Osteoarthritis Prevention and Treatment
By Dr. Amelia J. Wiggins, DO
Is knee pain limiting you? Do you find yourself unable to enjoy the activities you want because of sore, achy knees? Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis, affecting over 21 million Americans, yet arthritis is something we don’t tend to think much about until it’s affecting us directly. I hope you’ll learn a little about what arthritis is, how you can prolong the health of your joints, what you can do about early arthritis pain, and when to seek medical help.
Arthritis is when the smooth cartilage in a joint becomes rough and damaged, this causes an inflammatory process creating a painful joint. Damage can occur through everyday wear and tear, trauma, or hereditary factors. Recent scientific research even shows a correlation between gender and arthritis. For example, the cartilage under the kneecap wears faster in women than men, and women tend to have weaker thigh muscles. Both these factors increase our risk for knee arthritis.
So, if women are affected more frequently than men, is there anything we can do to decrease our odds of getting it? The good news is YES! By staying active, strong, and maintaining a healthy weight, you can decrease your risk of arthritis. Low-impact activities such as walking, biking, and yoga can maintain joint health without causing significant damage. These activities also help you maintain a healthy weight which decreases stress across the joint. The knee joint feels 5-7 times your body weight, so even a 5-pound increase or decrease means a lot to your joints! Staying strong is important too. Strengthening exercises for the legs and core build muscle, then decrease forces through your joints to minimize damage. The key is finding activities you enjoy and doing them consistently. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day provides tremendous benefits to your joints and overall health.
For those already experiencing joint pain, I recommend starting with topical or oral NSAIDS* such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, or Voltaren gel. Remember, arthritis is an inflammatory process, so knocking out inflammation will help decrease pain. This goes for diet as well, limiting high inflammatory foods and increasing foods high in antioxidants can improve joint pain. Calcium, Vitamin D, and Glucosamine are also helpful supplements that can improve joint health.
Finally, when you get to the place where joint pain is beginning to affect your everyday life, you’re unable to walk the neighborhood like you used to or are unable to chase the grandbabies – it’s time to seek medical advice and discuss further treatment options. As a skilled orthopedic surgeon specializing in osteoarthritis and joint health, I will sit down with you to discuss your goals and limitations and develop a plan that works for you. Initially, we may try prescription medications or possibly injections that calm and lubricate the joint. Perhaps you’re a candidate for a brace that would unload force through the damaged joint. Or maybe it is time for that knee replacement? Well, we can talk about that too. If that’s the correct next step, we will create a surgical plan that’s specific to you, then execute the plan utilizing robotic technology.
Wherever you are on the spectrum of arthritis, I’d like to talk with you about prevention, management, and if a robotic total or partial knee replacement is right for you. To schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Amelia J. Wiggins, DO call 513-232-2663 or schedule online at http://orthocincywellington.com/.
I look forward to developing a plan together to meet your unique orthopaedic goals! *Speak with your PCP before starting NSAIDS as these may be contra-indicated with certain medical conditions or medications.