May 17, 2021

Treating Common Orthopedic Ailments in Men

Men of all ages are susceptible to orthopedic ailments, whether in the form of back pain, shoulder pain, or knee pain.

Fred Speck, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with SJMC Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, says there are a variety of orthopedic conditions that affect men differently. 

“Sometimes men will engage in some activity over one weekend and quickly learn they’ve overdone it when they wake up on Monday morning with a myriad of aches and pains that weren’t there before,” said Speck.

According to Speck, young men in their 20s and 30s are not immune to developing orthopedic issues. They often present with knee injuries as a result of weight-shifting activities like basketball. In older men, tennis elbow, or the inflammation of the tendons in the forearm, is the result of overuse from repeatedly using hands in a similar motion. This type of injury is seen quite often in golfers, for example, because of the constant gripping action required to play.

“Rotator cuff or shoulder injury is another common complaint among men,” said Speck. “The likelihood of developing such an injury increases over time with age but can also be prevalent in men with occupations that require frequently performing overhead motions like painters and carpenters.”

Straining the lower back is another condition that can affect men of all ages, especially if they lift something improperly.

“When you lift something incorrectly, the muscles in your back will begin to spasm,” said Speck. “Because your back muscles are not working correctly, you put an extra load on your bones, ligaments, and spine.”

When it comes to treating these types of injuries, Speck prefers to go the conservative route with a combination of ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. You should use ice 24 to 48 hours after an injury has occurred to reduce inflammation, while heat therapy should be used for more chronic conditions, helping to improve blood flow, and causing muscles to relax.

“Physical therapy also is an excellent way to treat orthopedic injuries and does wonders if a patient complies,” said Speck.  

Anti-inflammatory injections and surgery are always the last resort.

Regardless of the type of sport you enjoy or the occupation you have, there are some simple steps you can take to ward off orthopedic injuries, including maintaining a healthy weight and getting plenty of physical activity and conditioning.

“Keeping a healthy weight and exercising can take the pressure off your joints and alleviate pain,” said Speck. “Additionally, a healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, protein, and one that is low in carbs and fats can help decrease the overall inflammation in the body, which can ward off many orthopedic aches and pains.”  

Have an injury that is holding your back? Make an appointment with Dr. Speck today by visiting