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Osteoarthritis, Joint Replacement Discussed at UVMC Health Symposium


2012 Osteoarthritis Symposium
Left to right: Dr. Dan Bailey, Dr. Robert Malarkey, Dr. Mark Zunkiewicz, Dr. Don Delcamp and Amy Roby, DPT.

TROY – Most people will experience arthritis during their life, whether they are aware of it or not.

“Just about everyone is going to get some form of it at some point in time,” Robert Malarkey, MD, told more than 200 people gathered for a June 7 forum on osteoarthritis at the Crystal Room in Troy.

Arthritis comes in more than 100 forms, with osteoarthritis being the most common.

Each person is different as far as the signs, the amount of pain, and frequency of pain, Dr. Malarkey said.  “There are degrees of severity.  You can have it for years and not know it before the first symptom occurs. “

The first goal in treating osteoarthritis is to delay or even avoid surgery, especially in patients younger than 60, said Mark Zunkiewicz, MD. Among treatment options are lifestyle modifications such as losing weight; exercise; diet/nutrition; smoking cessation; muscle strengthening, especially for osteoarthritis on the knee; bracing; and medications.

Foods recommended to help fight the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis include flaxseed, omega 3 acids, olive oil, whole grain, and fiber along with 5 to 7 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. 

The role of glucosamine and chondroitin in helping with arthritis remains uncertain said Dr. Zunkiewicz.  Also, there is no evidence that vitamins and herbals are beneficial in helping to treat arthritis or arthritic pain. The doctors said, adding the patient’s doctor needs to know if they are being taken because of the risk of harmful effects from interaction with other prescription medications.

Don Delcamp, MD, said people frequently ask when it is appropriate to have surgery for osteoarthritis. That time comes “when everything else has failed,” he said.

Following surgery,   “we expect people to say they are better and are happy they underwent the procedure.” The key to successful surgery is rehabilitation that begins the day after surgery.  

Knee replacements are the most common joint replacement in the U.S. with around 600,000 performed a year. The second most common is hip replacements at around 285,000 procedures followed by shoulder replacements with around 53,000 a year.

UVMC physical therapist Amy Roby, DPT, said exercises to help deal with osteoarthritis pain will depend on the individual and their level of activity among other considerations.

“One single exercise is not going to take care of your pain,” she said, adding the goal needs to be maintaining an overall exercise program.

The forum was moderated by Dan Bailey, DPM, UVMC chief medical officer, and sponsored by UVMC and the UVMC Foundation. To learn more about osteoarthritis, joint replacement and related topics, contact Upper Valley Orthopaedics at 440-7841 or log on to UVMC.com. 

Content Updated: December 1, 2014

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