What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a degeneration of cartilage at your joints. You may have heard it called “wear and tear”. As arthritis worsens it can affect your daily life, interfering with your ability to participate in your favorite activities and can be very frustrating. If you live long enough, most individuals will experience some joint cartilage degeneration over time as our bodies are simply not meant to stay in pristine condition forever. But if you’ve had prior knee surgery or injury at your knee, the likelihood of developing arthritis earlier in life is higher. We are seeing patients even in their 30s and 40s with knee arthritis. Those diagnosed with arthritis usually have swelling, pain, and decreased motion at their joints.
Initial treatments to reduce your pain include over the counter pain relievers like Advil and Tylenol, ice, limiting painful activities, and sometimes losing weight. Studies show that when patients are overweight that losing 10% of their weight will decrease joint pain. Losing weight can affect your pain as it will be less weight pushing on your joints, and therefore lessening the load. It’s never easy to lose weight but it can make a huge difference by reducing the daily symptoms! Leasa Woods is available to help in your weight loss journey or dietary modifications.
Many of our patients at Remedy don’t want to rely on Advil or painkillers and joint replacement is their last choice. They seek care from Dr. Rolnik to review non-surgical options to get back to living fully. After a thorough history, a hands-on exam and review of imaging and biomechanics, Dr. Rolnik will determine an individualized treatment plan. Often improving strength and motion around the painful joint is very helpful so she typically incorporates physical therapy treatment. She reviews lifestyle changes such as limiting sugar or gluten to decrease overall inflammation. Braces and supplements can help reduce pain and will be recommended as appropriate.
Some patients may be good candidates to receive cutting-edge injections such as stem cell therapy or PRP injections. Younger patients with arthritis who are too young for joint replacement are usually good candidates for regenerative options. A standard joint replacement will not last more than 20 years so if surgery is done too early in life often a knee replacement revision will need to be done. Others who pursue these non-invasive injections may be not be healthy enough for surgery or simply want to delay surgery as long as possible.
Joint replacement should be the last option. Surgery recovery takes months plus there are many potential risks. Regenerative procedures on the other hand are safe, take place in the office, and are well tolerated with minimal down time. Patients generally feel better much quicker after receiving regenerative injections than after a knee replacement.
Don’t grin and bear it anymore!
If you don’t want surgery, call Remedy Sports and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Rolnik will review your best options during a comprehensive visit. Her personalized treatment plan meets your goals to keep active without resorting to surgery for your arthritis.