In an active lifestyle, joint health is a top priority. Your joints (hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists) allow you to engage in sports and daily activities and are necessary to move and thrive. Over time, an active lifestyle can lead to wear and tear – the eventual breakdown of protective cartilage – causing friction in the joints. This friction ultimately leads to joint pain and injury.
Living with pain is a life-changing condition, as it is often associated with restrictions in mobility and daily activities, reliance on painkillers, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health or to a reduced quality of life.
Although joint pain comes in many different forms, so do treatments and prevention strategies. Depending on the cause of the pain, people may find relief with exercises aimed at strengthening particular muscle groups. injections of anti-inflammatory steroids or other medications; platelet-rich plasma, where a patient’s own platelets (a type of blood cell) are injected into an injured tendon or cartilage; nerve ablation, where precisely controlled heat is used to temporarily disable nerves causing pain; and arthroscopy, a surgical procedure used to view, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.
When lifestyle changes and minimally invasive procedures are not effective for joint pain, joint replacement surgery is another option. Joint replacement is a procedure in which some (partial replacement) or all (total replacement) of the damaged parts of a joint are removed and replaced with man-made parts. The goal is to restore function and reduce pain and inflammation. This surgery can be performed on the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle, with the most common joint replacement surgeries being the hips and knees.
Joint replacement surgery has improved and evolved over time. Innovations in robotic technology now allow orthopedic surgeons to have improved precision that reduces trauma to bone and tissue during surgery, resulting in more accurate results and a better patient experience.
Barton Memorial Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the Lake Tahoe and Carson City areas to offer Mako SmartRobotics™, a robotic system used for total knee, hip and partial knee replacements. Using this technology, surgeons are able to create complex 3D maps of a patient’s joint during the planning phase that they can follow in the operating room. The map supports increased precision and accuracy for less invasive surgery, resulting in faster recovery times and less pain during recovery.
If you live with joint pain, discuss treatment options with your orthopedic surgeon. There is a path to relief so you can find prosperity in your daily life.
Dr. Jeff Orr and Dr. Kyle Swanson are Tahoe Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Certified Orthopedic Surgeons and Mako SmartRobotics™ Certified Operators. Drs. Orr and Swanson will host a free wellness webinar, “Joint Pain & Replacement” on Thursday, July 14 at 5 p.m. Register in advance or view previously recorded webinars at BartonHealth.org/Lecture. For more information on joint replacement, visit BartonHealth.org/JointReplacement