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5 Common Myths About Arthritis

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Beverly Hills Inflammatory Joint Disease SpecialistArthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in the U.S., with more than 50 million Americans suffering from some form of inflammatory disease. However, despite how common arthritis is, there are several misconceptions and myths that can make it confusing for patients seeking relief from their symptoms and improvement in their quality of life.

As an orthopedic oncologist in Los Angeles, Daniel C. Allison, MD, FACS has extensive training and expertise in both preventing joint degeneration and arthritis treatment. With more than 100 types of joint diseases, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, it is essential to work with a joint specialist who can dispel any myths associated with the disease and create a comprehensive treatment plan to give you the relief you deserve.

Myths about arthritis can widely vary from who’s most likely to develop the disease to cures using household spices. Let’s set the record straight about arthritis treatment and debunk some long-held myths.

The 5 Most Common Myths About Joint Degeneration and Arthritis Treatment

1. Arthritis is an Old Person’s Disease

Probably the biggest myth about joint disease is that it only affects older people. While it’s true that two-thirds of the people diagnosed with some form of joint disease are over the age of 65, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it currently affects 1 in 250 children too.

With over 100 different types of joint disease, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or virus-caused arthritis, these conditions can affect people anywhere between the ages of 1 to 90 (and above).

2. There’s Nothing I Can Do to Improve My Symptoms

Depending on the type of joint disease you are diagnosed with, it can profoundly impact your life; from the ability to perform weight-bearing exercises to using your hands for tasks like sewing. Another big myth is that there is nothing that can be done to improve your symptoms and you just have to endure them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While there currently isn’t a cure, there is a lot that can be done by working with an arthritis expert to improve your long-term outcomes. Certain medications in addition to lifestyle changes, like doing approved exercises and maintaining a healthy diet and weight are all tools that can reduce arthritis symptoms such as pain and inflammation.

3. I Shouldn’t Exercise

Beverly Hills Arthritis Orthopedic Surgeon It may seem counter-intuitive to exercise when you’re feeling pain or experiencing inflammation, but inactivity can cause an arthritis sufferer’s joints to continue to deteriorate while increasing both pain and swelling. However, with the right type of exercise, it’s possible to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which helps them better endure long-term wear and tear.

Low-impact exercises that work safely with range of motion, like yoga or Tai-Chi, are great options for people with joint pain and degeneration. Not only will exercise help keep your joints healthy, you will also be able to better maintain range of motion and functional movement.

4. My Diet Doesn’t Affect My Joint Inflammation

While it’s true that a healthy diet can’t cure arthritis, what you eat can definitely impact your symptoms. For example, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for joint pain sufferers. A study performed by University of Maryland Medical Center found that foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, such as salmon, tuna, and particular nut oils are beneficial in reducing inflammation and may lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. What’s more, maintaining a healthy weight will help decrease the negative impact on your joints, keeping them healthy longer.

It should be noted that the idea that cooking with certain spices like ginger and turmeric can be an effective arthritis treatment is a myth. It is true that these spices can help reduce inflammation but they aren’t a cure.

5. Certain Habits Cause Arthritis

Los Angeles Orthopedic Joint Damage SurgeonThere is a long-held belief by many people that habits like cracking your knuckles will eventually cause arthritis. There is no scientific evidence that this is true. Most types of arthritis are caused by either genetics, injury or trauma, infection, and immune system dysfunction such as with rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is recommended to avoid cracking the knuckles because this type of repetitive popping of the joints can accelerate joint damage in patients that have been diagnosed with arthritis.

With so many different types of joint diseases and myths surrounding them, if you’re experiencing pain or inflammation, the first step towards getting relief is scheduling an evaluation with a Los Angeles joint specialist to diagnose what type of degeneration you may be suffering from and the best course of arthritis treatment.

Read more about inflammatory joint disorders at arthritis.org

Contact a Joint Expert in Los Angeles Today

If you are experiencing joint pain or inflammation, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today to schedule a consultation for an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive arthritis treatment plan. With the use of cutting-edge, modern arthritis treatments, Dr. Allison and his team can customize treatment plans to your specific diagnosis and needs with the goal of helping you maintain your quality of life.

Next, learn about the Common Causes of Joint Pain.

What’s the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Bone Tumors?

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Beverly Hills Bone Cancer SpecialistIf you’ve been diagnosed with a bone tumor, you are probably feeling confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information you’ve had to absorb. In addition to dealing with the diagnosis, you want to know more about your disease and the best available treatments. Whether you have a primary or secondary (metastatic) tumor, an orthopedic oncologist is an essential part of your medical team.

Because bone tumors are rare, and primary bone tumors are extremely rare, there are very few experts in the United States who are experts in orthopedic oncology. As an orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Daniel C. Allison has been specially trained both in cancer treatment and in the musculoskeletal conditions that may arise from primary or secondary bone tumors.

What is a Primary Bone Tumor?

Tumors are abnormal growths of tissue that generally arise in the body’s soft tissues and may or may not later spread to the bones. In 1% of cases, however, tumors develop in the bones first. These are therefore called primary bone tumors. Primary bone tumors can be either be benign (no cancerous cells) or malignant (cancerous).

Benign primary bone tumors often occur while the skeleton is still developing, and are therefore more common in children and young adults. Primary bone tumors may be painful but are often symptom-free.

The most common types of benign primary bone tumors are:

  • Osteochondromas — Mostly affect young people between the ages of 10 and 20. Osteochondromas are most commonly found in the leg, pelvis, scapula or arm.
  • Osteoblastomas — Affect children and adolescents. Can be painful and debilitating, especially if located on the spine. Spinal osteoblastomas may cause paralysis if not removed.
  • Osteoid osteoma — A small, painful tumor that usually affects adolescents. May destabilize and/or deform the spine.

If untreated, some benign bone tumors can become malignant. That’s why it is essential that they be monitored by an orthopedic oncologist for evidence of cancerous changes.

Malignant primary bone tumors, on the other hand, usually affect older adults. The most common types of malignant primary bone tumors are:

  • Osteosarcomas— Malignancy of the bone, cartilage or connective tissue (chondrosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, fibrosarcoma).
  • Marrow tumor—Malignancy of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma, lymphoma, leukemia).

Beverly Hills Bone Sarcoma SpecialistWhat is a Secondary Bone Tumor?

Secondary bone tumors are those that arise as a result of soft tissue tumors metastasizing to the bones. Secondary bone tumors are always malignant. They commonly originate in the breast, kidney, lung, prostate, and thyroid.

What Causes Bone Cancer?

A family history of cancer may increase the risk of developing a bone cancer. Other risk factors may include exposure to toxins or radiation, obesity, a personal history of cancer, and injury or trauma to the bone. However, most cases of bone cancer have no known cause.

Treating Benign Bone Tumors

Because even benign primary bone tumors may become malignant, they need to be carefully monitored with regular imaging tests, such as x-rays. Many benign bone tumors resolve on their own. However, surgery may be recommended to preserve the integrity of the bones, prevent damage to surrounding soft tissues and nerves, and to avoid the development of skeletal abnormalities.

An orthopedic oncologist will make recommendations for treatment based on each patient’s age; the size of the tumor; whether it is affecting surrounding muscles, nerves, and other tissues; and its rate of growth.

Treating Primary and Secondary Bone Malignancies

Malignant bone tumors are treated with either chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. If the bone tumors are a result of metastasis, the primary soft-tissue tumors must also be treated.

Beverly Hills Bone Chemotherapy ProcedureChemotherapy is usually the first choice for malignant bone tumors because if it is successful, there is no need to move on to radiation. Chemotherapy can also prevent fractures and may shrink the tumors sufficiently to avoid surgery.

If the tumor doesn’t shrink after chemotherapy and surgery is needed, radiation is usually administered either before or after the tumor is removed. Radiation therapy can also prevent fractures and relieve pain.

In extreme cases, amputation may be necessary. If bones or joints have become weakened, they may be replaced or strengthened with rods or implants. Learn more about bone tumors at medlineplus.gov

The Importance of an Orthopedic Oncologist for Primary and Secondary Bone Tumors

An orthopedic oncologist will help choose the most minimally invasive and effective therapies plus design rehabilitative strategies to help restore function to the affected bones and joints. Even benign primary tumors must be watched carefully by an orthopedic oncologist for changes that could impair function or may be an indication of malignancy. If necessary, surgery will be performed to remove the tumor and preserve the integrity of the spine and/or bones.

Dr. Daniel C. Allison, MD, FACS, MBA, is a nationally-recognized orthopedic oncology surgeon and Assistant Director of Orthopedic Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Cancer Center. He partners with a team of orthopedic and oncology practitioners specializing in musculoskeletal tumors, bone cancer, sarcomas, bone preservation, and orthopedic trauma. If you have been diagnosed with a primary or secondary bone tumor, cal Dr. Allison in Los Angeles to schedule a consultation today.

Next, learn about the Four Types of Benign Bone Tumors.

Healthy Joint Tips to Help Prevent Arthritis

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LA Orthopedic OncologistCurrently, 54.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, and this number is projected to increase at an exponential rate. Taking steps to prevent arthritis as early as possible is key. The longer you can keep your joints healthy, the greater the likelihood that you can preserve your mobility and avoid the pain and possible disability caused by arthritis.

There are some arthritis causes (such as aging, genetics, and gender) that remain out of your control, but some steps, like exercising and maintaining a healthy diet, can help delay and prevent the onset of the disease.

As an orthopedic oncologist, Daniel C. Allison, MD, FACS is a physician and surgeon who specializes in both arthritis prevention and arthritis treatment in Los Angeles. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, so it is crucial to meet with a skilled orthopedic surgeon to learn about potential risk factors, behaviors, and circumstances that are associated with the disease in order to take steps to reduce or minimize your risks.

As we’ve pointed out, there are some risk factors for developing arthritis that are out of your control. For example, females with a family history of arthritis are at a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis over those that don’t. Fortunately, healthy habits can help mitigate these factors and allow for an overall healthy lifestyle regimen.

The Top 5 Tips for Healthy Joints

Dr. Allison - Orthopedic Oncologist in Los Angeles1. Include Fish in Your Diet

Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a healthy polyunsaturated fat that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. According to the USDA, it’s recommended to eat fish high in omega-3s—like salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines—twice a week.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Our joints are constructed to allow for different degrees and types of movement. Some joints have the ability to withstand compression and can handle heavy loads for specific periods of time. However, being overweight or obese can increase the pressure on the joints, increasing the risk of developing certain types of arthritis (such as osteoarthritis). Consider this: if you’re just 10 pounds overweight, the force on your knee as you take each step increases by 30 to 60 pounds. This extra weight means that overweight people (women, especially) are four times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.

3. Exercise

Exercise is beneficial for preventing arthritis in a few ways. First, exercise helps strengthen the supporting muscles found around the joints, which decreases the wear and tear that occurs as a part of normal aging. Exercise also helps reduce the stress and impact that excess weight can have on the joints. To maximize the therapeutic benefit of exercise, it’s recommended to alternate aerobic activities with strength training, while always including some stretching to help maintain flexibility and range of motion. 

4. Reduce Injury Risks

Conversely, certain types of injuries can cause the joints to wear out prematurely. In order to avoid injury, it’s important to use appropriate safety equipment when performing tasks or playing sports. For example, proper equipment, adequate training, and safe play can prevent ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears that may lead to osteoarthritis in a few years or even decades later.

5. Use Proper Body Mechanics

Whether you’re sitting at your desk or picking up boxes, it’s important to use proper body mechanics to keep your joints, particularly your back, knees, and hips, in neutral alignment. Preventing strain on your joints can greatly reduce the risks of injury.

BONUS HEALTHY JOINT TIP:

See Your Doctor!

Arthritis Treatment in Los AngelesIf you believe you’re developing arthritis and are experiencing joint pain and stiffness, it’s important to see an orthopedic specialist for an evaluation, diagnosis, and arthritis treatment plan. Arthritis prevention may include treatments and lifestyle interventions that could reduce your risk of developing the condition or slow its progress and preserve your mobility.

Right now, it is not completely known why some people develop certain types of arthritis. Scientific research continues to search for the root cause of arthritis, but until then, there is still hope that scientific advancements will lead to a breakthrough in prevention and a cure. And with ongoing scientific research, the breakthroughs may be closer than they seem. Until a cure for arthritis is a reality, it’s important to seek the care of a board-certified doctor who can create a sustainable plan for arthritis prevention and/or treatment.

Contact an Arthritis Expert in Los Angeles

Dr. Daniel C. Allison is a recognized joint expert with extensive experience in treating different types of arthritis. Dr. Allison is committed to providing accessible arthritis prevention and treatment programs that are based on an individual’s unique needs. Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.

Next, read about the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What is an Orthopedic Oncologist?

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Los Angeles Bone Cancer Joint DegenerationPrimary bone cancer is a rare disease that can affect any bone in the human body, accounting for less than 0.2 percent of all cancers. When people are facing bone cancer, they will often see different doctors as they navigate tests, diagnoses, surgeries, and treatments including chemotherapy or radiation.

An orthopedic oncologist, such as Dr. Daniel C. Allison, MD, FACS in Los Angeles, is a physician and surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of primary, benign, and malignant tumors of the bones. With his expertise in musculoskeletal oncology, joint reconstruction, and anterior hip replacement, Dr. Allison is also the Assistant Director of Orthopedic Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Sam Oschin Cancer Center in Los Angeles.

Surgical Excellence

Orthopedic oncologists are a unique group of physicians with an incomparable skill set. Dr. Allison is only a handful of surgeons in the country with this specialized expertise. With the primary aim to repair, preserve, and restore function, Dr. Allison is skilled at treating complicated cases including those patients with musculoskeletal damage from cancerous tumors.

The History of Orthopedic Oncology

Soft Tissue Tumor Experts Los AngelesOrthopedic oncologists are medical doctors and surgeons who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of primary bone cancers or cancers that begin in a person’s bones. Like the disease itself, orthopedic oncologists are also rare. There are only about 120 orthopedic oncologists in the United States and only 17 in Canada.

While orthopedic oncology is a highly specialized field, it has deep roots in European medicine.

Sarcomas were first characterized by their gross characteristics in 1804 but then evolved to include their histologic features in 1867. This means that bone cancer was diagnosed first by what could be discerned by the naked eye and then advanced to include an examination of tissue specimens under a microscope.

Early forms of cancer treatment initially began with local excision and amputation throughout medical history until limb-sparing resection was pioneered in the mid-1900’s. Nonsurgical treatments continued to evolve in the 1880’s but remained largely ineffective until the introduction of chemotherapy in the 1970’s.

These advancements continued to pave the way over the last 30 years towards improved patient outcomes using progressive reconstructive techniques, with a focus towards limb-saving surgery and improving survival rates.

Bone cancer treatment and orthopedic oncology continue to evolve to this day as oncologists work to not only discover less invasive treatment options but also better means of diagnosis and prevention.

Bone Cancer Facts: What Does an Orthopedic Oncologist Do?

Put simply, a fully qualified orthopedic oncologist is a one-stop shop for successful bone cancer care and treatment.

An orthopedic oncologist is trained to:

  • Diagnose primary bone cancers
  • Determine the best treatment to eradicate the disease
  • Perform surgery to remove all cancer cells
  • Perform reconstructive surgery to restore function
  • Devise and oversee follow-up treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy
  • Pain management related to cancer and treatment
  • Coordinate patient care with other necessary specialists

A Look into Orthopedic Oncology Education and Training

Beverly Hills Orthopedic Oncology SpecialistMedical doctors complete four years of undergraduate study followed by four additional years of medical school. Orthopedic oncologists follow this path but must also complete a residency specializing in orthopedic surgery, which can last as long as five years.

Dr. Allison received postgraduate training at the University of Southern California (USC) in a combined orthopedic and general surgery internship, and then went on to an orthopedic surgery residency. During the orthopedic oncology residency, Dr. Allison became an expert in orthopedic diseases and injuries, while also becoming skilled in the surgical procedures used to treat orthopedic problems. By the end of his residency, he became a board-eligible, licensed physician specializing in orthopedic surgery, followed by a musculoskeletal oncology fellowship in which he learn more specifically about bone cancers.

The first year of the fellowship involves training in oncology treatments and diagnosis including radiation therapy and bone and soft tissue tumor pathology. In addition, the orthopedic oncologist is taught how to use imaging techniques, like X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to help with diagnosis. The goal of the orthopedic oncology fellowship is to prepare the doctor to provide bone cancer care and treatment for any part of the body.

While the advanced technical skills and expertise developed by orthopedic oncologists allow them to successfully diagnose and treat patients with bone cancer, they can also apply specific techniques to treat patients with bone damage as a result of degenerative joint disease, arthritis or complex fractures. Read more about bone cancers at cancer.gov

How to Find a Bone Cancer Expert

Orthopedic oncologists are probably the smallest club within orthopedics. The truth is, because there are so few orthopedic oncologists practicing, you may have to travel to another city or state to receive care.

However, for primary bone cancer, it is crucial to receive care from a board-certified orthopedic oncologist not just to treat the cancer but to support your overall well-being and quality of life. Dr. Allison is not only highly acclaimed for his skill and expertise in treating bone cancer in Los Angeles, but also for his exceptional compassion and gentle manner when working with each patient.

Contact an Orthopedic Expert

Dr. Daniel C. Allison is devoted to providing exceptional care and treatment for his patients in Los Angeles. He is a recognized leader in treating complex cases involving bone cancer treatment, reconstruction, and bone preservation. Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.

Next, learn Why an Orthopedic Oncologist is Right for You.

Common Causes of Joint Pain

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Los Angeles Orthopedic Joint Damage SurgeonYou may notice a stiffness or loss of mobility in your knees, hips or spine at first. The stiffness is usually worse when you first wake up and will slowly improve as the day goes on. Or you may feel tenderness and experience swelling in your smaller joints, like the fingers or at the base of your thumb. The beginning of advanced joint degeneration can be experienced as an annoyance at first but can quickly progress to debilitating joint pain and loss of function.

While joint degeneration typically affects older people, younger people can also suffer from this painful and often devastating condition. As an orthopedic specialist in Los Angeles, not only can Dr. Daniel C. Allison help determine whether you have advanced joint degeneration but he can also offer the latest treatment options available to help you reduce joint pain and maintain your quality of life.

What is Advanced Joint Degeneration?

Our joints are important structures responsible for providing both movement and stability. Joint degeneration refers to the deterioration that can occur in our joints through a number of issues including normal wear and tear, injury, and degenerative joint conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and avascular necrosis. Once a joint starts to degenerate, you may experience joint pain, swelling, as well as limitations in range of motion and functional movement.

The 4 Common Causes of Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered a “wear and tear” disease and the most common type of advanced joint degeneration. People with osteoarthritis typically sustain cartilage damage in several joints such as the knees, hips, ankles, and feet. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage that provides protective cushioning between the joints slowly breaks down. This breakdown causes joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, and difficulty with everyday movements.

There is no specific cause for this degenerative joint condition, however, several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing OA including excess weight, trauma or injury, joint overuse, and genes.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis refers to a group of autoimmune conditions that cause inflammation in the joints and tissues in the body. These conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis are not localized to the damaged joint as many patients may also experience fever, weakness, and organ damage in addition to the stiffness and pain in their joints. The most common type of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which currently affects between 1 and 2 million Americans. The causes of inflammatory arthritis are generally unknown, however, it is believed that genetics play a large role in whether or not an individual develops this advanced joint degeneration condition.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a subcategory of osteoarthritis, but this form of arthritis develops after a trauma or injury to a joint(s). The most common symptoms include joint pain and instability, inflammation, reduced range of motion, bone spurs, and possible joint deformity. Because this type of advanced joint degeneration is caused by outside factors, people of all ages can suffer from post-traumatic arthritis.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis, also known “osteonecrosis,” is a condition characterized by poor blood supply within specific areas of the body, which leads to cellular loss of bone tissue. This can lead to damage and pain in the adjacent joint. Avascular necrosis begins with an interruption of blood supply to certain areas in the body. This can be caused by either traumatic injury to an affected bone (such as a fracture and dislocation), steroid medication usage or excessive alcohol consumption.

Treatments for advanced joint degeneration will depend on the condition as well as the severity of the joint damage combined with individual factors like age, overall health, and current mobility.

Treating Advanced Joint Degeneration

Beverly Hills Orthopedic Joint Damage SurgeonIn cases where joint damage is severe, surgical joint replacement is the best choice to improve joint pain and restore function. Dr. Allison is a renowned leader in pediatric and adult hip replacements not only in Los Angeles but also nationwide. Depending on the patient and circumstances, Dr. Allison will perform the direct anterior approach to joint replacement, which is a minimally invasive technique that has the best outcomes for both reduction in joint pain and restoration in daily function. In an anterior hip replacement, the muscles and nerve tissue are pushed aside rather than dissected. This greatly reduces damage to the tissues and has a faster recovery and improved long-term outcome. Read more about joint replacement procedures at WebMD.com.

Not all patients with advanced joint degeneration will need a joint replacement. Preventative measures can be adopted to avoid the need for surgical intervention. The conservative alternatives to hip replacement include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as weight loss with a healthy diet
  • Physical activity such as regular exercise to help you maintain and develop your muscles in order to relieve pressure on your joints
  • Wearing braces or sleeves to support the joints in everyday movement
  • Taking multi-vitamins and supplements
  • Physical therapy to help improve functional movement and reduce joint pain

Contact a Joint Specialist in Los Angeles Today

If you are experiencing joint pain and think you have advanced joint degeneration, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation for a diagnosis and treatment plan. With early treatment and prevention, it’s possible to regain pain-free function in your everyday activities.

Next, Are You at Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Are You at Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Los Angeles Oncologist Inflammatory ArthritisRheumatoid Arthritis currently affects more than 2 million people in the United States. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints, which can lead to pain, tenderness, and swelling. However, rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterized as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system itself mistakenly attacks its own joint tissue. Unlike some other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple joints and is considered a progressive disease. Fortunately, a Los Angeles orthopedic specialist can diagnose and provide rheumatoid arthritis treatment for those suffering from  this painful condition.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) falls under the umbrella of inflammatory arthritis and is the most common type in this category. RA typically affects the small joints of the wrists, hands, and feet, causing swelling, tenderness, and pain, along with limitations in range of motion and functional movement.

Our joints are lined with synovial membranes, which contain synovial fluid. This fluid is responsible for lubricating and nourishing the cartilage and bones found within a joint capsule. Think of synovial fluid as a cushion for your joints.

RA occurs when the immune system attacks this synovium with antibodies, leaving it sore and inflamed. As a result, the synovium becomes thicker and may eventually damage both the cartilage and bone inside the joint. With time, tendons and ligaments weaken and stretch and the joint itself may eventually be completely destroyed.

There is currently no known cure for RA, however, with proper rheumatoid arthritis treatment, it is possible to manage symptoms and prevent joint and tissue damage. While it is currently not possible to prevent RA, knowing certain risk factors can improve the chance of an early diagnosis in order to treat and prevent the debilitating progression of the disease.

The Top 5 Risk Factors of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gender

Unfortunately for women, being female is one of the biggest RA risks. Women are 2-3 times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men. Many experts hold the theory that this may be due to the effects of estrogen, the female hormone, and its impact on the body.

Age

Inflammatory arthritis can develop at any age. However, while it is estimated that as many as 300,000 children in the United States suffer from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, RA is most likely to develop in people aged between 40-60 years old.

Genetics

Many experts agree that RA is not an inherited disease, however, evidence suggests that if a close family member has been diagnosed with RA, a person may be predisposed to develop the disease.

Smoking

Not only do smokers have a higher risk of developing RA, smoking can also worsen the disease progression and decrease the quality of life in the long term.

Testosterone

There are some findings that indicate low testosterone levels in males may be a predictor for developing RA later on in life.

Los Angeles scientists are currently studying DNA markers hoping to one day find the trigger that shows who is at risk for developing inflammatory arthritis in the hopes of preventing the onset of the disease. Until then, there are some early warning signs to look out for that may indicate a more comprehensive screening will be necessary to identify the condition.

These warning signs include:

  • Pervasive fatigue
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling and warmth
  • Joint redness
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint range of motion and functional movement
  • Multiple affected joints
  • Limping
  • Joint deformity
  • Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)
  • Loss of joint function
  • Anemia
  • Fever

Having just one of these symptoms alone may not mean a person is suffering from RA, however, having a group of these symptoms along with certain RA risks can indicate a need for further testing. And while currently there isn’t a cure for inflammatory arthritis, it is possible to manage the symptoms and maintain a good quality of life in Los Angeles.

Treating Inflammatory Arthritis

LA Inflammatory Arthritis SpecialistTreating inflammatory arthritis needs a tailored approach but all patients must start by getting an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing a patient with RA is based on several factors including medical history, physical exam, and diagnostics (X-Ray, MRI, Blood Tests, Joint Fluid Analysis). In the beginning, most patients begin with a conservative treatment approach with pain management as its focus. This can include using pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) along with physical therapy to help preserve functional movement.

If a patient’s symptoms progress to where conservative treatments are no longer effective, surgical intervention may be helpful for reducing pain and improving movement ability to participate in daily tasks. Surgical interventions include:

Learn more about inflammatory arthritis at WebMD.com.

Contact an Orthopedic Specialist in Los Angeles Today

If you are experiencing the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis or require a second opinion, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation. Early treatment of RA can help maintain function and improve your quality of life.

Next, learn about some of the Common Causes of Joint Pain.

Joint Degeneration: What Is It, Who Has It, and What Can You Do About It?

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LA Osteoarthritis Pain Treatment SurgeonJoints are responsible for both movement and flexibility in the human body. Within the joints themselves, there are areas of cartilage that function as support for nearby bones, providing cushion and preventing the bones from grinding against each other. Joints bear a large percentage of one’s body weight when going about daily activities like walking. As a result, our joints are at risk of injury and/or gradual wear and tear, also known as joint degeneration. Fortunately, a Los Angeles orthopedic oncologist can provide the treatment necessary to repair and protect joints suffering from deterioration.

What is Joint Degeneration?

Joint degeneration refers to painful and debilitating joint conditions that generally affect older patients, but can occur in younger people too. There are four types of common degenerative joint conditions:

What are the Symptoms of Degenerating Joints?

Unfortunately, joint degeneration typically isn’t diagnosed until there are painful symptoms. The condition can take years to develop and may not show any symptoms until the damage has become significant. The symptoms include:

  • Acute pain around an affected joint
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Redness and/or tenderness
  • Limited mobility during daily activities (for example, eating with utensils, getting in and out of chairs or even dressing)
  • Grating sensation when attempting to move through its range of motion

Additional symptoms can include back pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue, especially if the wear and tear become significant. It’s important to seek an evaluation with a professional as soon as the symptoms are noticed in order to receive proper treatment and maintain a healthy and active quality of life.

Orthopedic oncologist Dr. Daniel C. Allison is an expert in cartilage degeneration, including inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and avascular necrosis. If you think you’re suffering from wear and tear to your joints, schedule a consultation with Dr. Allison in Los Angeles today.

The 4 Types of Joint Degeneration

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease and is the most common type of joint degeneration condition. Older populations are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, with one-third of Americans over the age of 65 suffering from OA in common areas such as the ankles, feet, hips, and knees, as well as other parts of the body.

The reason osteoarthritis occurs more often in older populations is that the primary cause of cartilage degeneration is the wear and tear on the joints throughout a person’s lifetime. However, there can be other factors that can predispose someone to developing OA. These factors include:

  • Frequently lifting heavy objects or making strenuous movements, as with manual labor jobs
  • Congenital joint malformation
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Gender (women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men)
  • Joint injury or trauma (for example, from high impact sports)
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise

If left untreated, osteoarthritis can lead to other joint-related conditions including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and fractures. At the earliest sign, it is highly encouraged that patients seek osteoarthritis treatment as soon as possible to prevent the damage from worsening.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis refers to a collection of autoimmune disorders that cause inflammation of the joints and other tissues in the body. These diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Lupus
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own joint tissue. This results in swelling, pain, and eventually joint degeneration. While it is commonly believed that inflammatory arthritis is primarily caused by genetic predisposition, certain risk factors, such as smoking cigarettes, stress, and hormones, can contribute to the disease. Contact Dr. Allison for expert arthritis treatment as soon as possible.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is actually a form of osteoarthritis that develops as a result of a particular injury or physical trauma to a specific joint.

In addition to pain, stiffness, and swelling, which is common to joint degeneration, inflammatory arthritis can also cause joint instability, bone spurs or deformity. It can also develop in young children as well as adults because it occurs after a physical injury or event.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, is also caused by a specific event, specifically the loss of bone tissue due to poor blood supply to the area.

Avascular necrosis may be caused by various conditions including:

  • Injury or joint dislocation
  • Fatty deposits in the blood vessels
  • Medical conditions, such as Gaucher’s disease and sickle cell anemia

Diagnosis is crucial for determining the type of joint deterioration you might have. After diagnosis, Dr. Allison will create an osteonecrosis treatment plan depending on the type and severity of the joint damage, as well as the patient’s age, health, and needs.

Learn more about avascular necrosis at WebMD.com.

The Four Goals of Joint Degeneration Treatment

  • To control pain
  • To improve joint function
  • To maintain normal body weight
  • To achieve a healthy lifestyle

Contact an Orthopedic Oncologist in Los Angeles Today

If you are experiencing joint degeneration symptoms or require a second opinion, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation. An early diagnosis can lead to a return to pain-free function and improved quality of life.

Next, read about the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Tumors.

What are the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Tumors?

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Beverly Hills Soft Tissue Sarcomas DiagnosisSoft tissue tumors are more common than bone tumors. These tumors can be found almost anywhere on the body: within and between the muscles, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. The difficulty with soft tumors is there can be a wide variance in how they look and behave. Tumors of the soft or connective tissues can be either malignant (cancerous or sarcomas) or benign (non-cancerous).  Sarcoma tumors can invade nearby tissues, which can make them more difficult to remove and treat, increasing the risk of recurrence. If you or a loved one suspect that you may have a tumor, contact a orthopedic oncologist in Los Angeles as soon as possible.

In order to spot the symptoms of soft tissue tumors and know when to seek a doctor’s evaluation, it is important to learn from a renowned Los Angeles orthopedic oncologist like Dr. Daniel C. Allison. For a thorough evaluation, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Allison today.

Most Common Types of Soft Tissue Tumors

There are many types and symptoms of both benign and malignant soft tissue tumors. The most common include:

Lipoma – Lipomas are the most common type of benign tumor, which develops in the fat tissue just below the skin.  Lipoma tumors are slow growing and do not usually have additional symptoms or require treatment unless they begin to exhibit pain or growth.

Angiolipoma – Angiolipomas are benign tumors that grow in adipose (fatty) tissue with vascular structures (blood vessels). Angiolipomas are most commonly found in the forearms, and if necessary, can be removed with surgery. Some Angiolipomas do not exhibit symptoms, while others may cause tenderness if palpated.

Fibroma – Fibromas, also known as fibroid or fibroid tumors, are made up of connective tissue. The most common type of fibroma is benign ovarian fibroid tumors, which are often detected during routine pelvic or gynecological exams. Since they are benign, fibroid tumors aren’t usually treated unless they grow larger or cause pain, where they can be removed surgically.  Common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

    • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
    • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
    • Pelvic pain
    • Frequent urination
    • Low back pain
    • Pain during intercourse
    • Infertility

    Benign fibrous histiocytoma – Benign fibrous histiocytoma is a slow-growing, benign tumor usually found in the legs. However, they can also be found in the head, neck, torso, pelvis, abdomen, kidneys, or trachea. These tumors are typically painless, solitary tumors found deep below the skin but may appear as painful mass lesions after many years of growth.

    Neurofibroma – Neurofibroma tumors can be found anywhere in the nervous system. Symptoms can depend on the location and size of the neurofibroma. Neurofibromas are typically painless and slow-growing, however, there can be some tenderness when light pressure is applied to the area of the growth. Additionally, if a motor or sensory nerve is involved, the associated function may be negatively impacted.

    Schwannoma – Schwannomas are also known as benign nerve sheath tumors. Although schwannoma soft tissue tumors can arise from any nerve in the body, the most common areas include the nerves of the head and neck and those involved with moving the limbs. Common symptoms include a slow-growing mass and an electric-like shock sensation when the tumor area is touched.

    Hemangioma – Hemangiomas are benign growths that form due to an abnormal collection of blood vessels. Hemangiomas can appear like a red birthmark on the face, as well as on the scalp, neck, and back. Hemangiomas don’t normally cause symptoms during or after their formation (which is usually in the womb). However, if hemangiomas grow large, in groups, or if they grow in a sensitive area, treatment may be necessary.

    Giant cell tendon sheath (also known as giant-cell synovioma) – These benign tumors are commonly found on the hands, wrists, and fingers. Giant-Cell Synovioma can feel firm, hard, well-defined and, if the tumor is large, sometimes accompanied by a numb sensation or a loss of function.

    As we’ve discussed, most tumors are benign, however, some are at risk for malignancy or soft tissue sarcoma. Any new lumps, changes in growth or pain should be examined by an orthopedic oncologist for an adequate evaluation, which will include a physical examination, possible MRI, and, in some cases, a biopsy for an accurate diagnosis.

    Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma

    The most common symptom of a soft tissue sarcoma is the existence of a lump or a mass, which is most likely growing and/or causing pain. There can be uncomfortable swelling, particularly if the sarcoma is located in the arms and legs.

    Some tumors can limit an individual’s range of motion and mobility, particularly the sarcomas found in the hip, knee, shoulder or hands.

    If a sarcoma tumor breaks through the skin, it may cause skin lesions.

    Depending on where the sarcoma is located, there can be additional symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting or constipation, while sarcomas in the uterus may cause vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain.

    Learn more about sarcomas at WebMD.com.

    Contact an Orthopedic Oncologist in Los Angeles Today

    To learn more about symptoms of soft tissue tumors or to obtain a second opinion on a previous diagnosis, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation. An early diagnosis can lead to a faster recovery and return to everyday life.

    Next, learn about Why an Orthopedic Oncologist is Right for You.

What is Pediatric Hip Replacement?

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Beverly Hills Joint Corrective Surgery DoctorWhen people think of hip replacements, they generally think of it as a surgical procedure appropriate for an adult or elderly patient. While it’s true, a great portion of hip replacement surgeries are performed on adults; degenerative hip joints, traumatic hip injuries and bone disease aren’t isolated to the adult and/or elderly population. Children can have these problems too and will sometimes need hip surgery to regain pain-free function and movement.

A pediatric hip replacement surgery is an effective treatment that can help children return to their normal physical activities without any residual pain, inflammation or stiffness. Orthopedic oncologist Daniel C. Allison, MD often recommends a hip replacement surgery when a child has difficulty participating in their daily activities and provides a state-of-the-art pediatric hip replacement at his Los Angeles medical center.

What Causes Pediatric Hip Problems?

Sometimes a child’s hip condition is visual, such as a visible difference in leg length. However, it can be difficult to identify other reasons for hip issues in children, especially if it’s unrelated to a specific injury or trauma.

The primary causes of pediatric hip conditions include:

• Hip dysplasia
• Bone cancer
• Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD)
Avascular necrosis
• Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)
• Osteomyelitis
• Osteoarthritis

Early diagnosis of these possible conditions and treatment with a pediatric hip replacement is essential to avoid worsening of present hip joint conditions which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of function or disability. It’s important to learn the symptoms of hip conditions that would require a formal evaluation with a doctor and possible treatment with a pediatric hip replacement.

Learn more about hip conditions in children at WebMD.com.

What are the Symptoms of Pediatric Hip Conditions?

Children with hip problems in Los Angeles can have pain in the groin, pelvis, knee, thigh or hip. As the symptoms progress, children may have difficulty walking, stepping up stairs or even sitting.

There are three categories in which children may experience these symptoms

• Pain at rest
• Pain with movement
• Pain with weight-bearing activities

If you suspect your child has a degenerative hip condition, you need to consult with an orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Allison in Los Angeles.

A Customized Treatment Plan for Your Child

Each child undergoes a thorough physical examination checking the hip and leg range of motion, evaluating any possible muscular atrophy, examining both leg lengths, and assessing current pain levels. X-Rays are taken to reveal any possible displacement of the head of the thigh bone and hip. After these necessary diagnostics, Dr. Allison creates a customized treatment plan for your child, which may include a pediatric hip replacement.

Choosing the correct treatment for your child depends on specific factors including location, type, the severity of the hip condition and symptoms, as well as the child’s general health, age, and evaluation results. These factors must be assessed together to determine which treatment will be the best for your child. If your child meets specific criteria, a hip surgery replacement may be the ideal choice to help with the following goals:

  • Reduce pain
  • Improve both functional movement and mobility
  • Repair the degenerative bone

Keep in mind, hip surgery for children is only recommended when it’s the only treatment available that can meet these goals and improve the function of the hip joint. When performing hip surgery, Dr. Allison then selects the best surgical method to meet these diverse needs. These methods may include:

  • Realigning the pelvic and thigh bones
  • Stabilizing the ball and socket joint
  • Removing excess bone or loose bodies
  • Reconstructing or replacing the hip joint

Why Choose an Orthopedic Oncologist for Your Child’s Hip Surgery?

Children have different physical needs than adults when it comes to hip surgery, which requires a special expertise that not all surgeons possess. For example, a child’s musculoskeletal system is still maturing and is comprised of growing bones, growth plates, and cartilage. Performing surgical procedures on children requires specialized skills and expertise that includes knowledge of best techniques for minimal damage to the hip joint and reduced recovery time.

As an orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Allison is an innovative expert in the direct anterior approach to joint replacement. Dr. Allison is one of the few surgeons in the nation that uses this minimally invasive method in order to restore mobility and function, but with far less damage and trauma to the soft tissues around the hip. This creates less downtime for recovery and allows your child to get back to being a kid and participating in daily activities within mere weeks, rather than the cumbersome months of recovery other methods may require.

Contact a Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist in LA

Dr. Daniel Allison understands that pediatric hip replacement surgery is a big decision. He chose to specialize in minimally invasive hip replacement treatment techniques providing hip surgery for children because he wants to help your child return to enjoying their childhood pain-free with as little downtime as possible. Call today to schedule an appointment in Los Angeles at 310.730.8008 to discuss if this procedure is right for your son or daughter.

Next, learn about 5 Common Myths About Arthritis.

What is the Difference Between Primary and Metastatic Bone Cancer?

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bone cancer treatment los angelesWith any form of cancer, an early diagnosis, followed by preventing it from spreading (metastasizing), is always a priority. Depending on the type of cancer and where it is located, tumors tend to be the most treatable when they are smaller and contained to one area, making it easier for surgical oncologists to remove as much malignant tissue as possible during a cancer surgery, and subsequent treatments with chemotherapy, radiation, and biologic treatments.

Primary vs. Metastatic Bone Cancer

Metastatic bone cancer is cancer that has spread to other organs and tissue from the site in the body where it originally developed. When breast or kidney cancer spreads to the bones, it is metastatic. All forms of cancer have the potential to become metastatic. Although generally rare, there are several forms of cancer where the tumors originate either in the bone, or from the marrow tissue inside the bones, which designates them as primary bone cancers. Orthopedic oncologists specialize in treating patients with various forms of osteosarcomas (bone tumors).

Types of Primary Bone Tumors

Orthopedic oncology specialists treat the group of malignant (cancerous) tumors that develop in the bones of adults and children. Although primary bone cancer and soft tissue sarcomas are generally very rare, osteosarcoma can be one of the more common types of cancer to affect children. There are also some forms that are more common in older adults. There are also several classifications of bone tumor that are benign (non-cancerous).

The most common types of primary bone cancer are:

  • Osteosarcoma One of the most common forms of primary bone cancers, it is typically found in children and adolescents.
  • Ewing’s Sarcoma Similar to osteosarcomas, this rare cancer can affect either the soft or connective tissue (muscle, fat) or bones.
  • Chondrosarcoma This type of cancer affects the cartilage, and is most common in adults.
  • Chordoma – Most common in men over the age of 30, and typically diagnosed in the spine or the base of the skull.
  • Fibrosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma – This is a group of both soft tissue and osteo tumors that are most commonly found in older adults in the arms and legs and jaw.

Benign Bone Tumors

Many times, tumors are benign and do not lead to cancer. Some tumors overlap and have the potential to be either benign or malignant. Along with malignant primary and metastatic tumors, there are other types of benign growths that can develop in bones throughout the body:

  • Giant cell tumors
  • Osteochondromas
  • Endochondroma
  • Nonossifying fibroma unicameral
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Aneurysmal bone cyst

Common Forms of Metastatic Bone Cancers

  • Breast – Secondary breast cancer (metastatic) is most common in the bones. While it can technically affect any part of the body, the most common sites for metastasis are in the ribs, pelvis, arms, legs, skull, and spine.
  • Lung – Along with breast and prostate cancer, the lungs are one of the more likely organs to experience tumor metastasis to the bones. An estimated one out of three cases of metastatic lung tumors will spread to the bones.
  • Prostate – Like breast cancer, metastatic prostate cancer is most likely to spread to the bones.
  • Kidney – Like lung and breast cancer, metastases from the kidneys are more likely to affect the bones.

The treatment options and prognosis for metastatic cancer will vary considerably depending on the factors such as where it originated, the stage and grade of the tumors, the patient’s individual health and pathology profile, and a number of other factors.

Typical Bone Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms for both primary and secondary (metastatic) bone cancer can resemble less serious conditions like osteoarthritis, and the presence of symptoms alone does not necessarily indicate tumors. However patients with past or current cancer diagnoses, or those experiencing unexplained symptoms that do not resolve over time should consult with an orthopedic oncology specialist.

Some of the most common general symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained fractures (and limping)
  • Numbness and tingling (when tumors are present on the spine)
  • Hypercalcemia (osteo tumors can cause an excess of calcium in the bloodstream, which can cause symptoms like exhaustion, confusion, nausea, constipation, and loss of appetite).

Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Treatment in Los Angeles

Board certified orthopedic oncologist Dr. Daniel C. Allison offers comprehensive treatment for soft tissue tumors and osteosarcomas. Treatment typically depends on a number of facts such as the location, stage, and prognosis of the tumors.

Treatment options for connective tissue and bone malignancies include:

  • Surgical tumor resection
  • Bone and joint reconstruction
  • Soft tissue coverage
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Biologic therapy

To learn more about bone treatment, visit WebMD.com.

Contact an orthopedic oncology surgeon in Los Angeles

To learn more about soft tissue (sarcoma) and bone cancer diagnosis and treatment, or for a second opinion, contact board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel C. Allison at 310-683-4586 to request an appointment today.

Next, read about a potential new breakthrough in cancer treatment.

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