By Dr. Scott Russinoff, MD
There are many problems that can arise from your bones and joints. Some of these problems are avoidable and some are not. Bone and joint issues can be genetic and therefore predetermined or they can arise from injuries, wear and tear, diseases, obesity, etc. When patients come to see me it is obviously too late to avoid a problem arising and I can only try to treat what is present.
There are treatments patients can try on their own prior to seeing a physician for bone and joint problems. For pain, over the counter Tylenol (acetaminophen) or an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or Aleve are commonly tried. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are also very common treatments. There is evidence showing that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can relieve pain, but usually 6 weeks of treatment is necessary to notice an effect.
Over the counter nutraceuticals have also become very common. Neutraceuticals are food or food products that may have medical benefits. These include turmeric, bromelain, and fish oil, which are thought to have some anti-inflammatory effects.
Topical medications, both over the counter and prescription can be helpful. Over the counter creams and lotions may provide temporary relief. There are also topical anti-inflammatory medications that are available only by prescription.
Other conservative treatments include weight loss and low impact exercises. Patients may also benefit from chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.
If patients have instability in their joints, then bracing may help. Elastic braces are readily available in pharmacies and can provide stability and pain relief to joints.
If the above conservative treatments fail, either by trying it on your own or after being recommended by your physician, other options do exist.
As a hip and knee specialist, I treat mostly arthritis problems as well as other injuries. Physical therapy can be prescribed with specific treatment regimens. Injection treatments include cortisone shots to decrease inflammation, and viscosupplementation shots to lubricate the joint. Viscosupplemenation injections are shots of hyaluronic acid which help to restore the normal fluid in an arthritic joint. These can either be a series of 3-5 injections or sometimes a single shot.
Arthroscopic and joint replacement type surgeries can be performed to repair damage and improve quality of life. Many surgical procedures have become less invasive with quicker recoveries.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a same day surgery with immediate full weight bearing and quick return to activities. Hip and knee replacement surgery requires 3-4 days in the hospital, but with much quicker rehabilitation programs than available in the past. These surgeries allow patients to get back to almost all activities and sports again.
If you have any questions about any treatment make sure you speak to your physician first.
You can also get more information at www.srbonedoc.com.