It’s Time to Get Moving Again.

Physical fitness is important at every stage of life – for your health, your heart and your soul. Whether it’s hiking Bishop Peak in San Luis Obispo, kayaking Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles or walking along the beach at Morro Bay, you don’t want to miss out on doing the things you love.

Chronic pain can prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy and affect your daily life. With help from the orthopedic doctors at Tenet Health Central Coast, you can take back control of your life and find relief from chronic pain.

Our Approach to Orthopedics

At Tenet Health Central Coast, we take a multidisciplinary team approach to help ensure continuity of care and to maximize your outcomes. Our program emphasizes early patient education, a standardized plan of care and a compassionate team of doctors, including orthopedic specialists and surgeons, sports medicine doctors and nurses working to help reduce or eliminate your pain.

Our orthopedic team provides the full spectrum of services, including general orthopedics, joint replacement, sports injury treatment and treatment for disorders of the shoulder, upper extremities, foot and ankle.

What Is Orthopedics?

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that is focused on preventing, diagnosing and treating a wide variety of conditions and diseases that affect the bones, joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons, or simply put, the musculoskeletal system.

What Do Orthopedic Surgeons Treat?

An orthopedic doctor helps prevent, diagnose and treat the following conditions, but not limited to the following:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • Arthritis
  • Back or joint pain
  • Bone cancer
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fractures
  • Joint replacement, restoration and resurfacing
  • Limb abnormalities (i.e., clubfoot and bowlegs)
  • Sports injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendon or ligament injuries
  • Tendonitis

Orthopedic doctors complete up to 14 years of education and clinical training including medical school, residency and a fellowship to subspecialize in any of the following:

  • Foot and ankle
  • Hand
  • Hip and knee
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Spine
  • Sports medicine
  • Trauma surgery

What Types of Treatment and Procedures Are Done by Orthopedic Surgeons?

Nonsurgical Treatments

Our orthopedic surgeons in San Luis Obispo will first focus on nonsurgical, conservative treatments before recommending surgery such as:

  • Exercises – Specific exercises or stretches may help improve flexibility, strength and range of motion in a specific area.
  • Immobilization – Preventing strain or restricting movement with a brace, splint or cast can sometimes heal an injury.
  • Medications – Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or certain prescription drugs like corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medicine may relieve pain and swelling.
  • Changes to lifestyle – These may include changes in your physical activity, diet and exercise.

Surgical Treatments

When a condition doesn’t heal or improve with conservative treatments, an orthopedic surgeon in San Luis Obispo may recommend surgery. The most common types of orthopedic surgery include:

  • Fusion – Often used in neck and spine surgery, this involves connecting two bones together using bone graft material with a fixation. As the bone tissue heals, it fuses into one bone.
  • Internal fixation – The placement of hardware, such as rods, screws, pins and plates, is used to hold broken bones in place while they heal.
  • Joint replacement – Replacing damaged or diseased parts of a joint. Joint replacement is used on knee replacement and hip replacement surgery.
  • Osteotomy – Sometimes used to treat arthritis, part of a bone is cut and repositioned.
  • Release surgery – Specific to carpal tunnel syndrome, this surgery relieves symptoms by reducing pressure on the median nerve.
  • Soft tissue repair – Used to repair critically damaged muscles, ligaments or tendons.

Why Do My Joints Hurt?

Joints, the parts of your body where your bones meet to allow movement, include your shoulders, hips, elbows and knees. Joint pain can be the result of an injury, but other conditions or factors may include any of the following:

  • Bursitis
  • Cancer
  • Chondromalacia of the patella (breakdown of cartilage in the kneecap)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Infection of the bone or joint
  • Infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza and hepatitis
  • Lupus
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overuse of the joint
  • Rickets
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon)

How to Manage Chronic Joint Pain

Talk to your orthopedic specialist about your chronic joint pain symptoms, and together you can identify the source of the pain and discuss a treatment plan that takes into consideration your overall health and lifestyle.

Over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can be used to manage pain, but a combination of treatments may be more effective. In addition to medication, treatment can include the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Psychological counseling

What Is a Hand Surgeon?

Hand surgeons care for problems of the hand, wrist and forearm. They are orthopedic, plastic or general surgeons who have additional training in surgery of the hand. They are specially trained to operate when necessary, but hand surgeons also care for hand, wrist and forearm problems without surgery.

When you have pain in your fingers, hand, wrist or arm or other upper-extremity-related concerns, you may want to consult a hand surgeon. Tenet Health Central Coast has an orthopedic hand specialist on staff that can recommend nonsurgical treatment options, including hand therapy, to restore movement and reduce or eliminate pain, or perform surgery if needed.

Conditions Treated by a Hand Surgeon

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cuts on the fingers and hand
  • Sports injuries to the hand and wrist
  • Wrist pain

What Is a Sports Medicine Doctor?

Many people think sports medicine doctors only treat professional athletes. This is not true. A sports medicine doctor is a doctor with extra training in conditions that often affect professional athletes, but also anyone active in sports or just physically active in general.

Sports medicine physicians specialize in the nonoperative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Sports medicine physicians, trained in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury, are well qualified to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes or active individuals who simply want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When Should You See a Sports Medicine Doctor Tenet Health Central Coast?

  • If you have an injury that doesn’t improve in two weeks, even after you’ve seen your primary care doctor.
  • If you have a complicated injury related to overtraining or overuse, like shin splints.
  • If you have a chronic condition, like tendonitis in your shoulder, knee or hip.
  • If you have a sports injury that requires surgery.
  • If you have a sports injury that causes a concussion.
  • If you are an athlete with chronic or acute conditions, like asthma, diabetes or mononucleosis.

In addition to providing comprehensive medical care for both athletes and non-athletes, sports medicine physicians are excellent resources for those who want to become active or begin and exercise program.

What Is the Difference Between Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy?

Sports medicine focuses on the comprehensive medical care for sports teams, athletes and physically active individuals. This branch of medicine aims to prevent, diagnose and treat sports injuries, as well as help sports enthusiasts and people who exercise achieve their training and athletic goals. A sports medicine team is usually comprised of sports medicine doctors, sports coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists.

On the other hand, physical therapy is focused on diagnosing, treating and providing recovery methods for medical and health-related conditions that affect a person’s mobility and quality of life. Physical therapists help patients get pain relief, prevent surgery or disability, recover from a sports injury, broken bone or surgery, work on balance or learn to use mobility assistive devices like a cane or a walker, etc.

Why Choose Tenet Health Central Coast for Orthopedics?

Whether you’re already considering joint replacement surgery or simply wondering if it’s possible to live with less pain, Tenet Health Central Coast can help with safe orthopedic care, close to home.

When you choose Tenet Health Central Coast, you benefit from:

  • Complete, high-quality orthopedic care for your back, spine, knee, hip and other ailing joints.
  • Advanced, comprehensive orthopedic care – from diagnosis to outcome.
  • An experienced team of experts who offer multidisciplinary care in a compassionate environment where patients come first.
  • The latest minimally invasive solutions to reduce or eliminate your pain without an extended hospital stay.

Healthy Conversations

Learn more about orthopedics, chronic pain and the services we provide by listening to “Healthy Conversations,” the official podcast series of Tenet Health Central Coast. Recent orthopedic-related episodes include:

  • “Got Shoulder Problems? Let’s Talk about Rotator Cuff Tears” featuring Kevin Forsythe, MD
  • “Joint Replacement Surgery” featuring Dimitri Delagrammaticas, MD

Find an Orthopedic Specialist

Request one of our specialists to get a second opinion, or a really good first one.

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