Ask a Doctor: 4 Local MDs Answer Common Questions

Hear from experts on eye care, arthritis, shoulder injuries and more.

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Katherine Finn

Rheumatic Disease Center

What are some common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis commonly presents with multiple tender and swollen joints, especially the small joints of the hands and feet, but may also include the wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles and knees. Typically, symptoms are symmetric. For example, the knuckles on both hands are affected. Prolonged morning stiffness for greater than 30
to 60 minutes is another distinguishing feature. 

What are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis? 

Genetics play a role. Having a second- or first-degree relative with the disease increases risk by two to three times respectively, compared to someone who doesn’t have an affected relative. Females have a twofold risk as compared to males. Smoking is a well-established and modifiable major risk factor. In fact, depending on your genetics, smoking may increase lifetime risk anywhere from 1.5 times to 21 times compared with non-smokers. 

What treatment options are available for managing rheumatoid arthritis?

There are many treatment options, and our goal is to get every patient into remission. Thankfully, a great deal of research has gone into this disease, and the treatment landscape has changed dramatically over the past several decades. We have multiple oral, injectable and infused medications that can make huge improvements in our patients’ quality of life. 

Dr. John Wu

Hand to Shoulder Specialists of Wisconsin

What are some common causes of rotator cuff injuries?

A lot of the time, it’s from overuse. People are working or playing sports where they repeatedly use their arm overhead or lift away from their body – that can wear down the tendon and make it prone to injury when we get older. Other times people fall or have accidents that can lead to tears.  

What kind of treatment options do you offer?

If it’s a degenerative tear that has developed over time and the healing potential is low, we maximize rehabilitation. Physical therapy can improve strength, range of motion and function. We may consider surgery if nonoperative treatment is ineffective or if the tendon has high healing potential. Surgery can vary from simply removing scar tissue around the tendon and shoulder to surgical repair.  

What advances have been made in rotator cuff repair surgery in recent years?

Superior capsular reconstruction is a newer technique that’s being used to treat very large rotator cuff tears that cannot be repaired. With SCR, surgeons use skin from a cadaver to improve function and decrease pain. The short and long-term outcomes are still being investigated.

Dr. Alex Colque

Skiin Anti-Aging Lounge

What is the hottest non-surgical treatment right now?

Emsella, otherwise known as the “Kegel throne,” for mild to moderate incontinence and sexual wellness for sure is on the rise. Emsella is a series of six treatments with two days in between each session. This is a non-surgical treatment that only takes 28 minutes and is very comfortable. You stay fully clothed for the entire time. 

Emsella treats the entire pelvic floor by delivering thousands of contractions per session with high intensity focused electromagnetic technology (HIFEM). Just one session can produce 12,000 contractions, which is the equivalent of doing 12,000 Kegel exercises. The amazing results are both instantaneous and continuous. Because this treatment is non-invasive and non-surgical, there is no downtime. You can immediately return to all normal activities. 

Who should consider using Emsella? 

Emsella is great for anyone experiencing mild to moderate incontinence. It will improve your quality of life. The best time to seek treatment is when you start experiencing mild symptoms. Our expert team will provide a detailed consultation and schedule your treatments typically the day of.

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Dr. Brett Rhode

Eye Care Specialists 

What are some of the symptoms of serious eye problems?

With sight loss, people often don’t notice or are in denial of symptoms, especially when good vision in one eye is able to compensate for problems in the other. However, there are visual indicators that you can watch for, including hazy, blurred or fluctuating vision; slowed adjusting when going between light and dark; difficulty reading fine print or signs; increased glare sensitivity; decreased color or depth perception; dark or blind spots; difficulty judging stairs, boundaries and edges; straight lines appearing wavy;
and poor night vision. 

Friends, relatives and caregivers can also pick up on red flags like excessive squinting, frowning or blinking; com-
plaints of tired eyes or headaches; seemingly impaired memory or attention span; fine motor skills problems; frequent falls or burns; and hesitation to participate in social situations or to perform certain tasks, like driving. 

Comprehensive, dilated eye examinations are the only way to discern if you have an eye problem and whether it is serious enough to require treatment to protect and preserve your sight. If you have no other concerns or conditions, such as diabetes or glaucoma, we recommend scheduling one every two to four years up to age 64, and every one to two years after age 65.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s March issue.

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