Ingalls Joint Center

Joints are all we treat. So we're better at treating them.

Did you know Ingalls is the only hospital in Chicago’s South Suburbs with a center dedicated solely to joint care? And, it’s conveniently close to home. Every year, we help more than 2,000 people like you get back on their feet. What’s more, board-certified orthopedic specialists at Ingalls trained at many of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. So you can feel confident about our experience and our expertise.

Whether you’re staying in one of our 18 comfortable, private patient rooms, or an outpatient, you’ll receive the care of a team of specialized nurses, health professionals and management dedicated completely to joint care. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from surgery or outpatient care through pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation and care in your home. We even offer complementary medicine services like acupuncture, massage therapy and reflexology to help you get moving again.

Ingalls Joint Center team specializes in:

  • Pain management
  • Sports medicine
  • Conservative treatments like physical therapy
  • Arthroscopy
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Joint replacements
  • Joint restoration

The future of joint care is here and now at Ingalls.

Orthopedic surgeons at Ingalls Joint Center treat knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, feet and hands with some of the latest technology available anywhere, including computer-assisted navigation to place new joints with pinpoint accuracy. That means less pain, a faster recovery and better range of motion for you. Here are some of our latest advancements:

The hip is one of the most important joints in the human body. It allows us to walk, run, and jump, and bears the body's weight, as well as the force of the strong muscles of the hip and leg. Besides the shoulder, this ball-and-socket joint is also one of the most flexible, allowing for a much greater range of motion than other joints in the body.

The hip joint itself is made up of two major parts: the hip socket (a part of the pelvic bone called the acetabulum) and the beginning part of the thighbone (called the femur).

Hip Pain

Hip pain involves any pain in or around the hip joint, although it may also be felt in the groin, thigh or knee. Osteoarthritis is the most common disease of the hip. It's caused by wear and tear on the joint. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions the bones and joints, allowing the bones to glide over one another. Over time, or as the result of injury, cartilage can break down and wear away. As a result, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Hip Pain

If you have persistent hip pain, it's important to consult a physician. An examination will help to determine what's causing the soreness, since hip pain can actually come from locations other than the hip, such as the spine, pelvis or leg. Common non-surgical treatments for hip pain include:

  • NSAIDs. Anti-inflammatories, commonly known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (usually abbreviated as NSAIDs) are used primarily to treat mild to moderate hip pain.
  • Physical Therapy. Physical therapy is an integral part of managing hip pain. The hip joint is a very deep joint surrounded by many muscles. Physical therapy aims to strengthen these muscles, increase flexibility, maintain range of motion of the joint, and decrease associated inflammation.
  • Injections. Hip joint injections involve injecting medicine directly into the joint. Injections can help diagnose the source of pain as well as alleviate the discomfort. Cortisone is a common time-released injection that can help reduce inflammation and its associated pain.

Hip Replacement Surgery

The most common reason to have a hip joint replaced is to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits what you can do. Hip joint replacement is usually done in people age 60 and older, although younger patients have had hip replacement too.

Hip replacement replaces all or part of the hip joint with a man-made or artificial joint, called a prosthesis. The artificial hip joint has 4 parts:

  • A socket that replaces the old hip socket. The socket is usually made of metal.
  • A liner that fits inside the socket. It is usually plastic, but some surgeons use ceramic and metal. The liner allows the hip to move smoothly.
  • A metal or ceramic ball that will replace the round head (top) of the thighbone.
  • A metal stem that is attached to the shaft of the bone.

Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery at Ingalls

Nearly 300,000 Americans undergo hip replacement surgery each year, followed by an extensive, activity-limiting recovery process. But not all hip surgeries are the same.

Surgeons at the Advanced Orthopedic Institute at Ingalls offer a unique alternative approach, accessing the hip joint from the front, or anterior. Known as the "anterior approach," the technique minimizes the pain and time from surgery to recovery. A wider range of patients—including larger, heavier patients—may be candidates for minimally invasive or anterior hip surgery.

With the Anterior Approach to hip replacement, orthopedic surgeons at Ingalls use one small incision on the front of the hip. This technique allows the surgeon to work between the muscles and tissues without detaching them from either the hip or thighbones, sparing these tissues from trauma and a lengthy healing process.

Keeping these muscles intact may also help prevent dislocations. Since the incision is in front, patients avoid the pain of sitting on the incision site. (More anterior hip replacement surgeries have been performed at Ingalls than at any other hospital in the State of Illinois.)

The knee is the largest joint in the body, and unfortunately, one of the most easily injured. It's made up of four main structures: bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.

The most common knee injuries include fractures around the knee, dislocation, and sprains and tears of soft tissues, like ligaments. In many cases, injuries involve more than one structure in the knee. Signs of knee injury include pain, swelling or instability – the feeling that your knee is giving way. The knee may also "catch" or lock up.

 

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common symptom in people of all ages. It may start suddenly, often after an injury or exercise, or begin as mild discomfort that slowly worsens. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for knee problems. Other risk factors include overuse of the knee and osteoarthritis.

For mild knee pain, the RICE method – rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation – can help speed your recovery.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You can't bear weight on your knee.
  • You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
  • Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
  • Your knee appears deformed or misshapen.
  • You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee.
  • Significant swelling.
  • Persistent pain after 3 days of home treatment.

Treatment depends on the severity of your injury and your age, general health, and activity level.

 

Nonsurgical Treatment for Knee Pain

Many knee injuries can be treated with simple measures, such as:

  • Immobilization. Your doctor may recommend a brace to prevent your knee from moving. If you have fractured a bone, a cast or brace may hold the bones in place while they heal. To further protect your knee, you may be given crutches to keep you from putting weight on your leg.
  • Physical therapy. Specific exercises help restore function to the knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs). Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen reduce pain and swelling.

 

Surgical Treatments for Knee Pain

Orthopedic surgeons at Ingalls treat knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, feet and hands with some of the latest technology available anywhere, including computer-assisted navigation to place new joints with pinpoint accuracy. That means less pain, a faster recovery and better range of motion for you.

Knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera to look inside your knee. Small cuts are made to insert the camera and small surgical tools into your knee for the procedure.

Arthroscopy may be recommended for the following knee problems:

  • Torn meniscus. (Meniscus is cartilage that cushions the space between the bones in the knee.) Surgery is done to repair or remove it.
  • Torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
  • Torn or damaged collateral ligament.
  • Swollen or damaged lining of the knee joint.
  • Kneecap (patella) that is out of position or misaligned.
  • Small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint.
  • Removal of Baker's cyst, a fluid-filled swelling behind the knee.
  • Cartilage repair.

Knee Replacement Surgery

If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard to perform simple activities, like walking or climbing stairs. You may even begin to feel pain while you are sitting or lying down. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider knee replacement surgery, a safe, effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed in the United States each year, and improvements in surgical techniques and materials have increased its effectiveness since it was first introduced in the late 1960s.

  • Partial Knee Replacement. Osteoarthritis may affect all three sections of your knee—the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and patella (knee cap). However, it may only affect one or two of these, in which case you may be an appropriate candidate for a partial knee replacement, in which only the damaged section of the knee is replaced. A minimally invasive alternative to total knee replacement, the partial knee involves fewer mechanical parts – leaving more natural knee in place.
  • Custom Fit Visionaire Knee Replacement. Every person's knee joint has subtle differences in shape and contour, but traditional surgical instruments used to place knee implants typically are one-size-fits-all. Visionaire technology uses MRI and X-ray images of a patient's knee to design and build surgical instruments that are customized for a patient's unique knee anatomy. During traditional knee replacement surgery, the surgeon spends time adapting the patient's knee to fit the new implant. But with Visionaire, the surgeon comes to the operating room with surgical instruments engineered exclusively for the patient's knee and an implant that matches the knee's dimensions. With computer-guided precision, the knee implant is then carefully put in place. Benefits of the new knee system include less pain, a quicker recovery and a longer-lasting implant. And, because Visionaire delivers pre-sized, pre-aligned instruments, surgery time is shortened, reducing a patient's time under anesthesia.

Cartilage Restoration and Repair. Articular cartilage is the smooth, white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. Healthy cartilage in our joints makes it easier to move. It allows the bones to glide over each other with very little friction. Articular cartilage can be damaged by injury or normal wear and tear. Because cartilage does not heal itself well, doctors have developed surgical techniques to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. Restoring articular cartilage can relieve pain and allow better function. Most importantly, it can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis. At the Advanced Orthopedic Institute at Ingalls, experts now offer several revolutionary new procedures to repair or restore damaged cartilage without the need for joint replacement surgery, including Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, or ACI. ACI is a two-step procedure. New cartilage cells are grown and then implanted in the cartilage defect. First, healthy cartilage tissue is removed from a non-weight-bearing area of the bone. This step is done as an arthroscopic procedure. The tissue that contains healthy cartilage cells, or chondrocytes, is then sent to the laboratory. The cells are cultured and increase in number over a 3- to 5-week period. An open surgical procedure, or arthrotomy, is then done to implant the newly grown cells. The cartilage defect is prepared. A layer of bone-lining tissue, called periosteum, is sewn over the area. This cover is sealed with fibrin glue. The newly grown cells are then injected into the defect under the periosteal cover. ACI is most useful for younger patients who have single defects larger than 2 cm in diameter. ACI has the advantage of using the patient's own cells, so there is no danger of a patient rejecting the tissue.

Every person’s knee joint has subtle differences in shape and contour, but traditional surgical instruments used to place knee implants typically are one-size-fits-all. Visionaire technology uses MRI and X-ray images of a patient’s knee to design and build surgical instruments that are customized for a patient’s unique knee anatomy. During traditional knee replacement surgery, the surgeon spends time adapting the patient’s knee to fit the new implant. But with Visionaire, the surgeon comes to the operating room with surgical instruments engineered exclusively for the patient’s knee and an implant that matches the knee’s dimensions.

With computer-guided precision, the knee implant is then carefully put in place. Benefits of the new knee system include less pain, a quicker recovery and a longer-lasting implant. And, because Visionaire delivers pre-sized, pre-aligned instruments, surgery time is shortened, reducing a patient’s time under anesthesia.

Articular cartilage is the smooth, white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. Healthy cartilage in our joints makes it easier to move. It allows the bones to glide over each other with very little friction. Articular cartilage can be damaged by injury or normal wear and tear. Because cartilage does not heal itself well, doctors have developed surgical techniques to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. Restoring articular cartilage can relieve pain and allow better function. Most importantly, it can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis. At the Advanced Orthopedic Institute at Ingalls, experts now offer several revolutionary new procedures to repair or restore damaged cartilage without the need for joint replacement surgery, including Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, or ACI.

ACI is a two-step procedure. New cartilage cells are grown and then implanted in the cartilage defect. First, healthy cartilage tissue is removed from a non-weightbearing area of the bone. This step is done as an arthroscopic procedure. The tissue that contains healthy cartilage cells, or chondrocytes, is then sent to the laboratory. The cells are cultured and increase in number over a 3- to 5-week period. An open surgical procedure, or arthrotomy, is then done to implant the newly grown cells. The cartilage defect is prepared. A layer of bone-lining tissue, called periosteum, is sewn over the area. This cover is sealed with fibrin glue. The newly grown cells are then injected into the defect under the periosteal cover. ACI is most useful for younger patients who have single defects larger than 2 cm in diameter. ACI has the advantage of using the patient's own cells, so there is no danger of a patient rejecting the tissue.

The Copeland™ Shoulder is a revolutionary surgery done on people with arthritic shoulders that in the past were only candidates for a total shoulder replacement. It is an appropriate option when patients are in the early stages of arthritis. This surgery preserves the bone in the shoulder and provides a secure fit for the new bone to grow into the implant. Patients can still have a total shoulder replacement later in life, but with this implant they can live a normal, less restricted lifestyle than if they were to have a total shoulder replacement. Patients as young as 45 have had this surgery performed and are thrilled with the results. The typical patient is someone who has had multiple surgeries on their shoulder and has been told they are too young to have a shoulder replacement. Unlike a total shoulder implant, the Copeland™ is designed to cap only the top of the humerus, requiring much less bone and cartilage removal.

The shoulder joint is the most movable joint in the body; it is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Unfortunately, the shoulder joint is also one of the most unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons and ligaments. Because of its potential instability, the shoulder is the site of many common problems.

The most common cause of shoulder pain occurs when rotator cuff tendons become trapped under the bony area in the shoulder. The tendons become inflamed or damaged. This condition is called rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. Swelling, damage, or bone changes around the rotator cuff can cause shoulder pain. You may have pain when lifting the arm above your head or moving it forward or behind your back.

Shoulder pain may also be caused by:

  • Arthritis in the shoulder joint
  • Bone spurs in the shoulder area
  • Broken shoulder bone
  • Dislocation of the shoulder
  • Shoulder separation
  • Frozen shoulder, which occurs when the muscles, tendons, and ligaments inside the shoulder become stiff, making movement difficult and painful
  • Overuse or injury of nearby tendons, such as the bicep muscles of the arms
  • Tears of the rotator cuff tendons

Usually shoulder problems are treated with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, and surgery if other treatments don't work.

Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Pain

Orthopedic surgeons at Ingalls Joint Center treat knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, feet and hands with some of the latest technology available anywhere, including computer-assisted navigation to place new joints with pinpoint accuracy. That means less pain, a faster recovery and better range of motion for you.

Arthroscopic Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Repair

Arthroscopy allows the orthopedic surgeon to insert a pencil-thin device with a small lens and lighting system into tiny incisions to look inside the shoulder joint. The images inside the joint are relayed to a TV monitor, allowing the doctor to make a diagnosis. Other surgical instruments also can be inserted to make repairs, based on what is seen with the arthroscope. Because it involves small puncture wounds instead of an open incision, arthroscopy involves less post-operative pain and a quicker recovery. It is typically done as an outpatient procedure.

Several procedures can be performed arthroscopically such as rotator cuff repair; shoulder instability; torn or damaged biceps tendon; bone spur or inflammation around the rotator cuff; arthritis at the end of the collarbone; loose tissue removal; and shoulder impingement syndrome to make more room for the shoulder to move around.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The round end of the arm bone fits into the opening at the end of the shoulder blade, called the socket. During total shoulder replacement, the round end of the arm bone is replaced with an artificial stem that has a rounded metal head. The socket part (glenoid) of the shoulder blade is replaced with a smooth plastic shell or lining that is held in place with a special cement. If only 1 of these 2 bones needs to be replaced, the surgery is called a partial shoulder replacement, or a hemiarthroplasty.

Patients with bone-on-bone osteoarthritis and intact rotator cuff tendons are generally good candidates for this type of surgery.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Another type of shoulder replacement is called reverse shoulder replacement surgery. It is generally used for people who have completely torn rotator cuffs with severe arm weakness; cuff tear arthropathy or severe arthritis with a torn rotator cuff; had a previous shoulder replacement that failed.

For these patients, a conventional shoulder replacement can still leave them with severe pain or unable to lift their arm up past a 90-degree angle. In the "reverse" procedure, the socket and metal ball are switched, meaning the metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone, and a plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm.

Our Physicians

Videos
  • Shoulder Treatment Options

    Orthopedist Dr. Phillip Nigro discusses options for shoulder conditions. [41:30]

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  • Oxford Knee Replacement

    The Oxford Partial Knee Replacement [1:07:36]

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  • Joint Treatments

    Shoulder, Knee & Hip Pain Treatment Options [1:27:44]

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