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Can You Prevent Needing Replacement Surgeries Down the Line

Nov 2, 2021

Can You Prevent Needing Replacement Surgeries Down the Line

Joint replacement surgeries seem to be happening to everyone these days. In fact, the number of joint replacement surgeries has doubled in the last ten years. It has been predicted that by 2030, the demand for total hip replacements will increase 174% to 572,000 procedures. The demand for total knee replacements is projected to increase 673% to 3.48 million procedures.

These are incredible numbers when we stop and consider the number of days of rehabilitation, the days lost from work and the astounding financial cost of these surgeries. These are not surgeries where we walk in and go back to work the next day or two. These are procedures where the surgery is done fairly quickly, however, the rehabilitation can take weeks and weeks. There are also concerns involving post-surgical infections and lingering pain even with the new, artificial joint.

What can be done to help prevent the necessity of having a joint replaced? There are many modifications to our lives and activities we can make that will have lasting and predictable results in fending off the need to have a joint replaced.

Follow these 5 simple tips that will help keep our joints strong and functioning for a lifetime:

  1. Maintain proper weight throughout our lifetime – nothing is more important than keeping excess weight off our joints. Additional body weight leads to excess stress on joints and can cause cartilage to break down more quickly. Every pound of excess weight we carry increases the pressure on our knees and ankles by four - five times. This means if we are just 10 pounds overweight, we are putting an extra 40 – 50 pounds of pressure on our joints. Imagine being 25 pounds overweight and putting an additional 100 pounds of pressure on our knees. No wonder so many people have sore knees.
  2. Exercise regularly and intelligently - exercise helps to stimulate the release of synovial fluid and provides the cartilage with nutrients to lubricate and loosen our joints. Inactivity leads to cartilage loss between bones and can lead to bone-on-bone contact, which is extremely painful. The intelligent part of exercise involves movement that does not put great stress on our joints. The best forms of exercise are activities like swimming and cycling that don’t put undo pressure on our joints.
  3. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition – almost every article I write will consistently mention nutrition. Eating lots of whole foods, minimally processed vegetables and fruits, nuts and lean meats are absolutely essential to living a long life and keeping the joints God gave us. Equally important is avoiding acidic foods and liquids that alter the pH of our systems. Drinking sugary drinks or foods, carbonated drinks, alcoholic drinks and “diet” soft drinks can cause changes in the ability of our lubricating fluids to protect our joints. Eating fatty foods, deep-fried foods or heavily processed foods (think fast food from drive-ins) will radically affect our synovial fluid viscosity and cause damaging inflammation in our joints.
  4. Avoid repetitive activities – when we repeatedly use a joint beyond its normal workload, we put stress on that joint that causes inflammation and swelling. The lubricating fluid breaks down in the joint and we prematurely wear out the joint. This happens in work environments, operating machinery and with physical activity. It is much better to add intensity to our workouts than to add time and distance.
  5. If it hurts, stop – we hear all the mantras of “no pain, no gain”. When we are working to keep our joints lasting a lifetime, it is better to stop and rest when a joint hurts. Pain in a joint usually indicates excess stress and often involves inflammation. When we continue to work an inflamed joint the problem rapidly gets worse. Give it a rest and let some healing take place.

Follow these 5 strategies and prevent the pain and expense of replacing joints down the line. Be Blessed.

Category: Dr. Sterling