Letting Go of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Imagine crawling into bed after a hard day's work only to be awakened every 45 minutes by tremendous pain in your wrist and hand. This was a reality for Charlie Woods before he sought help from Dr. Andrew Foret, hand and wrist specialist at Center for Orthopaedics.

"Every night I would wake constantly throughout the night because it felt like my hand was caught in a vice," said Woods.

Dr. Foret says this is a classic symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the most common causes of wrist and hand pain. "Although most people think of the hands when they think of carpal tunnel pain, it can affect the wrist too, and actually starts there, when the median nerve, which is on the palm side of the hand, becomes compressed by other structures in the wrist."

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Sacking Hip Injuries

For a quarterback, aches and pains are just as much a part of the game as touchdowns and tackles. But for Seth Bohannon, quarterback for the Sulphur High School Golden Tor football team, the pain in his hip wasn't the result of a hard hit or overuse. It was the result of an abnormality within his hip joint called FAI.

FAI (femoroacetabular impingement) is a relatively common condition defined in simple terms as too much friction in the hip joint. According to Dr. John Noble, orthopaedic surgeon at Center for Orthopaedics, patients with FAI experience a sharp, stabbing pain when they turn, twist or squat. It may also be a constant, dull ache. "The condition can lead to numerous pain-causing conditions, including cartilage damage, labral tears, early hip arthritis, hyperlaxity, sports hernias, and low back pain."

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Thawing the Big Freeze

Horrible. Excruciating. Awful. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the pain of "frozen shoulder" by people who suffer from this mysterious condition. Liz Trahan of Lake Charles is one of those people. She had been noticing some pain, especially during the night, in her shoulder for a couple of months, but ignored it – as most busy, working parents are likely to do. Then she fell recently while running up a set of stairs in her home and landed on her shoulder. "It was terrible. My hand and fingers felt numb, while my upper arm and shoulder were in almost unbearable pain. I thought if I gave it a day or two, it might ease up and eventually go away. Instead it continued to hurt and throb." Because of the previous pain, she had not been using her arm to the full extent and now with the pain from the fall she could barely even move her arm. Routine things such as reaching out the car window to get the mail or using the ATM machine were nearly impossible without experiencing intense, severe pain. "I knew then that this was more than a bruise or pulled muscle that I could ignore until it went away," she said.

Trahan sought the help of orthopaedic surgeon and shoulder specialist J. Trappey, MD, with Center for Orthopaedics. After a physical exam and x-ray, he gave her the diagnosis: frozen shoulder.

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Partial Replacement Provides Complete Mobility

After years of pain and several surgeries, Donald Pitre knew it was finally time for a more permanent surgical solution for the arthritis in his knee. The pain in his left knee, caused by years of playing basketball in his youth followed by years of working on his feet, was unrelenting and limited his activities. He knew he needed a new knee, but he worried about the outcome. The 46-year-old aircraft mechanic wasn't ready to undergo a total knee replacement.

"The pain was constant, but I was worried about having a total knee replacement at my age," Pitre said. "I was worried I still might not be able to do all the things I needed to do. I also wondered how long it would last. I was very happy when Dr. Drez, who had been my doctor for years, told me he had a new option he felt was the perfect fit for me. At the time, I just didn't realize he meant the part about the 'perfect fit' literally."

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New Knee Replacement Provides Custom Fit

Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. John Noble Jr. with Center for Orthopaedics, is using innovative new technology called Visionaire Patient Match, to perform patient-customized knee replacement surgery. Visionaire, developed by Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics, allows Dr. Noble to provide patients with a knee replacement procedure that is engineered specifically for their knee anatomy. "Every person's knee joint has subtle differences in shape and contour," Dr. Noble explains. "Traditional surgical instruments have been one-size-fits-all, even though each individual's anatomy is inherently unique. This technology enables us to account for those differences before the surgery even begins."

Lucy Andrews was one of Dr. Noble's first Visionaire patients. She says she had suffered with grinding pain in her knee for months caused by arthritis. "It had gotten so bad that I couldn't walk very far, bend down or carry anything when I was walking. Once Dr. Noble told me I was a candidate for the new technique, I felt really good about it. It made sense to me that a joint replacement procedure designed just for me would work better than a standard surgery."

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Reversing the Pain with Innovative New Shoulder Replacement

Think about all the lifting, reaching, pulling and pushing you do every day – whether it's bringing in a bag of groceries, combing your hair, sweeping the floor, hammering a nail or throwing a ball. With all we demand of our shoulders, it's really not that surprising that shoulder pain is a very common problem.

Geoffrey Collins, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and shoulder specialist with Center for Orthopaedics, explains that what most people call the shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion to the arm. Mobility can take a toll, however. "Over time, repetitive motion activities on the job or through sports activities may lead to shoulder pain."

For Mable Moore, age 66, of Moss Bluff, it was her years of work in a school cafeteria and as a janitor that caught up with her after she retired. She had severe arthritis in both of her shoulders. "The pain was so bad I could barely lift my arms. I couldn't do anything around my house; I couldn't even wash my hair. That's when I knew I had to do something."

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