Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America that affects nearly 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Treating arthritis does not need to be complicated; simple options do exist. Educate yourself when you consider who will treat you for arthritis and evaluate the surgeon, the facility and spend time talking to the orthopedic practice so that you get the best treatment for your pains.
Genetics and gender (female) are two non-modifiable risk factors, but there are many risk factors that can be modified and controlled:
1) Maintain a healthy weight. Create a "doable" daily exercise plan, incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises, and start simple behavior modifications that promote a healthier diet.
2) Stop smoking. It aggravates inflammatory forms of arthritis.
3) Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods and overt-the-counter supplements such as methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
4) Take anti-inflammatory medications and over-the-counter Tylenol.
5) Apply topical gels and creams.
6) Try injections. Hyaluronic acid (Euflexxa, Synvisc, Supartz) helps overall health of damaged cartilage.
When you have tried everything to control arthritic pain and the disease has progressed further, you then have to think of hip or knee replacement so as to improve your quality of life.
Points to remember and consider:
1) Minimal incision does not always equate to better outcome. Remember that metal components have to be placed in knees and hips, and squeezing them through small incisions is simply not ideal.
2) Educate yourself about same-day total hip and knee programs—ask questions about how pain is controlled and how complications are handled.
3) Look at facilities that have multiple surgical approaches such as posterior and anterior hip replacement.
4) Consider hospitals that have total joint camps, meaning they’ve streamlined their process to allow each patient’s experience to be seamless.
5) Look for surgeons who have specialized in hip and knee replacement, especially those who have successfully completed an accredited fellowship in joint replacement.
Dr. Vineet P. Shah treats his patients as though they are his family. His greatest satisfaction is seeing his patients do well after treatment. Dr. Shah is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Methodist Physician Group, with offices in Merrillville and Gary. He is fellowship trained in total hip and knee replacement, and is medical director of the Total Joint Program at Methodist Hospitals.