Bones & Joints

Cartilage: A Cushion For Your Bones

Cartilage is amazing stuff. This slick, rubbery material cushions and protects the ends of bones, allowing them to roll, rotate and glide smoothly against and over each other. Cartilage is 85 percent water. It has no blood supply or nerves, yet it absorbs enormous forces as we walk, run, bend, or flex. Cartilage also has a memory; it can change form when under stress, then spring back to its original shape. …

Good Moves, Bad Moves

When it comes to building strong bones, or easing sore joints, not all exercises are created equal. Put another way, what may be a killer exercise, figuratively speaking, for sufferers of osteoporosis may also be a killer move, in a very real sense, for people with osteoarthritis. If you suffer from arthritis, exercises that increase your range of motion, flexibility and strength are best. On the other hand, there are also certain positions and movements of…

Get Back To Gardening

Gardening is one of the top leisure activities for millions of Americans. Unfortun-ately, arthritis is the No. 1 cause of disability for millions of Americans. If you find yourself in both camps-you enjoy puttering around the yard but it takes a toll on sore or creaky joints-theres a lot you can do to make your botanical days brighter. …

Mediterranean Diet: A Tasty Way To Ease Arthritis Pain

The evidence is in.The Medi-terranean diet is not only healthy for your heart. It also lessens the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. But it can take up to three months for the diet to take effect. Not a diet in the strictest sense, but a loose term that describes the eating habits of people in the Mediterranean region, the easy-to-follow plan consists largely of fruits, beans, vegetables, olive oil, canola oil and fish, the latter containing omega-3…

Fairway Flexes Loosen Stiff Joints

Golf is a great game-and great exercise. If its something you enjoy, youre no doubt itching about this time of year to get back on the tee. But the golf swing involves a very unnatural motion that requires an enormous amount of rotation of the lower back. If you suffer from arthritis, the problems are compounded. The antidote: flexibility exercises, which increase the amount and quality of motion your joints allow. The greater your shoulder…

Ask Dr. Marks: 06/03

What is reactive arthritis? What causes it? The symptoms? How is it treated? The term reactive arthritis usually pertains to a group of inflammatory diseases that are triggered by an infectious agent. The most important disease in this group is Reiter's syndrome. The triggering agents are usually Salmonella or Shigella organisms. The organism does not infect the joint but triggers an immune response which causes inflammation of the joint. The syndrome can involve any joint but…

New Tools Ease Shoulder Repair

Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Whenever possible, surgeons prefer to repair such torn tendons arthroscopically, using small incisions and even smaller instruments, so that they can reduce initial trauma and speed recovery. But, for a variety of reasons-the tear may be too big, the tendon too fragile, or the procedure too technically demanding-only about 10 percent of rotator cuff repairs are done arthroscopically. (The large majority are…

Knee Osteonecrosis: When Bone Death Knocks On Your Door

A diagnosis of knee osteonecrosis could understandably have you worried sick, for the term-literally meaning bone death-is ominous indeed. You may feel that youve been unfairly singled out to suffer a rare condition, that the disease is inevitably progressive, and that you are ultimately doomed. A Brighter View None of this is true. First, it is not a rare condition. It is estimated that thousands of Americans are diagnosed with osteonecrosis annually. Dr. Kenneth Marks-orthopaedic surgeon…

Bracing For a Pain Fix?

Braces have come a long way since Joe Namath wore them to protect his ailing knees in the 1969 Super Bowl. Today, braces come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, from simple elastic sleeves you can buy at the drug store for a few dollars, to highly customized and multi-hinged designs costing thousands. …

Knees: TLC For An Overworked Joint

Your knee is a mechanical wonder, enabling this largest of weight-bearing joints to roll, glide, and rotate. Unfortunately, its also the most used and abused of joints, too often injured by sudden trauma or long-term wear and tear. To help protect these most complex of joints from premature breakdown, you need to keep the supporting muscles and ligaments strong and flexible. Here are four exercises that will help. Some may not be appropriate if you…

Drink To Your (Joint) Health

Theres water, water everywhere, and people with arthritis should drink a lot of it -at least two or three 8-ounce glasses daily. Although offering no nutritional value in itself, water transports essential nutrients throughout your body. It hydrates your cells, enabling them to carry out vitally necessary metabolic activity. And since water is the prime component of the synovial fluid filling the spaces in your joints as well as the cartilage that cushions your bones,…

New Knees For Big Benders

Theres little doubt that total knee replacement (TKR) is the best remedy if you suffer from knee osteoarthritis-more than 300,000 TKRs are performed every year. They are low risk, eliminate pain, increase mobility in 90 percent of those who have the procedure, increase independence, and they last at least 20 years in 80 percent of users. Whats more, the procedure is commonly performed in people over the age of 75. …