Monday, April 23, 2012
Online Communications and
Social Media Coordinator
Please Note: The content found
on this Blog is for informational
purposes only. It should not be
a substitute for professional
medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. If you have any
questions regarding a personal
medical condition, you should
always ask your physician.
Never ignore medical advice or
postpone care due to something
you have read on our site.
All Blog posts are reviewed and
approved by the physician cited
in the article, as well as by
Steven J. Davidson, MD, Chief
Medical Informatics Officer
Getting out of bed this morning, my right knee clicked and my legs were stiff. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “I feel old.” And then it hit me – I’m 25 and I’m already having problems. How will this affect my joint health and activity level as I age? I’ve written about my knee problems in previous blog entries, and I’m worried that today’s small injury may lead to tomorrow’s large surgery.
Getting a little anxious, as I tend to do, I did some research and came across a study which found that total knee replacements are becoming more popular, nearly doubling in the past decade. What was once thought of as a procedure for people in their 70s has now become an increasingly popular option for younger patients.
“There are several causes for this rapid growth of total knee replacement,” explained Dr. Howard Goodman, an orthopedic surgeon at Maimonides Medical Center. “While the obesity epidemic may have led to this rapid increase, a majority of total knee replacements in ‘younger’ adults can be attributed to the early onset of arthritis.” Known as ‘Boomeritis,’ physically active baby boomers are aging and developing overuse injuries. Overuse injuries occur over time as a result of repetitive ‘micro-injuries’ to the tendons, muscles, bones and joints.
I sometimes worry that my continuous training and ‘pushing through the pain’ will lead to an overuse injury. I want to be fit and active as I age, not only for health reasons, but for my own enjoyment. Dr. Goodman states that this expectation can lead some baby boomers to total knee replacement surgery. “Baby boomers expect to stay active and some of them don’t adjust their workouts to alleviate aging, or even injured joints,” stated Dr. Goodman. These active boomers are more willing to undergo surgery which will allow them to maintain their active lifestyle.
However, when artificial knees were first designed, they were not meant to be placed in people as young as 50. Materials currently used to construct artificial knees, such as metal and plastic, can last up to 20 years. “Baby boomers who expect to remain active can put significant force and stress on their new joint,” notes Dr. Goodman. “It’s likely that many people who have a knee replacement at age 50 will need another by the time they reach 70.”
Yikes. I don’t want one, let alone two knee surgeries in my lifetime. So I’m following some of Dr. Goodman’s suggested non-surgical remedies to help with my knee pain, including physical therapy and incorporating lower-impact sports such as swimming and yoga. Do you suffer from knee pain? Are you doing anything to prevent the need for surgery?
|Successful Non-Surgical Remedies for Knee Pain:
• Maintenance of a healthy diet and body weight: Any weight gain will create added force that may affect the joint and increase possible wear.
• Physical therapy: Strengthening the muscles around the affected joint will cause less stress to the joint itself.
• Steroid or artificial joint fluid injections: Injections relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
• Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers: Oral medications reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.