Orthopedic care encompasses a wide range of approaches that are non-surgical.
While the RICE method is most common (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), there are actually many types of orthopedic care that can work toward reducing pain and swelling, along with stimulating healing.
- Your full spectrum of orthopedic care may involve a team of specialists
- Your doctor may combine orthopedic care with other treatment methods
Orthopedic care can involve a wide range of different approaches. Outside of surgical procedures and total joint replacements, orthopedic treatments can include:
- Rest – In some cases, resting the muscles affected is all that’s necessary to relieve pain and encourage healing.
- Ice and heat therapy – Icing can reduce swelling, and heat works well for reducing pain.
- Compression – This method boosts circulation in the affected area to promote healing.
- Elevation – This reduces swelling in the affected area.
- Injections – Some substances, like corticosteroids, can be injected into your joints, ligaments, and tendons to relieve pain.
- Physical therapy – This consists of exercises and stretches that help to relieve pain and restore your range of motion.
- Braces, slings, and custom orthotics – These simple pieces of equipment generally work to support your injured area while it heals.
- Weight reduction and exercise – Sometimes, lifestyle changes that lead to weight loss can manage knee and hip conditions. However, exercise is not an ideal option for every patient. Ask your doctor before starting a weight loss regimen.
- Nerve stimulation – This process blocks the brain and spinal cord from receiving pain signals and can provide pain relief for an extended period of time.
- Taping – This method is useful for areas like the knee, where it’s necessary to stabilize the joint for participating in activities that could do damage.
- Massage therapy – This method improves blood circulation in the targeted area and also reduces muscle tension.
The type of treatment that is best for you will depend on your condition and injury, as well as your age and past medical history. It’s not uncommon for your doctor to take up a team approach with any other professionals relating to your health, like your athletic trainer or current physical therapist.