Surgical Solutions

Ankle Arthritis: What You Can Do About It

For being relatively small joints, your ankles do a big job. They support your weight and absorb more force per square centimeter than any other joint. You might think this would make them especially susceptible to osteoarthritis, in which cartilage (the cushioning material between bones at joints) deteriorates over time. Yet osteoarthritis from normal activity is far less common in ankles than it is in hips and knees.

In the News: February 2017

Ever since the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib was taken off the market in 2004 because of its link to heart disease, questions have been raised about other NSAIDs. The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi has become a popular form of exercise around the world. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be very effective, especially when treatment is started early. In addition to helping people lose weight, weight-loss surgery (called bariatric surgery) has been shown to have positive health effects, such as reversing or preventing diabetes.

Treating Knee Pain: Surgery vs. Physical Therapy

Pain in your knee may be a sign of osteoarthritis. It could also be a torn meniscus (a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee joint). Or, it could be both. There is a high prevalence of both meniscus tears and osteoarthritis in the knee in middle-aged and older adults, says orthopaedic surgeon Kurt P. Spindler, MD. Surgery to repair a torn meniscus is an option, but should you go this route? A study comparing surgery to physical therapy for meniscal tears found that both are equally effective, which caused some people to conclude that surgery is practically useless.

Prepare for Joint Replacement Surgery

Having any type of surgery can be an ordeal involving uncertainty, possibly pain, and the rigors of recovery, among other issues. If you need joint replacement surgery, you have at least one advantage. Because it is elective and not emergency surgery, you can prepare for the procedure and what awaits you afterwards. Advancements in joint replacement surgery have allowed for shorter hospital stays, less pain and fewer complications, but it is still major surgery.

Faster Recovery After Joint Replacement

The total hip replacement surgery John B. had 10 years ago changed his life. He now walks without pain and hes back to activities he had curtailed because of severe hip osteoarthritis. But John still remembers the rigors of the procedure. The incision was 10 inches long. He woke up after the surgery woozy from the morphine he received. He spent three days in the hospital followed by a week at a rehabilitation facility.

Neck Pain and Hip Resurfacing

Neck pain is quite common. Nearly one in five people have neck pain lasting a day or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A pain in the neck can stem from several possible causes. You can wake up with a stiff neck from sleeping in a bad position or have long-lasting neck pain from poor posture. Hip resurfacing may be an option. It is generally recommended for people who are younger and want to maintain an activelifestyle.

Benefits of Weight-Loss Surgery for Arthritis

The exact cause of osteoarthritis remains unknown, but it is linked to several factors, including being overweight. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the cushioning material that covers the ends of bones at joints, deteriorates. The joint space narrows and bone can rub on bone, causing pain. Excess weight places added stress on weight-bearing joints (like the hips and knees), possibly accelerating the breakdown of cartilage. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat.

Hip Replacements, Tai Chi, Metabolism Changes, and Gout

Two surgical techniques can be used for total hip replacement, and there is debate about which is superior. Tai chi, a low-impact, slow-motion exercise that combines gentle movements with meditation and deep breathing, has been found in some small studies to help people with arthritis. Studies have shown that people who lose weight often have difficulty maintaining the weight loss and may eventually regain most or all of the pounds lost. An analysis published in a journal found that newspapers often print misleading articles about gout.

In the News: July 2016

After prescription drugs have been out on the market for a number of years, most become available in less-costly generic versions. The FDA approved a new drug for people with two of the less common types of arthritis-ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Being overweight or obese can raise your risk for developing osteoarthritis (especially in the knees) and can make symptoms worse if you have it. Not that we need one more reason to quit smoking (or never start), but new research shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis who smoke are likely to die sooner than those who dont smoke.

Joint Replacement: When Sooner May Be Better than Later

If pain in your hips or knees from arthritis has become unbearable, you may be considering joint replacement surgery. But how do you decide if the time is right to undergo this elective procedure? You may have heard that surgery is the treatment of last resort for osteoarthritis, and you should wait until all other options have been exhausted before having a joint replaced. This is true, but it should not be the last resort to the point where quality of life suffers in the meantime, says Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Michael Bloomfield, MD.

Shoulder Replacements Ease Pain and Improve Function

Hip and knee replacements are common surgeries for severe pain from osteoarthritis. But if your arthritic pain is in the shoulder, theres a joint replacement option for you too. In fact, shoulder replacement surgery is on the rise, due in part to a newer replacement option.

In the News: April 2016

At least half of grains we eat should be whole grains rather than refined grains (such as white rice and white flour). The body, mind and breathing practices of yoga improve flexibility and balance, increase range of motion, and strengthen muscles, among other benefits. Every year, more than 670,000 total knee replacements are performed in the United States. But few studies have compared knee replacement with nonsurgical treatment. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream that crystallizes in the joints. The key to preventing flare-ups that cause painful joint swelling is to lower levels of uric acid, primarily with medications and diet.