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Hip and Knee Joint Care

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Hip and Knee Joint Care

Learn how to give care to your knee and hip joints to help avoid orthopedic surgery.

The top orthopedic surgeons will tell you that it is important that all non-surgery treatment options are taken prior to undergoing surgery. Anytime we can get something to help patients without surgery we like to provide. Here is some helpful tips on how to avoid orthopedic surgery and give your knee and hip joints the care they deserve.

Why We Need Joint Surgery

Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Although the human body has an amazing capacity to repair itself, our joints are surprisingly fragile. When the cartilage that cushions bones wears away, it does not grow back. Thinning cartilage contributes to osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition.

Over time, arthritic joints can become so sore and inflamed that they need to be replaced with mechanical substitutes.

Fortunately, you can act to protect your joints now, to reduce your chances of needing to replace them later.

Weight Loss

Lose Weight

Lose Weight

The more you weigh, the more pressure on your joints, which can lead to joint damage. When you walk, each knee bears a force equivalent to three to six times the body’s weight. If you weigh a mere 120 pounds, your knees are taking a 360-pound, or more, beating with every step.

Studies have found a connection between being overweight and developing osteoarthritis of the knees, and to a lesser extent the hips. One recent review found that 27 percent of hip replacements and 69 percent of knee replacements might be attributed to obesity.

For reasons not well understood, weight is more of risk factor for women than men. A woman’s risk for developing osteoarthritis is linearly related to her weight. Men who are moderately overweight are not as at high a risk as a woman of the same weight. A woman can substantially lower her risk by shedding pounds. An osteoarthritis study found that when a woman lost 10 pounds, her risk of osteoarthritis of the knee dropped by half.

Low Joint Impact

Low Impact Exercise

Low Impact Exercise

Although no definitive link has been found between osteoarthritis of the knee and running or any other sport, sports medicine doctors discourage their patients from running on hard pavement, playing tennis on concrete or activities like skiing. Impact sports put too much stress on the joints, particularly the knees. These activities may lead to O.A. and they definitely can escalate the progression of the condition.

If you run regularly, try to do so on a track or treadmill and consider swapping one run a week for something low-impact like swimming, biking, lifting weights or tai chi.

Avoid Injury

Avoid Injuries

Avoid Injuries

Avoiding injury is easier said than done, since it just seems to always surprise us when it does happen. However, you can decrease your risk of injury, since injuries lead starting to surgery and greatly increase your risk for osteoarthritis.

According to one big study, 10 to 20 years after a person injures the anterior cruciate ligament or menisci of the knee, that person has a 50 percent chance of having arthritis of the knee. Those rates are even higher when the injury happens in your 30s or 40s. As you move into middle age, it’s crucial to avoid sports that predispose you to injury.

Weekend warriors, who sit at a desk Monday through Friday, and then run or play basketball for five hours straight on the weekend, are at a high risk for injury, and thus for osteoarthritis.

Get Fit With The Right Exercise

Best Exercises

Best Exercises

It makes sense. The better toned your muscles are, the less likely you are to injure yourself unless you are also playing football every Saturday morning.

Building muscles up around joints acts like a shock absorber, spreading stress across the joint. Pilates, moderate weight lifting, vinyasa yoga and swimming are all nonimpact forms of exercise that firm up your muscles without jeopardizing your cartilage.

No definitive link exists between increased flexibility and lower, or higher, rates of osteoarthritis. But some doctors interviewed said they believed that by regularly stretching your muscles you are less likely to injure your joints. It can’t hurt to judiciously stretch your muscles after a workout. And even if it won’t protect your joints from deterioration, it will certainly make your muscles feel better.

Braces

Knee Brace

Knee Brace

Prescribed by a doctor and fitted by a physical therapist, braces can improve the alignment of the knee, relieving pain.

Cortiscosteroid Injections

Cortiscosteroid Injections

Cortiscosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections into the knee joint help to reduce inflammation, which can alleviate pain without causing side effects associated with oral corticosteroids.

Electrical Stimulation

Electrical Joint Stimulation

Electrical Joint Stimulation

Electrical stimulation may reduce pain by strengthening the quadriceps (the large muscles on the front of the thigh that help stabilize the knee joint), or it may even encourage regeneration of cartilage cells.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic acid injections, which supplement a naturally occurring lubricant lacking in the joints of people with osteoarthritis, may decrease pain and increase function for some people and help delay arthritis knee surgery, although their use is controversial.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to relieve knee pain in some studies, but there is little good-quality evidence that it works better than placebo.

OTC Medication

Over The Counter Medication

Over The Counter Medication

Over-the-counter medications, such as the analgesic acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), ease pain. But several recent studies indicate that some NSAIDs may delay healing of connective tissues such as cartilage or tendons.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

Prescription medications are available to ease pain and decrease inflammation. Whether they improve tissues in the joint continues to be investigated.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

The National Institutes of Health is funding a study to see whether the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin helps repair cartilage. The duo has been shown to reduce pain in people with moderate-to-severe knee pain – those who need it most.

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