Using a cane is one approach to relieving joint paint from osteoarthritis. If your osteoarthritis is starting to cause more pain and stiffness in your hips and knees, using a cane might give you some relief. A cane helps take some of the strain of walking and standing off the weight-bearing joints. Many people only need to use their canes during flare-ups.
To measure yourself for a cane, stand upright, allowing your arms to relax at your side, with a normal bend in the elbow. Have someone measure the distance from your wrist joint to the floor. The number is the right length of cane for you. You can also estimate the proper cane length by dividing your height by two. For most people, the right sized cane is
Ultrasound treatments have been around since the 1950s. They are most often used by physical therapists or occupational therapists to treat pain conditions and to promote tissue healing. While ultrasound therapy is not effective for all chronic pain conditions, it may help reduce your pain if you have osteoarthritis.
How does the ultrasound machine work?
The ultrasound unit gets its power from the electricity in the wall outlet. The electricity enters the unit at the standard 60 cycles per second (60 Hertz). The ultrasound machine ramps the frequency up much higher, generally either to one million (one megahertz, or 1 MHz) or 3.5 million (3.5 MHz) cycles per second. The electricity then travels
Medical tourism is about to take off in Southwest Florida. Our area has been flying under the radar for some time now, but recent additions to the medical landscape have elevated our piece of paradise into the mainstream.
Medical tourism gets a boost from same-day outpatient joint replacement surgery
It’s now possible for you to have a same-day knee replacement, hip replacement or other total joint replacement on an outpatient basis, if your overall health is good and your insurance plan allows it. Seaside Surgery Center, a physician-owned ambulatory surgery center conveniently located in Naples, Florida, is gaining a stellar reputation for outpatient joint replacement surgeries. It’s where the first
Gout is a form of arthritis resulting from a buildup of uric acid in the body. It causes attacks of painful joint inflammation, often described as burning pain. They generally manifest in only one joint, most commonly the MTP joint at the base of your big toe. Within eight to 12 hours, the joint becomes swollen, warm, and red. It can be so sensitive to touch that even the weight of a sheet causes excruciating pain. Attacks usually happen at night. The pain may go away on its own. It may take a few hours or it may take several weeks.
Attacks of gout may be erratic, there may be months in between them. Over time, the attacks increase in frequency and duration and they involve more joints. Eventually the pain
Leave the cookies for Santa if you are experiencing arthritis pain in your joints. There are several steps you can take toward easing the pain of arthritis and they should be explored before you consider surgery to replace a joint.
One factor that is front and center during the holidays is nutrition! Tempting as it is to take a bite of every Christmas goody that passes you by (after all, it's only polite!), the extra calories will be doing more harm to your joints than goodwill to all men. Your nutrition plays a major role in how you feel pain. What you eat will give your body the chemistry it needs to make an inflammatory response. Inflammation is what your immune system creates when there is some kind
Ultrasound for healing bones? It may be "sound" advice!
Anyone who has experienced a bruised bone knows that it is painful, very painful. A broken bone is even worse. After the initial injury is diagnosed and medically treated, the real hardship such an event creates is the healing process. as quickly as possible is essential for ultimate pain relief. Pain medications may be useful in the initial healing process, however, for long term healing, prescription medications can be addicting and dangerous. Because of that, some people have turned to alternative or supplemental healing methods, including using ultrasound for healing bones.
Ultrasound has been shown to have positive results in the healing of
Testing for osteoarthritis begins in your physician’s office.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also known as degenerative joint disease or the “wear and tear” of your joints. Osteoarthritis affects almost everybody in some manner as they grow older.
If you suspect osteoarthritis to be the cause of your joint pain, your orthopaedic surgeon can perform a few tests to determine if that is indeed the underlying cause. Common signs of osteoarthritis are stiff, achy joints.
The first step in testing for osteoarthritis is to take your personal medical history and conduct a thorough physical exam. In fact, this may be all that is needed to reach the conclusion that you have
Bone-building holiday foods abound. Holiday tables will be set with all kinds of food that can be beneficial to your joint health. Keeping in mind that overindulgence in any food is not wise, here are a few traditional dishes that may benefit you.
Not Such a Shrimp: They are tasty and convenient, and one of the few major dietary sources of bone-building vitamin D. Just 3 oz. provides about 30% of the recommended daily amount - more than a cup of fortified milk. Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C, along with other nutrients essential for general health, including iron and vitamin B12.
Oh So Sweet Potatoes: We are talking about the actual vegetable here, not the gooey, yummy
Aging athletes can find paradise in Florida – our temperate climate allows us to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Sporting activities are part of a healthy life choice. They build good muscle tone, strong bones, and a resilient cardiovascular system. But over time, our bodies become less fit, and aging athletes, more than most, may feel the loss of the days of greater strength and endurance. It can seem as if the body that had previously been at your beck and call has abandoned you, and just at the time in your life when more time is available to participate in the sporting activities you enjoy. What has happened and what can you do about it?
At about age 45, our bodies begin to lose
Bone health is determined by a combination of factors. While there are several factors affecting our bone health over which we have no control - such as gender, size, and age, race and family history - there are a few simple steps we can each take to prevent or slow the inevitable bone loss that we experience as we grow older.
Include plenty of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70. Good
You’ve been sitting at a desk for the better part of each day; your activity may consist of getting in and out of the car as you run errands; perhaps you take a stroll around the block after dinner. Then the weekend arrives and you gear up for a marathon. Wait! Don’t do it! You could be causing harm to your body, not to mention your ego, as you struggle to eke out those last few miles.
Jumping into a sports activity or prolonged workout on the weekend, or even an intensive session of home improvement or gardening, has earned proponents the moniker of “weekend warrior.” Ironically, the heroic sounding title has a ring of truth. You are throwing your body into battle, a war that, unfortunately, you
Choosing the right orthopaedic surgeon can take time and patience. And when it comes to important procedures like orthopedic surgery, selecting the right specialist is even more important. For instance, an older patient who needs a hip replacement may need a different doctor than a teenager with a torn ACL. These tips can help you in choosing the right orthopaedic surgeon to treat your medical condition.
Ask about medical education and residency experience. It's important that your orthopedic specialist attended accredited medical programs, and that he or she completed residency in a reputable program. Before scheduling an initial consultation with an orthopedist, call the office to ask about the doctor's
Good nutrition can speed your post-surgical healing. Even the most minimally invasive hip or knee surgery is still exactly that - invasive. Any type of surgery is a deliberate, skillful injury to your body. It makes sense, then, to do all you can to speed the healing of your body following surgery.
Your orthopaedic surgeon, the hospital staff and your post-operative care team, will do everything medically possible to provide a good surgical outcome and recovery. You can help their efforts by boosting your body’s healing power through good nutrition.
A few weeks before surgery, begin increasing your protein intake to both build up your strength and your tissues. Your body needs protein to repair tissue,
Joint replacement in younger patients continues to increase. More joint replacements are being done now than ever. In fact, it is estimated that there were more than 1 million hip and knee replacements done in the U.S last year. This is more than double the number done just 10 years ago.
Although it is of no surprise that the more senior age group, the Medicare age patient, makes up a significant portion of this population - it may come as a surprise to many that half of all of the joint replacements done in this country are in the under 65 age group. The mid 50’s is the time when the arthritic joint starts to become painful and, for many, incapacitating. It is projected that the volume of hip and
A second opinion for knee pain relief may be the first step that’s needed. Consider the following situation:
A doctor tells a patient they need a knee replacement, even though the knee just started hurting a few weeks ago and no other treatments have been attempted. Progressing to surgery without trying less invasive treatment first is generally not advisable.
Most of the time, the physician would try to determine if the patient had tried any of the over-the-counter arthritis medications such as Aleve, Ibuprofen or even Tylenol for a period. In addition, there are prescriptions for arthritis medications that cause fewer stomach problems, but cost a bit more. For many people these medications work
Corticosteroids are one form of medication prescribed to treat the pain of arthritis. If you have not felt relief from a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe corticosteroids. These powerful drugs greatly decrease inflammation. They provide pain relief for a period.
Corticosteroids are chemical copies of hormones occurring naturally in your body. They may be administered orally, by injection directly into the inflamed joint, or applied topically by way of a cream. Prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone are the most commonly used corticosteroids.
Side effects of corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are highly
Total joint replacement surgery is common. Each year, over 750,000 people in the U.S. undergo total joint replacement surgery. Typically, candidates for this surgery have chronic joint pain from arthritis that severely diminishes their ability to perform normal daily activities. This often leads to a loss of independence and self-esteem. A replacement joint can make a big difference in your ability to return to work or other activities that you enjoy.
Total joint replacement patients should expect to recover quickly when compared to just a few years ago. The hospital stay is typically only 2-3 days. Some patients are able to have their total joint replacement surgery on an outpatient basis, even going home
NSAIDs are often recommended in the treatment of arthritis. “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” may be the advice you receive from your doctor when you suffer from arthritis pain. Aspirin is a class of drug known as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to an injury, its first step in the healing process. But with arthritis, the inflammation response gets out of control and actually damages tissues. Doctors recommend NSAIDs for their anti-inflammatory properties. They also have pain- and fever-reducing properties. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are NSAIDs that are available over-the-counter. Other NSAIDs require a
Preventing muscle cramps is not easy. Your body contains more than 600 muscles. Some of these muscles are voluntary and some are involuntary. Voluntary muscles are those you move by choice. They are the ones most often affected by cramps. In particular, the calf muscles, the muscles in your upper arms, the muscles behind your thighs, and the muscles in front of your thighs are susceptible to cramping.
You control your voluntary muscles by sending a signal from your brain to the muscle. When a voluntary muscle contracts on its own, you experience a muscle cramp or spasm. The difference between the two is the force of the muscle contraction. A rapid contraction and release of muscle, without pain, is a spasm.
Aching joints can really put a dent in your activities, especially in cold weather. We don't often use "cold" and "Florida" in the same sentence, but temperatures do drop over the winter months. The factor that may be responsible for your aching joints is not snow, cold or rain, but actually, a change in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the atmosphere at any given point. As cold weather moves in, the barometric pressure begins to drop.
Cold weather does not affect everyone with arthritis, but if you experience aching joints as the mercury drops, try the remedies below.
Layer your clothing. Layers trap body heat and help you avoid rapid
Sleep and pain management problems are among the most common complaints in our society, frequently occurring in the same person. The pain of osteoarthritis may interfere with sleep. Conversely, poor sleep may also promote pain and fatigue. Studies have shown that several nights of disturbed sleep in healthy people causes nonspecific generalized muscle aching and fatigue.
We define sleep as the natural periodic suspension of consciousness. The body restores itself during sleep. Sleep is a complex process involving several stages. There are changes in the chemistry and behavior of the body during sleep.
Proper sleep is necessary for the normal function of the body. Moreover, many processes in the body rely
Sleep disturbance can wreak havoc on your health. In a recent post, we looked at the importance of sleep to managing chronic pain, such as that associated with osteoarthritis. If you are suffering from disturbed sleep, it may be for one of these reasons:
Apnea means “without breath.” If you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds, you are having an apneic episode. You may have sleep apnea if you have more than five apneic episodes in an hour. The oxygen level in your blood or tissues also plays a part in a diagnosis of this sleep disturbance. A normal oxygen level is 95 percent and above. In sleep apnea, your oxygen level may drop to 80 percent or lower. Levels below 70 percent are
Pumpkin is a Halloween treat that is actually 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
Joint replacement surgery is not a scary ordeal. But just as there are risks involved with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with joint replacement surgery.
Joint replacement surgery complications
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 6,000 complex joint revision surgeries. The
Osteoarthritis is the most common of the more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions known as arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects 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
Reducing joint pain can begin with a measure as simple as choosing the right foods. What you eat plays a major role in how you feel pain. What you eat will give your body the chemistry it needs to make an inflammatory response. Inflammation is what your immune system creates when there is some kind of insult or damage to your tissue. Inflammation is not the only cause of pain but it can make your pain feel more intense and last longer.
The chemistry that creates pain signals in your body is increased by starchy and sugary foods. It can be decreased by protein foods. Controlling inflammation and therefore pain is done best by avoiding carbohydrates you don't need. This means sweets and many of the grain
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
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
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
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
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
Joint injections for arthritis pain are a hot topic. 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.
Joint injections of corticosteroids
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
Aqua exercise for arthritis can be enjoyable and beneficial at the same time! Exercise is important for people with arthritis and for people who have had a joint replacement. Keeping your weight down and your muscles strong can help to delay joint replacement and improve your surgical result from joint-replacement surgery.
Our mild Florida winters and abundance of swimming pools makes exercising in the water convenient for most folks. Using the natural buoyancy of water is one way to experience the benefits of aqua exercise for arthritis with a minimum of impact on your joints. When you're in the water up to your waist, your body bears just half of its weight; when it's up to your chest only 25 percent; and
Joint pain relief strategies to try. If your goal is to get relief from your joint pain, here are three strategies to help you achieve it.
1) Educate Yourself. But do it wisely. Guests at my educational seminar often chuckle when I say early on that it's my goal to keep them away from guys like me - meaning surgeons. There are several avenues you should explore before deciding on surgery. Surgery for joint pain relief is the final step and of course we want you to take that step with us, but not until it's absolutely necessary. Avail yourself of as many educational resources as possible. You can start with the extensive Patient Education section on our website, or watch my seminar online.
2) Eat to