If you are one of the nearly half a million people a year who have already had one or more hips or knees replaced we hope you’re faring well. Today’s message from New Orleans Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer is for people who are not yet a part of those statistics.
Although the human body has an amazing capacity to repair itself, our joints are actually quite fragile. When the cartilage that protects bones wears away, it does not grow back; in fact, thinning cartilage contributes to osteoarthritis, a painful and often debilitating medical condition.
According to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon, over time, arthritic joints can become so sore and swollen that they need to be replaced with mechanical alternatives. Fortunately, you can take action now to protect your joints, in order to reduce your chances of needing replacement surgery later.
If your joints are still intact, or just beginning to creak, here are some ways to keep osteoarthritis at bay.
Control your weight: The more you weigh, the more pressure is placed on your joints, which can result in joint damage. Studies have found a connection between being overweight and osteoarthritis of the knees or even the hips. For reasons not well understood, weight is typically more of risk factor for women than men.
Go low-impact: Although no conclusive link has been found between osteoarthritis of the knee and running (or any other sport), New Orleans orthopedic surgeons discourage their patients from engaging in activities on hard surfaces.
Avoid injury: Major injuries – typically the type that require surgery – greatly increase your risk for osteoarthritis. Studies show that 10 to 20 years after a person injures the anterior cruciate ligament or menisci of the knee, that person has a 50% chance of developing arthritis of the knee and those rates are even higher when the injury happens in the patient’s 30s or 40s.
Get fit: The better toned your muscles are, the less likely you are to injure yourself, and building muscles up around joints acts like a shock absorber, spreading stress across the joint. Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon recommends Pilates, moderate weight lifting, yoga and swimming, which are all nonimpact forms of exercise that firm up your muscles without endangering your cartilage.
Be skeptical: Don’t waste your money on specialized nutrients. Popular supplements marketed for healthy joints — can be expensive and probably are of limited benefit, according to many orthopedic surgeons.
Joints are like car parts – with proper care and maintenance, they last longer. If you are experiencing joint pain – don’t hesitate – contact the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer to schedule a consultation before it’s too late!