This of course does not mean that everyone has to come into a hospital. As a means of protecting our more vulnerable patients and allowing everyone more choice as to what is best for them, we have set up telephone clinics to do virtual consultations. Over the last few months we have found a lot of ways that we can help without a face to face appointment. Whilst orthopaedics is quite a physical specialty, around 70% of diagnoses can be made on the basis of patients describing their symptoms when it comes to hip and knee pathology. This is done by Mr. Miles asking specific questions about pain, dysfunction and any injuries that have occurred. As an example, a slow onset of pain in the groin which worsens over time and is exacerbated by activity in a middle-aged or older person is very likely to be osteoarthritis. It is then possible to arrange for X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. If this pain was on the outer bone of the hip and improved by walking it is more likely to be a condition called gluteal tendinopathy and an MRI would be more useful. In the knee, a twisting injury with a popping feeling and immediate swelling is likely to be an anterior cruciate ligament tear and would require an MRI too.
As such, a virtual consultation can be nearly as useful as a face to face consult. It allows us to get you access to the correct diagnostic tests and begin the process of planning treatment once an accurate diagnosis has been reached. It is no fun sitting at home worrying about what might be wrong with your hip or knee and just finding out what the diagnosis is can be really helpful. As we now have access to more physiotherapists, we can begin conservative and non-operative treatment. We are also able to assess the need for surgery and book surgery dates that suit patients.