There are many common musculoskeletal disorders that can result from a variety of different causes, and can occur virtually anywhere in the body. Some of the most common conditions include Sprains (ligamentous injuries), Strains (muscle or tendon injuries), Arthritis (cartilage degeneration), Nerve Entrapments (surrounding tissues that cause inflammation or pinching of specific nerves), and Bursitis (bursa inflammation). These debilitating problems often occur in major joints of the body including the knees, hips, shoulders, lower backs, elbows, and ankles. But they can also occur in smaller joints, such as the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes.
A sprain is a stretch or tear injury to a ligament. One or more ligaments can be injured during a sprain. The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury to a single ligament (whether the tear is partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved.
Strains involve a stretch or tear injury to the muscle or the specific portion where the muscle inserts into the bone (tendons). Similar to sprains, the severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury to a single tendon (whether the tear is partial or complete) and the number of tendons involved.
Inflammation of the cartilage in joints can result from “wear and tear” from repetitive motions. Joint surfaces consist of bone covered with a smooth lining of cartilage. Cartilage is a smooth material that is found throughout your body, and it allows the joint to move freely. When one smooth cartilage surface glides against another, the amount of friction between the surfaces is five times less than the friction of ice gliding on ice!
Individuals who suffer from Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, experience a loss of this cartilage surface. As the cartilage is worn away, the bone becomes exposed, and the unprotected joint surfaces rub against each other. Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, or Wear-and-Tear Arthritis, Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in older populations, but can also affect younger individuals.
When arthritis occurs, signs of inflammation can include warmth, swelling, pain, tenderness, and decreased range of motion. Range of motion in a joint is decreased because the swollen joint impedes the range of motion.
The differences between different syndromes are merely the nerves which are affected and the surrounding tissues that cause inflammation or pinching of those nerves. This will result in similar symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pain, and the locations of these symptoms will vary based on the nerves which are affected. Also, certain movements will exacerbate each particular condition
Bursitis is a relatively common condition caused by inflammation of a bursa. A bursa allows the skin to glide freely over certain bony processes, thereby preventing tissue tears. Acute injuries during sports activities can include any action that involves direct trauma to a bursa or activities that cause repetitive microtrauma (eg, the elbow constantly rubbing against a table during writing).