Live Your Life to Its Fullest

Joint pain can be a nemesis to the active lifestyle you desire. You want freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it… like having the ability to book Saturday morning tee times and play your best game. Put simply, joint pain can take away more than just your golf swing; it can rob you of your vitality and stifle the active person you wish to be.

Joint pain creeps into your life until the excuses for not being able to do the things you love become commonplace. It also gives the aging process the jumpstart you never wanted. As Gabriel Garcia Marquez noted, “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

So, you may be asking yourself, am I still pursuing my dreams? Am I living life to its fullest? Is joint pain prohibiting me from doing the things I want to do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of disability in the United States is joint pain with an estimated 30 percent of males suffering from the condition.

Is there anything I can do about joint pain?  The short answer is absolutely, 100 percent – YES!

Because of advances in joint replacement treatments, more men are no longer putting up with the tell-tale signs of long-expired knees and hips. It is estimated that more than 7 million people in the United States have had a joint replacement procedure and after recovery have been able to put focus back on living rather than living with pain.

It is also known that pain and stiffness in joints worsens when a person is not able to be as physically active because of the discomfort that pain brings. The very fact that you cannot be active contributes to your joint pain- a Catch 22 situation. Men with severe osteoarthritis experience pain by sitting on the sidelines; after long periods of inactivity, men with severe osteoarthritis often experience bouts of pain. Unfortunately, if you suffer from joint pain– whether you are active or immobile—it will always a part of your life—unless you choose to do something about it.

When you grow tired of pain and excuses and if you have tried other therapies and treatments that do not seem to be helping, it may be time to visit with an orthopedic physician to discuss joint replacement options.

During knee replacement, a physician removes the diseased parts of the knee joints and replaces them with new, artificial parts. The muscles, tendons and ligaments are left in place around the knee to provide stability for the new joint. An artificial joint is usually made of metal and plastic and is affixed to existing bone. Knee replacement has also become less invasive, which means shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, less pain/ scarring and improved function.

Signs you may need a knee replacement procedure include:

  • Arthritis-induced knee pain that is not managed by pain relief medication
  • Knee pain that keeps you awake at night
  • Knee pain that prohibits you from working or playing comfortably
  • The inability to walk or run more than a few blocks without pain

Some people who experience knee pain and who require surgical treatment may be eligible for partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacement surgery is reserved for those who have limited joint exposure to arthritis and involves replacing only the diseased portion of the knee. This allows the physician to focus on that part of the knee while leaving the healthy sections alone. Appropriate candidates who qualify for this type of procedure may experience various benefits versus total knee replacement surgery including a faster recovery, reduced pain and better range of motion following surgery.

Recent studies have shown that although men and women show signs of comparable levels of improvement following knee replacement surgery, men have higher levels of function or activity both prior to and following the procedure.  Lead researchers believe the differences are the result of biologic or genetic variations.

For those considering hip replacement, advances, like minimally-invasive techniques, have made the procedure a preferred option for those who are considered proper candidates and if all other treatment options have failed. Hip replacement is a procedure in which a physician removes the diseased hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint which is typically composed of metal or plastic materials.

Signs you may need a hip replacement procedure include:

  • Severe pain in the hip associated with activity
  • Severe hip pain at night
  • Severe interference with daily activities and work

The majority of patients are able to perform daily activities more easily after joint replacement surgery. Most people can expect their joint replacement to last for several years or decades, providing them with an improved quality of life that includes less pain, along with improved motion and strength.

If you have knee or hip pain, attend a free class covering the latest treatment options. Register by visiting StLukes-STL.com or calling 314.542.4848.