Due to the Coronavuris (COVID-19) pandemic, many elective surgeries, such as hip and knee replacements, are being postponed due to CDC’s recommendation. This is a necessary precaution to ensure proper hospital staff and resources are available to care for patients affected by the virus.
Whether you are waiting to have an elective hip or knee replacement or if your doctor is not recommending surgery for your hip or knee joints at this time, there are some other ways to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
Joint pain can often be assisted with over-the-counter pain relief medication. Simple pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are available without a prescription and can be effective in reducing pain. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications include other over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, motrin, advil, or Naproxen (aleve) to help reduce pain and swelling in the joints. More potent types of pain relievers are prescription-strength, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs that can be prescribed by your doctor.
Cortisone injections can provide you with pain relief and reduce inflammation. They can be very useful if there is significant swelling, however, they are not very helpful if arthritis affects the movement of your joint. Cortisone shots are prescribed by your doctor and there is a limit to how many they can give you per year.
Being overweight is a common cause of joint pain. Simple weight loss can reduce stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as the hip or knee. Based on the physics of the hip and knee joints, you put three to five times your body weight across these joints throughout the day, especially during stair climbing and getting in and out of a chair.
Every ten pounds of extra weight that you carry can result in fifty pounds of weight-bearing pressure across your hips and knees. Losing weight can result in reduced pain and increased function, particularly while walking.
An exercise routine can help increase your range of motion and flexibility as well as help strengthen the muscles in your legs. Exercise is often effective in reducing pain and improving function. Your physician or a physical therapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.
Physical therapy, when advised by your orthopaedic doctor, can strengthen the muscles around your joints which may help absorb some of the shock imparted to the joint. Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of osteoarthritis, and it can help improve joint function making it easier to walk, bend, kneel, squat, and sit.
Braces and Splints
Braces may be especially helpful in knee pain if the pain is centered on one side or the other. A brace can assist with stability and function. Braces are not for everyone and they can be difficult to fit for certain people. It’s important to work with your orthopaedic doctor to find a brace that properly fits and supports your joint.
Although surgeries have been canceled/postponed, Dr. Larson is still offering consultations to help ease the pain and discomfort associated with musculoskeletal system disorders. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Larson, please call 435-787-2000.
Dr. Larson is also offering Telemedicine/Video appointments Monday through Friday for those who do not feel comfortable coming into the office. To schedule a Telemedicine Video appointment, please call 435-787-2000. As always, we have the health and safety of our patients as our top priority. If you have any questions regarding what our office is doing to limit the spread of COVID-19, please visit https://bjlarsonortho.com/. Together, we can do our best to limit the spread of illness such as COVID-19.