI is an excellent means of imaging the knee, allowing us to look at bone, soft tissue and cartilage all at the same time. You can even give a good estimation of the way a knee was injured based on the pattern of injuries present on the MRI. Injury to the ACL happens in athletes of all ages. The ligament can be torn partially or completely, and knee instability in a classic pattern will often be found on clinical exam of the knee.  ACL tears are often associated with bone bruises in classic places, and may be associated with damage to the other soft tissue structures, from other ligaments to meniscal tears.

Tendons (which connect muscles to bone) may also be injured – either the quadriceps tendon  coming to the top of the patella (kneecap), or the patellar tendon, coming from the bottom of the patella.  Often the tears can be felt by your doctor on exam. Imaging, often with MRI or with ultrasound, may be necessary to see if the tear is complete and look for other injuries. Muscle injury can also occur, and is well-imaged by MRI.

The menisci are discs of cartilage between the femur and tibia which provide cushioning and which can get torn. This can cause a sensation of something locking in the knee with motion (although other things can also do that) or may just cause pain. Meniscal tears are well-seen on MRI, and may also be evaluated with arthrography.

 

As with shoulders – you want to take care of your knees and keep ‘em strong. This doesn’t mean don’t play – it just means play smart. Other things you can do to help protect your knees can be found here.

(Photo credit: trufflekneehighs by boocub via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

April 15, 2014

Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes by james.swenson13 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Over the next few posts we’re going to highlight some common injuries affecting familiar joints. As the title suggests, we’re starting near the top.

 

But before we get ahead of ourselves and start talking about these individual parts, let’s talk about how we image them…

 

There are many techniques for imaging the body, and the ones we use depend upon the type of injury and the most likely tissues injured. Here’s a gimme: broken bones? We’ll start with an x-ray – perhaps a CT if it’s complex. Here’s a not-so-gimme: soft tissue injury like torn ligament? Options here include MRI, ultrasound and arthrograms.

 

First off, not every injury is imaged. Why? Sometimes a careful exam by your doctor can answer the question – imaging in these cases is not done, unless symptoms do not improve in the expected manner. There are carefully developed rules helping your doctors determine who will benefit the most from imaging in the case of many of the common injuries, for instance ankle sprains.

 

After your doctor’s initial evaluation, you may be sent for imaging. In many cases this will start with conventional films (x-rays) to exclude fractures or other bony changes. Beyond that, a patient will be directed based on the clinical concern.

 

Imaging of patients who have multiple sites of injury from a fall or motor vehicle accident for instance may be done with CT. This allows quick evaluation of bones as well as some types of soft tissue injuries. Multiple structures can be evaluated at the same time with CT, such as looking for fractures in the lower back, while also assessing the abdomen for signs of damage to internal organs.

 

Soft tissue damage, such as torn cartilage or ligaments, will often not be apparent on a conventional film. Visualizing soft tissues can be done with ultrasound, MRI or an arthrogram (where contrast material or dye is introduced into the joint space). We may follow the arthrogram with imaging with MRI or CT.

 

So… we will start our journey of the joints with your shoulders! (See you Thursday!)

 

(Photo credit: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes by james.swenson13 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!