Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia Sixers was Diagnosed With Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. What Does This Mean?

According to a story from, Markelle Fultz, who plays as a guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, was recently diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. It has not been good news for him, and as of now he is scheduled to be out indefinitely. It is projected that he will be prepared to play in six weeks after undergoing physical therapy. In this article, we will seek to learn more about how this condition is diagnosed and treated.

About Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome in a medical condition which is characterized by compression of blood vessels and nerves traveling from the neck to the armpit. There are three different types which are distinguished from one another by what passage is most affected (nerves, arteries, or veins). The syndrome may be caused by congenital abnormalities, such as changes to muscle or connective tissue or the presence of cervical ribs. However, in most cases, thoracic outlet syndrome is linked to trauma or repetitive strain. The condition often appears in people whose profession require repetitive arm and shoulder use, such as athletes and musicians. Symptoms include pain in the affected area, loss of muscle at the base of the thumb, arm swelling and discoloration, vision problems, and muscle weakness. Treatment approaches may include botox injections, physical therapy, and surgery. To learn more about thoracic outlet syndrome, click here.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Medhat Mikhael has treated many patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. He says that pain is usually the first symptom. If an MRI scan does not reveal a possible external cause for this pain, than thoracic outlet syndrome as the diagnosis begins to become a strong possibility. This becomes even more likely if the patient has an active lifestyle that could involve repetitive strain. Patients who have received whiplash injuries, such as from a car accident, are also at greater risk. Dr. Mikhael also says that the diagnostic process can often take a long time.

Dr. Mikhael also recommends that physical therapy approaches for thoracic outlet syndrome should include exercises that extend and stretch the neck muscles, which will allow the muscles to relax. Relaxing the muscles should help relieve muscle tightness and allow the passage to open up and stop compression. Most patients should improve after a six to eight week time frame; if not, other options, such as botox or surgery, may be considered.

Dr. Mikhael says that most patients do not need surgery; it is considered something of a last resort, as the procedure can be complicated.

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