Episode 58: Tendons and Ligaments – Commonly Missed Uncommon Orthopedic Injuries Part 2

In part 2 of our round-table discussion on EM Cases with sports medicine guru Dr. Ivy Cheng and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Hossein Mehdian we elucidate some key commonly missed uncommon orthopedic injuries that if mismanaged, carry significant long term morbidity. Injuries of the tendons and ligaments are often overlooked by emergency providers as relatively benign injuries and generally are not well understood. Syndesmosis Injuries typically occur in impact sports. They are missed in about 20% of cases, as x-rays findings are often subtle or absent. The mechanism, physical exam findings, such as the Hopkin's Test, and associated injuries are important to understand to help make the diagnosis and provide appropriate ED care. Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture is almost exclusively a male injury and occurs in a younger age group compared to the Proximal Biceps Rupture. It is important to distinguish these injuries as their management and outcomes are different. The mechanism and physical exam findings of Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture, such as the Hook Test, are key in this respect. Quadriceps Tendon Rupture is often misdiagnosed as a simple ‘knee sprain’, but should be consideration for surgical intervention. Quadriceps tendon ruptures are more commonly seen in patients older than 40 years and are more common than patella tendon ruptures which are more commonly seen in patients under 40 years of age. Interestingly, up to 1/3 of patients present with bilateral quadriceps tendon ruptures, so comparing to the contralateral knee may be misleading. There is a spectrum of knee extensor injuries that should be understood in order to provide proper care, with the Straight-Leg-Raise Test being abnormal in all of them. This is of the most important physical exam maneuvers to perform on every ED patient with a knee injury. The x-ray findings of these injuries may be subtle or absent, and proper immobilization of these injuries is important to prevent recoil of the tendon. Patients with calf pain and Gastrocnemius Tears are often misdiagnosed as having a DVT. In fact, one small study showed that gastrocnemius tears were misattributed to DVT in 29% of patients. This confusion occurs because sometimes patients who suffer a gastrocnemius tear report a prodrome of calf tightness several days before the injury, suggesting a potential chronic predisposition. With a good history and physical, and POCUS if you’re skilled at it, needless work-ups for DVT can be avoided. For well thought out approaches, pearls and pitfalls, to these 4 Commonly Missed Uncommon Orthopedic Injuries, listen to the podcast and read the rest of this blog post....

Episode 52: Commonly Missed Uncommon Orthopedic Injuries

We rarely discuss medico-legal issues on EM Cases because it misguides us a bit from good patient centered care – which is what emergency medicine is really all about. Nonetheless, missed orthopedic injuries are the most common reason for an emergency doc to be sued in Canada. This is partly because missed orthopedic injuries are far more common than missed MIs for example, but it’s also because it’s easy to miss certain orthopedic injuries – especially the ones that aren’t super common. And orthopedics is difficult to learn and remember for the EM practitioner as there are so many injuries to remember. And so, you guessed it – on this episode we’re going to run through some key not-so-common, easy to miss orthopedic injuries, some of which I, personally had to learn about the hard way, if you know what I mean. After listening to this episode, try some cognitive forcing strategies – for every patient with a FOOSH that you see, look for and document a DRUJ injury. Wait, hold on….I don’t wanna give it all away at the top of the post. Let’s hear what EM doc and sports medicine guru Ivy Cheng, and the orthopedic surgeon who everyone at North York General turns to when they need help with a difficult ortho case, Hossein Medhian, have to say about Commonly Missed Uncommon Orthopedic Injuries.

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