UMEM Educational Pearls - Orthopedics

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Management of Felons (Infections that is)

Keywords: felon, management, incision (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/24/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 10/25/2008) (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Management of Felons

  • An abscess of distal finger that involves the pulp. 
  • A difficult infection to treat due to fibrous septa that divide the pulp into multiple small compartments. 
  • These septa run from the periosteum to the skin increasing the risk of osteomyelitis
  • Patients typically present with a lot of pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Typically triggered by a puncture wound (i.e.: splinter)
  • Incision and Drainage can result in a:
    • anesthetic finger tip
    • unstable finger pad
    • neuroma
  • If you are going to drain one it is recommended that you do a volar longitudinal incision down the middle of the finger pad or a high lateral incision. 
  • The high lateral incision should be at about 5 mm below the nail plate border. This distance should allow for avoiding the more volar neurovascular structures.

For good photos of the incision technique please visit the reference article listed.

Clark, DC. Common Acute Hand Infections. Am Fam Physician 2003;68:2167-76

Show References



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Mallet Finger

Keywords: Mallet Finger, Extensor Tendon Injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/5/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Mallet Finger:

A common injury resulting in a tear or avulsion of the extensor digitorium tendon inserting into  the base of the distal phalanx.  Occurs due to hyperflexion of the finger usually as of a esult of it getting jammed on a ball while playing sports.  Most can be treated non-surgically.

The distal phalanx must be kept in full extension for 6 to 8 weeks. This is one of the few times that the finger should not be splinted in the position of function.

Make sure that patient is informed that if they remove the splint and flex their finger the 6 to 8 week healing window will be reset to day 0.  These patients should not be doing ROM exercises and must wear the splint full time.



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Splint Pearls

Keywords: Splint, Basic, Position (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/23/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Splinting Pearls:

  1. When using plaster of paris remember to use at least 10 layers for upper extremities and 15-20 layers for lower extremities.
  2. Always apply the splint so that the joint above and below the fracture is immobilized.
  3. On radius and ulnar fractures, a sugar tong splint will provide better immobilzation as it also prevents supination/pronation where a posterior long arm or volar splint only prevent flexion and extension.
  4. Remember to make sure that the hand is placed in the position of function.
  5. Though not required a stockinette provides an additional layer of skin protection and helps to make the ends of the splint looking cleaner.  It can also help hold the splint in place as you ace wrap it.
  6. Finally, make sure that you document neurovascular status pre and post splint placement and if any manipulation is done you should have a follow up xray taken to ensure alignment is satisfactory.


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Olecranon Bursitis

Keywords: olecranon, bursitiis, septic, treatment (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/17/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Olecranon Bursitis is inflammation and swelling of the bursa overlying the olecranon process of the ulna.  Can result from trauma, overuse, or infection. 

Treatment can consist of:

  • Aspiration:  Can be done to rule out infection [send gram stain, culture, and cell count], and be therapeutic by removing the excess fluid.
  • NSAIDs
  • Local injection of corticosteroids into the bursa
  • Wearing of a neopryne elbow sleeve, or ace wraps to provide compression over the bursa and may help prevent reaccumulation of the fluid.

Remember aspiration has some major risks that need to be explained to the paitent:

  • Infection may be introduced during the aspiration.  [Follow aseptic techniques and ensure that the skin is adequately prepped with chlorhexidine or betadiene].
  • Formation of fistula tract with chronic drainage. [Use a Z or zigzap approach to minimize this complication.]
  • Ulnar nerve injury.  Avoided by using a posterior lateral approach and avoiding a medial approach.

They also need to know that the fluid will likely reaccumulate.  So aspiration is not a guaranteed cure. 



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Tessaly Test for Meniscal Injuries

Keywords: Tessaly, Meniscal, Tear, Knee Exam (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/2/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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When examining a knee for a meniscal injury the commonly described tests are the McMurray Test and Apley Test.  However, these tests have sensitivities of 48-68% and 41% respectfully, and specificities of 86-94% and 86-93% respectfully.  Depending on whether you are looking at the medical or lateral meniscus.

The Tessaly Test that was first described in 2005 can be performed with knee in either 5 or 20 degrees of flexion and has a senstivity of 89-92% and specificity of 96-97% when performed in 20 degrees flexion.  The test also tends to be easier to perform.

To perform the test:

  1. Stand on affected leg only with the other leg held up in the air.  The examiner holds hands for balance.
  2. Flex knee to be test to 20 degrees, while the other leg is held in the air
  3. Internally and Externally Rotate Knee
  4. Positive test is pain at medial or lateral joint line with possible locking/catching sensation

Essentially you and your patient will look like you are doing the twist as they rotate their knee with you holding their hands.

 

 

Show References



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Fracture Management

Keywords: Fracture, Management, Billing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/20/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Fracture Management:

 

In order to maximize billing when caring for patients with fractures two things should be done:

  1. The physician does not need to place the splint, but the physican must document that they checked the splint for proper placement and alignment for it to be billed appropriately..
  2. Emergency physicians also provide a lot of "definitive" care for fractures.  (i.e.: we provide the same care that the treating specialist would provide) and can bill for a higher level if this is documented properly. 
    1. For instance, if you are treating a impacted, stable distal radius fracture with a splint and pain medication this is the same definitive care the orthopedist would do as they are only going to exchange your splint for  a cast. 
    2. Another example is the treatment of rib fractures which may consist only of pain control, incentive spirometry and instructions to prevent pneumonia.
    3. In these patients, have the patients follow up more than 48 hours later.  If you document that the patient will followup in less than 48 hours, most auditors and billing companies will assume you are not providing definitive care and will not code for the higher earning RVU.

Finally,  you should obtain post-reduction x-rays on any fracture that you manipulate and document that the patient is neurovascularly intact prior to discharge.



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Scaphoid Fracture

Keywords: scaphoid, fracture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/13/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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SCAPHOID FRACTURE:

  • One of the most frequently missed fractures in the ED
  • Most common carpal fracture.
  • 10-20% fractures are “occult”
  • Significant long-term complications:
    • Non-union
    • Avascular necrosis
  • Complications more common due to the fact the blood supply comes form from the distal end of the bone.
  • The more distal the fracture, the greater risk of complications
  • MR remains the best test for occult fx.


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Joint Fluid Analysis

Keywords: Arthrocentesis, Joint, Fluid, Septic (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/6/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Joint Fluid Analysis:

This is hte session in Baltimore for crab eating and beer drinking so we begin to see an increase in Gout pain.  For those that are presenting with their first episode and you are concerned that they might have a septic joint, I am including this pearl to help analysis the fluid you will obtain from arthrocentesis.

 

Synovial Fluid Interpretation
Diagnosis Appearance WBC PMNs Glucose % of
Blood Level
Crystals
 Normal  Clear  <200  <25  95 - 100  None
 Degenerative
Joint Disease
 Clear  <4000  <25  95 - 100  None
 Traumatic
Arthritis
 Straw colored  <4000  <25  95 - 100  None
 Acute Gout  Turbid  2000 - 50,000  >75  80 - 100  Negative birefringence
 PseudoGout  Turbid 2000 - 50,000  >75  80 - 100  Positive birefringence  
 Septic Arthritis  Purulent / turbid  5000 - > 50,000  >75  < 50  None
 Rheumatoid
Arthritis
 Turbid  2000 - 50,000  50-75  ~75  None

 To view a gout crystal click this link.

To view a pseudogout crystal. Click this link

Pearls: 

  • A WBC Count >50,000 is septic arthritis until cultures are negative. 
  • Due to the wide range of WBC for septic arthritis have a high index of suspicion and do not discount the diagnosis because the WBC count is only 10,000.

Show References



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Calcaneus Fractures

Keywords: calcaneus, fracture, compartment (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/29/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Calcaneus Fractures

Normally occur due to axial loading mechanism such as:

  •     Fall from height
  •     Motor Vehicle collisions
  •     Repetitive impacts on a hard surface such as seen with running or jumping.

Miscellanous Facts:

  1. 70% of calcaneal fractures are intra-articular
  2. 10-15% are associated with spinal compression fractures
  3. Estimated that 7-10% will have a fracture of the contralateral foot
  4. Monitor for compartment syndrome of the foot.  Deep central compartment is most commonly affected with calcaneus fractures

Pearls:

  1. Strongly consider getting Lumbar Spine Films and x-rays of the opposite foot in anybody that has a calcaneus fracture.
  2. Perform frequent reassessments, and do not hesitate to check compartment pressures if you suspect they might be elevated.


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Hip Fractures

Keywords: hip, fracture, mri, plain films (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/21/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Hip Fractures:

Typically divided into four types:

  1. Intracapsular,
    1. femoral head and neck fractures
  2. Extracapsular
    1.  trochanteric,
    2. Intertrochanteric
    3. subtrochanteric fractures. 
  • Non-displaced fractures, especially in osteoporotic elderly patients, may be missed on plain films. This is estimated to occur in 2-9% of cases. 
  • It can take up to 72 hours for a fracture to be seen on bone scan. And it is estimated that only 80% of fractures will be seen at 24 hours.
  • MRI is now the preferred imaging modality (100% sensitivity and specificity) to confirm a hip fracture when plain films are negative and equivocal. A MRI will have positive findings in as little as 4 hours after a fracture.
  • Consider CT scan of the hip if MRI is not available at your center.

Here is a link to a picture with a good representation of the different types of fractures.

Show References



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Lisfranc Fractures

Keywords: Lisfranc Fracture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/2/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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  Lisfranc Fracture:

Typically consists of a fracture of the base of the second metatarsal and dislocation, though it can also be associated with fractures of a cuboid.  Common current  mechanism is when a person steps into a hole and twists the foot.Originally described when a horseman would fall of their horse with their foot still trapped in a stirrup.

Diagnosis should be considered if patient has difficult weight bearing with pain on palpation over the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal head with an appropriate mechanism.

Pearls:

  • Fracture findings on plain films may be subtle.
  • Can obtain weight bearing AP views of the foot to demonstrate dislocation/fracture.
  • If still suspicious consider a CT scan of the foot.


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Clavicle Fractures

Keywords: Clavicle, fracture, surgery (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/25/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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I remember being taught as a medical student that clavicle fractures could be treated conservatively.  A direct quote was "if both ends of the clavicle are in the same room it will heal".

Though conservative treatment with a sling for 6 weeks with early pendulum ROM exercises for the shoulder is appropriate for the vast majority of clavicle fractures surgery should be considered for those that have:

  1. An open fracture
  2. Significant angulation with tenting of the skin
  3. Midshaft fractures that have overlap or displacement greater than 1 cm.
  4. Displaced fractures of the distal clavicle [high rate of non-union]
  5. Surgery can also be beneficial to those that do a lot of lifting or want to return to work as quick as possible.

 



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Extensor Tendon Injuries

Keywords: Mallet finger, Extensor Injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/18/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Extensor Tendon Injuries [Mallet Finger]

  • Due to jamming the finger or to use a Pittsburgh term "stoving it".
  • Can result in a swan neck deformity or permanent flexion of the DIP joint.
  • Due to stretching of the extensor tendon,or avulsion of the extensor tendon off the distal phalanx.
  • Approximately 50% will develop a complication.
  • Conservative treatment is splinting the DIP joint in full extension for 5-6 weeks. 
    • The DIP joint must not be flexed for the full treatment period.
    • If the patient does flex their DIP, the 5-6 week time frame needs to completely restart.
  • Due to the high complication rate all of these patients should be referred to a hand specialist early.


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Posterior Interosseous Nerve Compression Syndrome

Keywords: Posterior Interosseous Nerve, Compression, Radial Tunnel (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/11/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Posterior Interosseous Nerve Compression Syndrome

As eluded to last week Posterior Interosseous Nerve (PIN) Compression Syndrome, a deep branch of the radial nerve, is felt to be radial tunnel syndrome with paralysis.

  • Symptoms depend on whether the PIN is compressed before or after it divides into medial and lateral branches.
    • Before: Results in complete paralysis of the digital extensors, and extensor Capri ulnaris. Wrist will become dorsoradial deviated.
    • After-Medial Branch: Paralysis of extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor digiti quinti, and extensor digitorum communis
    • After-Lateral Branch: Paralysis of abductor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis brevis, extensor pollicis longus, and extensor indicis proprius
  • Common causes:
    • Synovitis and Joint Ganglions
    • Nerve compression following fracture repair
    • Idiopathic Compression can occur at these sites
      • Fibrous bands anterior to the radial head
      • Tendinous origin of Extensor Carpri Radialis Brevis
      • Arcade of Froshe –Most common, it is the tendinous proximal border of supinator
      • Distal Edge of Supinator –Least Common
  • Exam:
    • Increased pain with resisted supination of the forearm
    • Supination with Wrist Flexion symptoms will likely be reproduced.
    • Pain with resisted extension of the middle finger
    • Unable to extend thumbs or fingers at MCP joints, but can extend at PIP and DIP joints


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Keywords: Radial Tunnel Syndrome (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/3/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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For those at the University of Maryland that got the chance to hear my lecture this week, you learned about Cubital tunnel syndrome [ulnar neuropathy], the second most common compressive neuropathy.  Carpal Tunnel syndrome remains the number one compressive neuropathy, and this pearl, for the sake of completeness, will address Radial tunnel syndrome.

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

  • Believed to be due to overuse, frequently due to excessive elbow extension or forearm rotation.
  • May actually just be an early stage of posterior interosseous nerve syndrome.
  • Due to compression of the radial nerve as it passes a fibrous band that is attached to the radiocapitellar joint, and the tendinous origins of two muscles, extersor carpi radialis brevis and the supinator.
  • Patients typically have l pain along the anteriolateral forearm.
  • Pain is increased by extending the elbow and pronating the forearm.
  • This syndrome is associated mostly with pain
  • Weakness and numbness are not often seen.

 

Stay tuned for next week for Posterior Interosseous Nerve syndrome.



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Turf Toe

Keywords: Turf Toe (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/27/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Turf Toe:

Most commonly seen in atheletes who compete on artificial turf.  Presents as pain over the 1st Metatarsalphalangeal  (MTP) joint. 

  • Due to a tear of the Metatarsal phalangeal Joint Capsule
  • Results in subluxation or dislocation of the MTP joint
  • Occurs due to:
    • Hyperextension (most common)
    • Hyperflexion
    • Valgus stress
  • Treatment:
    • NSAIDS
    • Rest
    • Orthosis -- Prevents dorsiflexion during athletic activities

 



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Achilles Tendon Rupture

Keywords: Achilles Tendon Rupture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/19/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Achilles Tendon Rupture

  • Most commonly occurs in males age 30-50 years that participate in occasional high intensity sports that are associated with jumping or quick starts.  [i.e.: Basketball, racquetball, tennis, squash, etc].
    • Exact mechanism is a sudden eccentric force that is applied to a dorsiflexed foot.
  • Rupture is also associated with fluoroquinolone and glucocorticoid use.
  • Patient will often hear or feel a sudden snap in the back of the ankle or calf.
  • Typically ruptures 2-6cm proximal to its insertion on to the calcaneous where its blood supply is the least.
  • On physical exam:
    • the patient is unable to plantar flex the foot, raise up on toes, and may have calf swelling. 
    • You may be able to palpate a gap in the achilles tendon.
    • Two specific tests for achilles tendon rupture.
      • Thompson test:  with the leg extended and the foot in neutral position, squeeze the calf muscles.  A positive test is when the foot does not plantar flex when the muscles are squeezed.
      • O’Brien needle test:  Insert a small gauge needle perpendicular to the skin into the proximal (about 10 cm from the calcaneous) achilles tendon. Passively dorsiflex and plantar flex the ankle and foot. If the needle moves in the opposite direction of the movement then the achilles tendon is intact.
  • Treatment
    • Refer to orthopedics
    •  Place the patient in a posterior splint with the foot and ankle in slight plantar flexion. 
      • Ideally this will bring the two tendon ends together and speed healing.

This addition was sent in my Dr. Andrew Milstein:

Thanks for the Orthopedics update.  A few pearls for Achilles Tendon Rupture --> often these patients may present like a typical ankle sprain patient and are placed in a hallway chair.  You can't do an adequate Thompson Test while someone is sitting in a chair.  If you're concerned, lay them down on a stretcher to do the test.



Category: Orthopedics

Title: DeQuervain's and Intersection Syndrome

Keywords: DeQuervain, Intersection, Tenosynovitis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/30/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

DeQuervain and Intersection Syndromes:
 

  • DeQuervain's Syndrome (Tenosynovitis of the Abductor Pollicus Longus and Extensor Pollicus Brevis tendons) is a common disorder that has received a lot of press lately as BlackBerry Thumb or Gamer's Thumb.
    • This condition can be diagnosised by the Finklestein test [Have the patient bend their thumb into the palm of their hand, and then make a fist.  They should then ulnar deviate their wrist.  Pain along the tendons secures the diagnosis.]
    • The pain of DeQuervain's syndrome is typically along the distal end of the radius at the base of the thumb.
  • Intersection syndrome is a less common disorder though closely related to DeQuervain's Syndrome
    • The pain is usually felt on the top of the forearm about three inches proximal to the wrist. 
    • The pain from this condition is due to tenosynovitis of the Extensor carpi radialis longus and Extensor Carpi radialis brevis muscles/tendons caused by the intersection of them with the Extensor pollicus brevis and Abductor pollicus longus tendons.
    • Occurs due to excessive wrist movements.
    • Intersection syndrome can be seen in weight lifters, skiers, and can be seen in homeowners in the fall and winter when they rake a lot of leaves or shovel snow.
  • Treatment is the similar for both conditions and consists of:
    • NSAIDS
    • Cortisone injections can be effective
    • Thumb and wrist immobilization with a Thumb Spica Splint or Cock Up Wrist Splint
       


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Sternoclavicular Dislocation

Keywords: Sternoclavicular, Dislocation, Posterior (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/24/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Sternoclavicular Dislocation:

  • A rare cause of chest/shoulder pain following trauma, but one that can be associated with serious vascular injuries.
  • Anterior dislocations of the Sternoclavicular(SC) Joint are much more common  than posterior and  usually resulting from  blow to the anterior shoulder that rotates the shoulder backward and transmits the stress to the medial clavicle and SC joint.
  • A blow to the posteior shoulder that drives the shoulder forward or a direct blow to the medial clavicle can cause a posterior dislocation.
  • Anterior SC dislocations
    • Generally not associated with any underlying injury and can be safely reduced in the ED. 
    • Ligaments and joint capsule entrapment can make it difficult to reduce the joint, and often it is difficult to maintain the reduction. 
    • It is not uncommon for these to require open reducation and internal fixation.
    • Can be reducted by abducting, extending, and applying traction to the ipsilateral arm/shoulder while applying posterior and inferior pressure on the medial clavicle.
  • Posterior SC dislocations
    • Rare
    • Associated with injuries to the underlying vasculature,  dyspnea due to tracheal compression, and parasthesias.
    • Often missed on plain films (CXR, Shoulder Series or Clavicular Series)
    • Best visualized with enhanced CT Scan of the Chest.  IV enhancement recommended to ensure that their is no associated vascular injury.
    • Can be reducted by abducting, extending, and applying traction to the ipsilateral arm/shoulder while pulling the clavicle forward.  Several references recommend using a towel clip to grasp the clavicle if you are unable to grab it effectively with your fingers. 

Sorry this is being delivered to you late.

 



Category: Orthopedics

Title: Metacarpal Neck Fractures

Keywords: Metacarpal, Fracture, Boxer's Fracture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/2/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Metacarpal Neck Fractures (i.e.: Boxer’s Fracture if 5th Metacarpal)

Depending on the MCP joint involved a certain amount of angulation is permissible before it adversely affects normal function.

  • 2nd and 3rd Metacarpal fractures < 10۫ angulation ideally these should be perfectly aligned.
  • 4th Metacarpal fracture <20۫ angulation allowed
  • 5th Metacarpal fracture <30۫ angulation. 
    • Studies have shown that even 30۫ angulation will decrease normal function by 20%.  
    • Normal excursion of the 5th MCP is 15۫ to 25۫.
  • No amount of rotation deformity should be allowed.