It’s proven that obesity and its related diseases have an adverse effect on outcomes in orthopedic surgical cases. Morbid obesity, defined as a BMI of 40 or more, is particularly worrisome. This is especially true for patients with type-2 diabetes, a disease most often caused by excess weight and obesity.
As a result, if pre-op testing comes back showing significant operative risk due to any number of obesity related diseases, most especially type-2 diabetes, patients may be placed on appropriate medications, but ultimately, losing weight prior to surgery is the best and healthiest option.
Arthritis is a degenerative disorder of the joints that can eventually lead to a great deal of pain and disability as it becomes more severe. Therefore, many patients who are experiencing arthritis shy away from exercise as, in the beginning, it can be somewhat, or very, painful.
However, exercise and arthritis relief actually go hand in hand. It has been proven that those with arthritis, who exercise on a regular basis, experience less disability, less pain and more energy. Those who exercise regularly may also improve other aspects of their lives including their cardiovascular health and metabolic disease. In fact, HHS estimates that about seven in 10 of the most common chronic diseases from which Americans suffer can be improved with proper physical activity. If the arthritis is degenerative – due to wear and tear, losing weight as a result of improved exercise programs, may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
Despite how it seems, bones are living parts of our bodies that change and regenerate regularly. This amazing quality allows the body to heal exceptionally well after trauma, but our bodies have limitations. Whenever you experience a fracture, your surgeon has to determine whether there is enough healthy bone to allow the body to heal on its own. In some cases, especially with more significant fractures, pieces of bone may have to be removed to avoid or minimize the chances of complications or improper healing. Other conditions such as osteonecrosis, previous fractures, joint replacement and more may all need bone grafts as well.
Just about everyone has had diagnostic imaging for an injury or even for routine health check-ups such as a dentist’s visit. When we begin the diagnostic process for any injury or condition involving the skeleton, three of the most common diagnostic imaging modalities are x-ray, CT and MRI.
X-ray is a simple and fast diagnostic test that emits radioactive waves which penetrate the soft tissue of the body but cannot penetrate structures containing calcium like bone or teeth. Bony structures appear bright white on the film and can help us assess whether there is a significant fracture or other deformity in the bone that requires care. However, X-rays are not precise enough to show hairline fractures and they cannot help us diagnose soft-tissue injury.
For some of us, joint cracking is a part of daily life. When we bend over our backs may crack, when we twist, a knee may make a snapping noise and some of us even induce this cracking in our fingers or elsewhere. The cracking can be loud, even heard by others and can be quite jarring. But is it necessarily a bad thing? The short answer is no, it usually isn’t a sign of something wrong, but the answer goes a little deeper.
Typically, someone with advanced degeneration of the knee joint, who has not yet had a knee replacement, has lived with severe pain for quite some time. Some try to tough it out for months and others, even years. Typically, they wait because they are uncertain about the outcome of surgery and expected pain associated with a knee replacement.
To be sure, knee replacement is considered a major procedure and comes with risks inherent to a surgery of this magnitude. However, these risks are mitigated by employing an experienced orthopedic surgeon such as those at our practice. Further, total joint replacement technology and techniques have been honed and improved over the years. Today it has become a straightforward and routine procedure with fewer risks and considerations than ever before.
Getting injured is just a fact of life and knee injuries are no different. There are dozens of ways to injure your knee, through blunt traumas, twists and awkward movements. Even a seemingly innocuous movement can have significant consequences.
As kids, we often shake off these injuries. Our bodies are growing, bones are still relatively soft, and joints are able to withstand significant force. So, while we may get bruises or even fractures, they tend to heal quickly and often times completely with no long-term effects, even when surgery is necessary. However, as we get older, recovering from these injuries becomes more difficult and a complete recovery is not assured. Of course, there is also that time in our lives – usually in our 30s and 40s – where we believe we can still perform activities without consequences. It is during this time that many patients come in with significant injuries to various joints around the body, particularly the knee.
Patients who suffer from a hip fracture usually end up in an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital. With over 300,000 hip fractures occurring in the United States every year, this likely means that whatever hospital we go to has good experience at treating hip fractures. Like all orthopedic injuries, every fracture is slightly different. But overall, they fall into two categories. Those that can be fixed with internal fixation – using metal plates or rods and screws to fix the bones and those that need to be replaced by either partial hip replacement or full hip replacement. No matter what the fixation strategy, the goal of surgery is to allow patients to start mobilizing and ambulating immediately without restrictions.
Today we want to discuss one of the most important orthopedic and health issues facing much of our population today. Each year in the United States, more than 300,000 men and women over the age of 65 will fall and break their hip. This causes a huge burden to the patient themselves, their families and the medical system as a whole.
By all research and accounts, this number will continue to grow to be almost half a million patients in year 2050. So, as you can see this is a pandemic of its own, if you will, that needs to be addressed and discussed. 3/4 of the patients who fall and break a hip are women, who seem to suffer much more from osteoporosis. Most of these are due to falls in and around the house; but some are due to sidewalk falls, and a small portion due to traumatic accidents.
Whether you have experienced orthopedic injury or not, performing regular, low impact exercises is critical to maintaining muscle mass, bone health and ultimately avoiding overuse and long-term impact injuries. One of the best exercises to achieve this is simply swimming.