When a joint becomes painful due to an injury or accident, it is essential to seek medical care. After a physical examination is completed, X-ray or other diagnostic images will most likely be taken to determine the nature and extent of the damage. If a sprain or fracture is found, the joint will probably need to be splinted to keep it immobilized and promote proper healing.
A sprain is a common type of injury that involves a stretching or tearing of ligaments, the structures that connect bones together within a joint. Patients with a sprain may experience different symptoms depending on the location and severity of the injury, but symptoms may include:
- Feeling of something popping in the joint
- Warmness under the skin
A sprain will be graded on a scale of one to three based on its severity. Grade 1 sprains are mild and involve only a stretching of the ligaments, while Grade 3 sprains involve a complete tear in the ligament and usually require prompt treatment. Many sprains can be treated through immobilization with a splint to protect damaged ligaments.
A fracture, a break or crack in a bone that occurs when the bone cannot withstand outside forces, often requires splinting as well. Fractures can range from a small crack in the bone to complete separation. A bone fracture causes pain, swelling and sometimes bruising of the affected area. Applied weight or pressure causes even more severe pain.
Bone fractures can be diagnosed through a physical examination and an X-ray or CT scan. Treatment for bone fractures depends on the location and type of fracture, as well as the patient's medical history. Mild to moderate fractures may require splints along with pain medication, and severe fractures may need temporary splinting before surgery to reset the bones. The immobilization helps both to relieve pain and speed up recovery.
Your doctor will use a splint to hold the affected bone in the proper position while it heals, which usually takes several weeks. Correct splint placement is essential to restore the normal arrangement of the bones.
Ear Wax Removal
Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced to protect the ear from damage and infections. It is produced in the ear canal and normally accumulates and then dries up and falls out of the canal. It rids the ear of dust particles and repels water, which can cause infections. Without ear wax, our ears would be dry, itchy and unprotected.
The wax can be soft and almost liquid or firm and solid. It can consist of skin cells, bacteria and water. The production and clearing of ear wax is natural and self-sufficient. However, ear wax tends to accumulate in the ear canal for a number of reasons. The ear canal may narrow from an infection, the wax may not be as soft or too much wax may have been produced. Many people also experience a wax blockage when they attempt to clean their ears and accidentally push wax too far into the canal. If an extreme amount of wax builds up, it may need to be cleaned, or lavaged, by your doctor. Ear drops may also be prescribed to soften the wax and allow it to be cleared out.
When there is a blockage of wax in the ear canal, you may experience an earache, a feeling of the ear being plugged or full, a ringing in the ear and partial hearing loss. Upon visiting your doctor, the ear will be examined to determine whether a wax blockage is present. An ear wash is a treatment performed to clear the ear canal of excess wax buildup.
If there is a wax blockage, your doctor will soften and remove the wax with the ear wash. While your head is upright, the ear is positioned for the most direct path to the canal. Your doctor will then direct a syringe of warm water, sometimes mixed with detergent drops, toward the canal wall adjacent to the blockage. You will be directed to tip your head to drain the water. This process may be repeated several times until the plug of wax is freed.
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