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Numerous orthopedic conditions affect the musculoskeletal system. Browse the below topics to learn about injuries, symptoms, and treatments.  

But first, you may want to be inspired by Mallory. When she was diagnosed with a rare bone disorder, her parents found the perfect solution. "To realize that something like this could be done right here, and the standard of care that we witnessed all the way through, has just been absolutely excellent," the Robinson family said.


Ankle Injuries: Ankle sprains and broken ankles are the most common ankle injuries. A sprain occurs when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint stretch too far and tear. A break occurs when one or more of the bones in the ankle fractures. Both ankle sprains and broken ankles can be caused by missteps, overuse, falls, and high impact activity. Various forms of arthritis, including gout, can also affect the ankle joint. 

Ankle Injury Symptoms: Ankle injury symptoms will vary depending on the severity of your injury. You may experience swelling, bruising, intense pain, and difficulty putting weight on your foot.

Ankle Injury Treatments: Minor ankle injuries will benefit from the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). An X-ray may be required to determine if you’ve fractured any of the bones in your ankle. In the event of a severe ankle injury, immobilization, casting, or surgery may be necessary. Your course of treatment will depend on the nature of your injury or condition, and our team may refer you to Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s podiatry practice


Most Common Arthritis Diagnoses
 a common form of arthritis in which the bones and cartilage deteriorate, causing pain
Tendinitis: when an inflamed or irritated tendon causes pain around the joint. Tendinitis most commonly occurs in the wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees, and heels

Underlying Autoimmune Conditions

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation to the wrist and hand, feet, or knees  
  • Fibromyalgia: a chronic condition characterized widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, headaches, anxiety and depression, and brain fog
  • Lupus: an inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs, including the joints  
  • Juvenile Arthritis: an umbrella term for inflammatory and autoimmune conditions –also known as pediatric rheumatic diseases – that occur in children under 16 
  • Gout: a complex form of arthritis in which uric acid crystals deposit in the joints (usually the toes) and cause swelling, redness, and pain    
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: this form of arthritis occurs in patients who have psoriasis, a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the skin. Psoriatic arthritis can result in painful, stiff and swollen joints, including swelling of the fingers and toes

Arthritis treatments will vary depending upon your diagnosis. Some patients will benefit from finding the right medication and dosage for pain management, some will respond to physical therapy, others may require surgical intervention for joint repair. Our team of highly qualified orthopedic surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and support staff will help you determine which course of treatment is right for you. 

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms: If the ligaments in the carpal tunnel are inflamed, you may experience pain in the wrist and hand, numbness and/or tingling in the thumb, index, and middle finger, or weakness in the hand. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment: Mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with rest and ice. Some patients may benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or a wrist splint to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Your doctor may decide that corticosteroid injections are an effective form of pain management. In some cases, patients may require surgery. The St. Lawrence Health System’s orthopedic practice is home to St. Lawrence County’s only Hand Therapy Program.


Elbow Injuries: Elbow injuries are often due to overuse of the hand, wrist, and arm. Tendinitis, also known as tennis elbow, is one of the most common elbow injuries and happens when the tendons attaching the lower arm muscles to the bone become inflamed. Elbow pain may also be the result of a strain, sprain, or fracture. 

Elbow Injury Symptoms: Symptoms will vary based on your injury but may include swelling, pain, bruising, and numbness around the elbow and difficulty straightening and/or rotating the arm.

Elbow Injury Treatments: Minor elbow injuries can benefit from the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Our team may prescribe physical therapy, pain management, or other treatments depending on your condition. 

Hands and Wrists

Hand and Wrist Injuries: Common hand and wrist injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and sprains and fractures to the fingers, thumb and wrist. It’s also possible to develop a ganglion cyst, a soft tissue mass that occurs when fluid from the joint leaks into nearby tissue. 

Hand and Wrist Injury Symptoms will vary depending on your injury or condition and may include pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, and stiffness in the wrist or fingers.

Treatment for your hand or wrist injury may include physical therapy, pain management, immobilization with a cast or a brace, or surgery. The St. Lawrence Health System orthopedic practice is home to St. Lawrence County’s only Hand Therapy Program. 


Hip Injuries: The hip joint allows us to run, sit, stand, and walk. Hip injuries can result from trauma, like a fall or a car accident, or from injury and overuse. Common hip injuries include fractures (when the femur is broken), dislocation (when the head of the femur is no longer in its socket), bursitis (when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints become swollen and inflamed), and osteoarthritis (when the cartilage in the hip joint wears away over time). 

Hip Injury Symptoms: The location of your hip pain will differ depending on your injury or condition. You may feel pain inside or outside the hip joint, in the groin, or in the buttocks. Your pain may radiate throughout the hip. You may have a limp or reduced range of motion. 

Hip Injury Treatments: Our team will determine the best course of treatment for your condition. Hip injury treatments vary: some muscle and tendon disorders can be treated with rest, pain management, and physical therapy. Some patients may require a hip resurfacing or a total joint replacement. 


Knee Injuries: Because the knee is a complex joint, it can be prone to injury. Common knee injuries include fractures, dislocation, and tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and the medial collateral ligament (MCL). It’s also possible to tear your meniscus and tendons.

Knee Injury Symptoms: Knee injury symptoms can include swelling, instability, pain, or stiffness around the knee. You may hear crunching or popping noises coming from the knee, and you may not be able to fully straighten the affected leg. If you have noticeable swelling, see an obvious injury in your leg or knee, or can’t put weight on your leg, then you should visit a doctor immediately. 

Knee Treatment: The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) can be helpful in reducing inflammation for minor knee injuries. Our team may prescribe physical therapy or various forms of pain management depending on your condition. If you’ve torn a ligament or damaged your meniscus, you may require surgical joint repair or the attention of a sports medicine specialist. If your knee is severely damaged, you may receive a total joint replacement in which the knee is replaced by a prosthetic joint.

Getting Relief From Pain - video

Colleen suffered from progressing knee pain. When cortisone and gel shots were no longer effective, she had to make a decision. 


Shoulder Injuries: Most shoulder injuries can be grouped into two categories: instability and impingement. 
     Instability occurs when the shoulder joint is no longer its usual position. If you have an instability problem, you’ll likely feel pain when raising your arm. 
     Impingement occurs when the shoulder muscles rub against the shoulder blade. If you’re experiencing shoulder impingement, you may feel pain when reaching overhead. 

Shoulder Injury Symptoms will vary depending on your injury but may include upper arm pain, aching pain, pain while sleeping on your side, joint instability, difficulty with movements like putting on a shirt or combing your hair, and popping, clicking or catching in the shoulder. 

Rotator Cuff Tears are common among athletes and people who do repetitive work. A rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that cover the head of the humerus and attach it to the scapula. When the rotator cuff tears, it is no longer fully attached to the head of the humerus. Tears can be either partial or complete and can result either from acute injury or wear and tear over time.

Treatment for shoulder injuries vary, and our team will determine the appropriate treatment based on your condition. Some patients heal with rest, pain management, and physical therapy. Other patients require surgery, which can include reverse shoulder arthroplasty, arthroscopy and joint replacement or joint repair.