When it comes to an active lifestyle, joint health is paramount. Your joints — hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists — allow you to perform sports and daily activities and are needed to move and thrive. Over time, an active lifestyle can lead to wear and tear – the eventual breakdown of the protective cartilage – that causes 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 limitations in mobility and daily activities, dependence on painkillers, anxiety and depression, and a poorly perceived health condition or reduced quality of life.
Although joint pain comes in many different forms, so do the treatments and prevention strategies. Depending on the cause of the pain, people may find relief through exercises to strengthen specific muscle groups; injections of anti-inflammatory steroids or other drugs; Platelet-rich plasma, in which the patient’s own platelets (a type of blood cell) are injected into an injured tendon or cartilage; nerve ablation, which uses precisely controlled heat to temporarily disable the nerves causing the pain; and arthroscopy, a surgical procedure used to view, diagnose, and treat problems within a joint.
When lifestyle changes and minimally invasive procedures for joint pain aren’t effective, joint replacement surgery is another option. Joint replacement is a procedure in which some (partial replacement) or all (full replacement) 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 commonly performed joint replacement surgeries being performed on the hip and knee.
Joint replacement surgery has improved and evolved over time. Innovations in robotic technology are now enabling orthopedic surgeons with 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, total hip and partial knee replacements. This technology allows surgeons to create intricate 3D maps of a patient’s joint during the planning phase, which they can follow in the operating room. The map supports increased precision and accuracy for less invasive surgeries, resulting in faster recovery times and less pain during recovery.
If you live with joint pain, discuss treatment options with your orthopedist. There is a path to relief so that you can be successful again in your daily life.
dr Jeff Orr and Dr. Kyle Swanson are board certified orthopedic surgeons at Tahoe Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and board certified operators of Mako SmartRobotics™. dr Orr and Swanson are hosting a free wellness webinar titled “Joint Pain & Replacement” on Thursday, July 14 at 5:00 p.m. Register in advance or watch pre-recorded webinars at BartonHealth.org/Lecture. For more information on joint replacement, visit BartonHealth.org/JointReplacement