The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Knee Replacement – 82 mentions

Some basics about knee replacement surgery, and the cost and risks involved in pre-operative CT scans in knee and hip replacements, were popularly discussed in January. According to an article shared by Neil Bradbury, a knee surgeon specialist and orthopaedic consultant, personalised knee implants allows for more bone preservation, than traditional knee replacement methods. This allows for more bone stock for future treatment.

Custom-made knees are created specifically for an individual, and requires less bone cutting than traditional treatments. In addition, patients suffering with unicompartmental disease are able to preserve their knee for future treatments and will also experience faster recovery and reduced post-operative pain than with traditional knee replacements.

Knee replacement also trended in discussions shared by Lee E Rubin, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specialising in reconstruction surgery, on how common robotic knee replacement and hip replacement procedures require a pre-operative CT scan, which exposes patients to radiation therapies that would otherwise not be required. This is both expensive and adds potential risks, Rubin added.

2. Tendon – 51 mentions

Bicep tendon injuries and treatment, and how Achilles tendon tear or rupture is repaired were popularly discussed in January. According to an article shared by Peter Millet, a shoulder surgeon and sports medicine specialist, bicep tendon injuries can occur either in the shoulder joint or at the elbow joint.

The article also noted that there can be a variety of bicep tendon tears such as a partial tear that does not completely severe the tendon, and a shoulder tear or an elbow tear. Most of these ruptures happen due to constant strain and wear and tear of the muscles in the biceps and tendon.

Other discussions related to tendon was shared by Dr Steve A Mora, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, showing a video on the Achilles tendon tear surgical repair. He explains that such a tendon tear is a traumatic injury that causes sudden pain behind the ankle. Patients generally tend to hear a pop or snap sound when such a tear occurs.

Experts such as Dr Mora suggest that a surgical repair increase the probability of another tear, but a non-surgical treatment is a better option if one is willing to be casted. He further added that recovery can be painful with wound issues and not elevating the leg would be a good option.

3. Back Pain – 47 mentions

Whether antidepressants help chronic back pain and osteoarthritis and controlling lower back pain with pelvic stability were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Stefano Sinicropi, an orthopaedic spine surgery specialist, antidepressants are generally used for treating back pain, but a recent research from the University of Sydney has revealed that they offer little or no help for chronic back pain and osteoarthritis. Instead, they can also cause harm.

Although clinical practice recommends the use of antidepressants for long term chronic back pain, as well as for hip and knee osteoarthritis, there is no evidence that supports its use, the article detailed.

Another discussion related to back pain was shared by Lynda Lippin, a master pilates teacher and personal trainer, about how to control back pain by controlling the stability of the pelvis. She opines to keep the pelvis stable while doing lower body exercises such as heavy lifting, and to apply the same while doing exercises like knee ups, squats, and knee folds.

4. Arthritis – 40 mentions

Walking and running with knee arthritis and training algorithms to read knee x-rays for arthritis were popularly discussed in January. According to an article shared by Howard Luks, an orthopaedic surgeon, walking as many as 6,000 steps can help reduce all causes of mortality. In fact, some experts claim that walking or running do not increase the severity of arthritis.

On the contrary, a recent study comprising runners and non-runners suffering from knee osteoarthritis found runners to do better and require knee replacement much later in their lives. They were also found to be happier than their non-running cohorts.

Arthritis also trended in discussions shared by Jonathan P Braman, a shoulder surgeon, on how machine learning programmes trained with patients’ reports are able to find problems that doctors miss. For example, a recent study that involved training algorithms to read knee x-rays for arthritis found that radiologists had blind spots when it came to reading Black patients’ x-rays.

Algorithms could, therefore, be effective in reducing disparities in who would require a surgery for arthritis and thereby make healthcare more equitable. African Americans, for example, were about 40% less likely to receive a knee replacement, even though they were as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, the article noted.

5. Arthroscopy – 34 mentions

Arthroscopy being the last resort for knee ailments and hip arthroscopy being an evolving field were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by David J Chao, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medical analyst, arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed onto a joint for treatment or examination via an arthroscope, should be the last resort for any kind of knee injury, but it depends wholly on the need and reason.

He further added that the correlation between arthroscopic surgeries and the likelihood of re-injury and long-term consequences depended on the specific pathology or the study and diagnosis of the condition.

Other discussions surrounding arthroscopy was shared by Dr Derek Ochichai, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, on how hip arthroscopy is an evolving field. As the understanding of hip conditions is rapidly expanding, so is minimally invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures such as intra and extra articular pathology of the hip joint.

For example, experts still find the role of hip labral reconstruction, which is typically performed in revision hip surgery, as controversial.