Explore the Options: Living Well With Osteoarthritis
Golf, family time, long walks with the dog: Hip and knee pain are not on your to-do list. And thanks to the variety of treatment options, osteoarthritis patients can stay active and maintain a high quality of life.
From ice and heat applications to arthroscopy to total joint replacement, well-informed patients choose not to become sedentary or to live with pain.
“These patients are more demanding in a good way,” says Benjamin Busfield, M.D., FAAOS, an orthopedic surgeon with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation. “They demand quality lifestyles. “
Busfield, who will speak about treatments for arthritis in the hip and knee at the Bone & Joint Expo in Berkeley on Nov. 15, outlines a range of non-operative options he uses to successfully treat many patients for years without surgery.
- Rest, ice, and heat applications
- Medications for inflammation and pain, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription medications
- Weight loss
- Physical therapy
- Joint fluid supplements for the knee
- Steroid injections, which provide excellent short term relief and minimal complications
- Knee arthroscopy
When other treatments no longer bring relief, it may be time to consider joint replacement surgery.
“These are supposed to be your golden years, not your painful years,” Busfield says. “If non-operative care fails, it’s time for a conversation with your primary care doctor about the possibility of surgery.”
Total joint replacement is a major undertaking that requires careful preparation and focused rehabilitation.
“We tailor the plan to the patient,” he says. “It is painful surgery, but a lot can be done to lessen the pain with longer-acting medications. Nerve blocks can reduce your need for other pain medications and help you with physical therapy.”
Busfield says improved implant design and generally smaller incisions allow patients to feel much better by the second or third week after surgery. Many are back to walking the dog – or 18-holes — within two months.
Visit Sutter Health’s orthopedics site for more information about joint health, including questions that can help you determine your level of joint pain and how to find an orthopedic specialist.
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