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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some aspects of “Trigger finger” with homoepathic mode of treatment

Also known as ‘Flexor Tenosynovitis’, it is a stenosing tenovaginitis, in which the sheath of a flexor tendon thickens, apparently spontaneously, so as to entrap the tendon. It is more common in dominant hand & most often affects the thumb or middle or ring finger.
Sex- More common in women than men.
Age- Occur most frequently between the ages of 40 to 60 years.

Aetiology-Exact cause is not known. It is usually found in those with repetitive gripping actions. Diabetics are also more prone to this disease. Diabetics can have several fingers involved.
Aggravating factors- Prolonged, strenuous grasping may aggravate the condition.

Associated medical condition- Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, hypothyroidism, amyloidosis, diabetes mellitus.

Pathophysiology-The protective sheath surrounding the tendon in the affected finger if becomes inflammed due to any cause, the space within the tendon sheath may become narrow & constricting। As a result, the tendon cannot glide through the sheath easily & at times there is catching of the finger in a bent position। With each catch, the tendon itself becomes irritated & inflammed, worsening the condition। With passage of time inflammation becomes prolonged & there is scarring & thickening & occasional formation of nodules. As a result the gliding of the tendon becomes more difficult & the tendon may momentarily be stuck at the mouth of the sheath as the finger is extended. A pop may be felt as the tendon slips past the tight area. This causes pain & catching as the finger is moved.

Presentation- Pain & limitation of the movements of the involved tendons are the presenting features.

Clinical features- Patients frequently note catching or triggering of the affected finger or thumb after forceful flexion। In some instances, the opposite hand must be used to passively bring the finger or thumb into extension. In more severe cases, the finger may become locked in a flexed position. Triggering is often more pronounced in the morning than later in the day. Stiffness & catching tend to be worse after inactivity. A nodule or tenderness is noticed at the base of the affected finger. The nodule generally moves with finger flexion & extension.

Investigations- No X-rays or laboratory investigations are usually needed for its diagnosis। But blood sugar examination to rule out diabetes mellitus & other investigations to see the presence of associated medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout are to be done. Blood sugar estimation is particularly essential if multiple fingers are involved.

Differential Diagnosis- Trigger finger may be confused with Dupuytrens contracture, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis etc.


[A] General measures to be taken are- Besides treatment of the associated medical conditions, if any the following should be done-
(1) Rest.
(2) Limitation of activities that aggravate the condition.
(3) Occasionally a splint on the affected hand to restrict the joint movement.
(4) Exercise.
(5) Physiotherapy.

[B] Homeopathic medicines to be used – Ruta Graveolens (Ruta) is the specific remedy which is very effective as its remedy. The potency & frequency of dosage as well as duration of treatment varies with the severity of the condition & the individual

(1) Avoidance of repetitive grasping & releasing of objects.
(2) Modification of activity if it can not be avoided.
(3) Proper selection of tools for the job.
(4) Minimization of repetition. Periodical rest of the hands briefly during repetitive or stressful activity.
(5) Frequent stretching during repetitive activity.

Prognosis- Trigger finger can be effectively managed with homeopathy if treatment is started at the beginning। But patients with diabetes mellitus have a lower response rate.

In short, Trigger finger is a stenosing tenovaginitis which is manifested as a painful condition where a finger or thumb locks when it is bent or straightened & is treated by Ruta.

But in every case, a doctor should be consulted.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some aspects of “Achilles tendonitis” with homoepathic mode of treatment

Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation (tendonitis) of the Achilles tendon which is the thickest & strongest tendon in the body connecting the heel to the calf muscles & thus enables a person to stand on the toes, to walk, to run or to jump. Achilles tendonitis is a frequent complaint in athletes, especially runners training under less than ideal conditions.
Causes- Lack of flexibility & overpronation are the two basic causes. Associated causes may be the following-

[A] Extrinsic-
(1) Repetitive stresses to the tendon.
(2) Overuse.
(3) Overtraining.
(4) Poor conditioning.
(5) Improper training surfaces.
(6) Improper stretching exercises.
[B] Intrinsic-
(1) Age.
(2) Tight Achilles tendon.
(3) Different congenital foot & knee deformities.
(4) Medical diseases affecting tendon tissue like diabetes mellitus.
(5) Use of long continued steroids.
Clinical features-
(1) Pain over & above the back of the heel which increases on participation in activities especially after a period of inactivity. Hence patients complain of pain after first walking in the morning & also on running or jumping.
(2) Tenderness over the Achilles tendon.
(3) Stiffness of the tendon in the morning which gradually lessens as the tendon warms up.
(4) Inability to stretch Achilles tendon without pain.
(5) Mild swelling on the tendon.
(6) Occasionally a cracking sensation when the tendon is under pressure.
(1) Blood Tests- Routine Blood Tests for sugar estimation to exclude diabetes mellitus.
(2) X-rays- X-ray is not useful but should be done as a routine to find out other possible conditions.
(3) MRI- MRI is helpful in evaluating a patient for tears within the tendon. It also can provide useful information in refractory cases & helps in preoperative evaluation & planning in patients being considered for surgery.
Differential Diagnosis- Achilles tendonitis may sometimes be confused with Achilles tendon rupture, Ankle Sprain, Ankle fracture, Retrocalcaneal bursitis, Athletic foot injuries, Achilles bursitis, Deep venous thrombosis, etc


[A] General measures to be taken are-
(1) Rest.
(2) Wearing of a heel pad that slightly raises the heel.
(3) Exercises to strengthen the tendon.

[B] Homeopathic medicines to be used- Homeopathy can be very effective if properly used. Homeopathic medicines to be used depend on the clinical features & the causative factors. Ruta Graveolens (Ruta), Thuya, Benzoicum Acidum ( etc. may be used. The potency & frequency of dosage as well as duration of treatment varies with the severity of the condition & the individual

(1) Warming up & stretching before any sort of sport.
(2) Strict restriction of overdoing of any sport.
(3) Wearing of correct footwear.
(4) Designing of shoes according to the sport with adequate heel support.

Prognosis- Achilles tendon having a poor blood supply is slow to heal. But with proper treatment the affected tendon usually recovers completely, provided treatment is started in time. In case the starting of treatment is delayed, it may develop into a chronic one. With passage of time the inflammation may lead to degenerative changes within the tendon & may even lead to small tears within it which make it susceptible to rupture. Incomplete rehabilitation or a hasty return to activity should be strictly prohibited as it would hamper the healing process & may also lead to re-injury.

In short, Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon which is manifested as pain, tenderness & stiffness of the tendon that increases on participation in activities especially after a period of inactivity & is treated Ruta, Thuya, etc.

But in every case, a doctor should be consulted.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Some aspects of “Baker’s Cyst” with homoepathic mode of treatment

Also known as a ‘Popliteal Cyst’, Baker cyst is a distended bursa caused by knee joint fluid protruding to the back of the knee. It is thus a benign swelling & is named after Dr William Morrant Baker who first described this health condition. The term is a misnomer as it is not a true cyst but is due to synovial fluid distending the bursa.
(1) Idiopathic- Baker cysts may sometimes develop without any apparent cause particularly in children.
(2) Infection- Local infection may cause a retention of fluid with the subsequent formation of a Baker cyst.
(3) Trauma or injury to the knee- It may cause an effusion, thus triggering the formation of a Baker cyst.
(4) Arthritis-Arthritis is the most common & osteoarthritis probably the most frequent among arthritides.
(5) Internal derangement of knee- Internal derangement of knee like meniscal tears etc. may cause an effusion resulting in the formation of a Baker cyst.

Location- It is located posterior to the medial femoral condyle, between the tendons of the medial head of the gastrocnemius & the semimembranosus muscles.

Age- Baker cysts appear much less frequently in children than in adults.

Pathology- Being an extension of the knee joint, a Baker cyst is a synovial cyst lined with a true synovium. In most cases herniation of synovial membrane through posterior part of capsule takes place. . Escape of fluid through the normal communication of bursa with knee is the other mode. The knee joint effusion caused by intrinsic intra-articular disorders or any other cause is displaced into the popliteal bursa, thus reducing potentially destructive pressure in the joint space. So a Baker cyst may have a protective role to play for the knee. In such cases, the popliteal bursa becomes filled up with fluid & consequently expands resulting in the formation of a swelling. The cyst usually communicates with the joint by way of a slit-like opening or may pinch off.
Associated health conditions-Medical conditions associated with Baker cysts are as follows-
(1) Arthritis is the most common among which osteoarthritis is the most important. Rheumatoid arthritis, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis etc are also common.
(2) Internal derangement of knee like meniscal tears etc.
(3) Infection like septic arthritis.
(4) Miscellaneous- Hypothyroidism, Gout, Psoriasis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Sarcoidosis, Haemophilia, etc.

Clinical features- May be asymptomatic or may have the following features in addition to the features of the underlying primary cause-
(1) A slight swelling behind the knee which is particularly noticeable on standing & when compared to the opposite uninvolved knee.
(2) The swelling is usually soft & fluctuant & is with or without pain. Typically these cysts are not painful unless swelling is extensive.
(3) A sensation of tightness behind the knee, especially when the knee is extended or fully flexed.
(4) Restricted mobility of the knee joint.
(5) Transillumination- Transillumination by a shining light through the cyst may show a mass filled with fluid.
(6) In case there is rupture of the cyst, calf tenderness & bruising at the ankle may be present.

(1) X-ray- An X-ray of the knee joint will not show any cyst, but it may show the presence of other abnormalities which may cause development of a Baker cyst.
(2) MRI- An MRI helps to show a cyst with its size & location.
(3) Ultrasound- An ultrasound can also determine the location & contents of a cyst.
(4) Arthrogram- Arthrograpgy may also be utilized for its detection & it is more sensitive than ultrasonography in its detection.

Complications- A Baker cyst may sometimes compress vascular structures & may cause a deep vein thrombosis. It may also rupture & cause extravasation of fluid in the calf. There may also be haemorrhage into the cyst in some cases, particularly if there is any associated bleeding disorder. Infection in case of a Baker cyst is very rare.

Differential Diagnosis- A Baker cyst may sometimes be confused with thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis from which it is to be differentiated by urgent blood tests & other investigations. It may also sometimes be confused with septic arthritis or a ganglion cyst.

[A] General measures to be taken are-
(1) Treatment of underlying cause like arthritis or torn knee cartilage.
(2) Temporarily avoiding activities that may increase the load on the knee joint. (3) Physiotherapy.
(4) Exercises to maintain mobility & strength of the knee joint.
[B] Homeopathic medicines to be used – Homeopathy can be very effective if properly used. Homeopathic medicines to be used depend on the size of the cyst along with its cause & the symptoms produced. Ruta Graveolens (Ruta), Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus tox), Bryonia etc. may be used. The potency & frequency of dosage as well as duration of treatment varies with the severity of the condition & the individual

Prevention- Prevention of knee injury is essential for reducing the risk of development of a Baker cyst for the first time or its recurrence after treatment. Hence supportive footwear appropriate to the activity of an individual is to be worn as well as stoppage of the activity & seeking of medical advice after an injury is needed.
Prognosis- Prognosis of Baker cysts depends on the presence of any underlying knee pathology & the degree of its response to treatment। Most Baker cysts without any underlying knee pathology disappear spontaneously after several years, particularly in children & young adults in whom usually there is no underlying knee pathology। But in some cases a Baker cyst continues to grow with worsening of the symptom & ultimately may rupture & produce acute pain behind the knee & in the calf & swelling of the calf muscles।
In short, a Baker cyst manifests itself as a soft swelling behind the knee with or without pain & can be treated by Ruta, Rhus tox or Bryonia.

But in every case, a doctor should be consulted.