And When to Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon
For those that are suffering with joint pain in the knees, hips, or shoulders, orthopedic doctors always try to find the quickest avenue to relief so that they can reclaim their quality of life. The first step that most patients take is setting up an appointment with an orthopedic doctor so that they can receive a full examination.
During the comprehensive exam, orthopedic doctors will get the patient’s full medical history and try to get to the root cause of the issue. Sometimes they will need to order an MRI or X-rays so that they can get a better look at the affected area.
In some rare cases, an orthopedic surgeon will need to get involved to consult with the patient about their surgical options. Certain conditions require joint replacement surgery or minimally invasive orthopedic surgery.
The good news is that most surgeries can be avoided altogether using specialized treatment plans and making strategic life changes. To provide some additional insight, here are four of the top alternatives to joint replacement surgery.
Exercise, Diet, and Weight Loss
It’s common for people that experience pain or discomfort in their knees to also have an issue with their overall weight. Even though the knee is technically the biggest and strongest joint in the human body, it does have its limits as to what it can handle. Every ten pounds that a person is overweight equates to roughly thirty extra pounds of pressure on the knees.
That’s why many orthopedic surgeons and doctors recommend their patients make some life changes in terms of diet and exercise. If a patient’s weight can be reduced to healthy levels, surgery can usually be avoided. Some common low-impact exercises include walking, swimming, yoga, and stationary cycling.
Although it may be difficult to exercise while experiencing joint pain, orthopedic doctors have numerous pain management techniques patients can use to make the process easier.
Professional Physical Therapy
Another common way to avoid joint replacement surgery is by getting professional physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT, for short) is a form of holistic therapy that is aimed to reduce pain, improve mobility, and increase the strength of joints and muscles. Keep in mind, professional physical therapy is not the same thing as exercise.
A physical therapist uses a hands-on approach to ensure that patients are using the correct movements and techniques that are intended to reduce symptoms of pain. This is usually performed at a physical therapy clinic or in the home.
Depending on the root cause of a joint pain issue, an orthopedic doctor may recommend the usage of injections to help with pain and inflammation. There are two main types of injections that orthopedic doctors use.
A corticosteroid injection reduces pain and inflammation to the area and should provide relief for several weeks. The second type of injection is a hyaluronic acid injection, which is intended to lubricate the knee joint and reduce inflammation and pain. It should help improve mobility on a short-term basis.
Partial Joint Replacement
In some cases – mostly involving the knee joint – the problem with the joint is minor enough that a partial joint replacement procedure will suffice. Whereas a total joint replacement is invasive and has a long recovery period, a partial joint replacement is minimally invasive. The surgery is designed to only address the defective parts of the joint while leaving the healthy parts of the joint undisturbed.
Partial joint replacement has shown to be especially effective among those who are suffering with arthritis or degenerative bone conditions that only affect certain parts of the joint. The other benefit of partial joint replacement surgery is that the recovery time is far shorter when compared to complete joint replacement surgery.
Working With the Orthopedic Surgeons at Mid-America Orthopedics Wichita
If you are experiencing any type of joint pain, your first order of business should be to contact the experienced team of orthopedic doctors at Mid-America Orthopedics Wichita. Our physicians have decades of combined experience diagnosing and treating joint issues and helping patients feel like themselves again.
Mid-America Orthopedics also has the added benefit of being able to offer professional physical therapy and the services of highly trained orthopedic surgeons. This means that if you ever need to be referred, we have all the resources you need right under one roof.