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Pumpkin – a Halloween treat good for your joints


Did you know that pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snakebites? False claims aside, pumpkins are good for you! They are low in calories, fat and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein and iron. And protein and iron are good for your bones! Iron helps certain enzymes and local regulators function properly so that we can form the optimal bone matrix or structure for bone strength. Proteins are our bodies' building blocks. We use protein to build tissue during growth and to repair and replace tissue throughout life. We also need protein to help heal fractures and to make sure our immune system is functioning properly. Getting Read More...

What’s so scary about joint replacement surgery?


Just as there are risks involved with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with joint replacement surgery. Most surgeries go well, without any complications. But you should know - infection and blood clots are two serious complications that concern us greatly. To avoid these complications, we use antibiotics and blood thinners respectively. We also take special precautions in the operating room to reduce risk of infections. One of the best ways to reduce your risks is to choose an experienced surgeon! Over the past 25+ years, Dr. Zehr has performed more than 5,000 complex joint revision surgeries. The Zehr Center team has developed educational materials to guide you every step along the way Read More...

Understanding osteoarthritis


Arthritis includes more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions, but the most common is osteoarthritis, affecting more than 75% of people over the age of 55. "Osteoarthritis is a huge public health problem that's going to grow considerably in the next 20 years," predicts rheumatologist Patience White, a spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation. Almost 54 million Americans say they have been diagnosed with arthritis. By 2030, the number is expected to grow to 67 million. Obesity, lack of physical activity, injuries, and the aging population are all factors contributing to this unprecedented growth. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by a breakdown of articular cartilage in the Read More...

What to do about that charley horse


You have over 600 muscles in your body. These muscles control everything you do, from breathing to putting food in your mouth to swallowing. To move your muscles, your brain sends signals to the voluntary muscles and coordinates the movements that you want. The voluntary muscles contract as they're being used and they become tighter. The muscles then relax when the movement is complete. When the contraction/relaxation cycles are done repeatedly, as in exercising, the fibers become stronger and the muscles get larger and stronger. However, sometimes the muscles, or just a few fibers within the muscle, contract on their own, causing a muscle spasm or cramp. The difference between a spasm and a cramp is the Read More...

Questions to ask when your joints heat up


Most forms of joint pain involve some kind of inflammation - either local or systemic. When injured, a chain of events in your immune system known as the inflammatory cascade is triggered. In a careful balance of give and take, this process starts with pro-inflammatory hormones calling out for white blood cells to clean up damaged tissue and clear out infection. This is what causes the redness, swelling and pain we often see with injury. Next, anti-inflammatory compounds take over to heal the area once the threat is diminished. When this process, known as local or acute inflammation, waxes and wanes in response to injury it's a sign of a healthy immune system. Yet when the symptoms of inflammation don't Read More...

Protect your joints with proper warm-up before running


Start with easy walking or jogging to warm your muscles and increase the blood and lymphatic flow. Walk easy for one minute, then walk briskly (on the edge of running) for one to two minutes before you start to run. If you have any niggling areas that are giving you trouble (like IT band or calf tightness), do some self-massage with light, short strokes. Again, you're not trying to release the tension in the targeted spot but rather warm it up. If you don't have any tight spots, skip this step. The key for runners is to target the muscle groups used for running. You want to warm up with flexion and extension of the legs, and lateral movements, especially before harder effort runs or races. Warming up the Read More...

Revision joint replacement


As people live longer and more people receive joint replacements at younger ages, it is expected that an increasing number of those implants will wear out and / or fail for some reason. In these cases a second operation will be necessary to replace or revise the failed first replacement and this procedure is referred to as revision joint replacement. The increasing demands placed on these implants by patients in terms of longevity and durability; and expectations of patients to maintain their active lifestyles even with a joint replacement has presented a considerable reconstructive challenge to the surgeon, most of whom will not even attempt these complex revision surgeries. Fortunately, despite the Read More...

Three good habits for joint health


When we think of habits, we usually think of bad ones we need to break. But a habit in and of itself is not a "bad" habit! There are "good" habits to have as well, and here are three habits that are good for your joint health. If they aren't part of your lifestyle, I encourage you to make them so! ACE Your Eating Habits Aim for a diet high in Vitamins A, C, and E. Choices include yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, and dark leafy greens for the A; grapefruit, oranges, papaya, mangoes, raspberries, pineapples, asparagus, red peppers, and broccoli for the C; avocados, whole-grain breads and cereals, sunflower seeds and peanut butter for the E. Vitamin A helps Read More...

Why do my joints pop?


Snap! Crackle! Pop! As we age, our joints can resemble the claim made by an old Rice Krispies commercial - we hear them snap, crackle and pop as we move about. Often the noises are produced when your joints expand, as in movement, and the space within the joint is increased. That causes a drop in pressure which in turn causes a release of carbon dioxide. It is this release of carbon dioxide that creates the sound. Or the sounds can be created by ligaments or tendons quickly snapping over bone because it is too tight. With proper stretching and physical therapy this condition can generally be resolved. Conversely, some people have inherently looser ligaments than others do and so their joints are more Read More...

Joint injections for arthritis


If you have attended one of my educational seminars in the past, you may recall one of my opening remarks - that my goal is to keep you out of my office for as long as possible! That means we investigate several options to get you relief from you're your joint pain before considering surgery. You want to keep your own joints as long as possible. One of the treatment options is injections of corticosteroids (also commonly known as cortisone). Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce joint inflammation. Because the medication is injected directly into the joint, the effects of the medication are concentrated on the painful joint. The injected cortisone can bring the inflammation in Read More...
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