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Archive for July, 2011

Total Knee Rehab

Total Knee Rehab

The rehabilitation process following knee replacement will vary.  Expect to stay in the hospital from one to seven days following your surgery.  The length of stay will depend on your strength and your at-home support.

Protected weight-bearing with a walker or crutches is required until the quadriceps has healed and recovered.  Continuous Passive Motion machines are often prescribed to enhance range of motion.  Daily physical therapy will be required to restore motion, function, and strength.

It will take about six weeks for you to walk with a cane, and full recovery should be expected after three months.  Many patients kick themselves for waiting so long to have their knees replaced.  After years of suffering with osteoarthritis it is a pleasure to be able to walk without pain.



uni-knee

uni-knee

Partial knee replacement or unicompartmental arthroplasty (UKA) is intended for patients who have significant wear and tear to only one of the three compartments comprising their knees; unicompartmental osteoarthritis.  The advantages of a partial knee replacement as compared to a total knee replacement is that the incision is smaller, the post-surgery rehabilitation is easier, better range-of-motion after surgery, the hospital stay is shorter, less blood is lost during the procedure, lower risk of infection, lower risk of blood clots, and revisions are easier if surgical complications present.



knee-replacement

knee-replacement

Knee arthroplasty or knee replacement surgery replaces the anatomy of an osteoarthritic knee with prosthetic components.  Generally the weight-beaing surfaces of the joint are replaced to relieve pain and improve function.

Knee replacements can be partial or total.  The surgeries are major, requiring intense physical rehabilitation and considerable post-operative pain.  Recovery time can take weeks and the use of a cane or crutches is usually required.

The results are usually impressive.  A person who suffers for years with osteoarthritis in many instances will be able to walk pain-free and enjoy a full range-of-motion.



Knee Brace For Exercise

Knee Brace For Exercise

An Unloader Knee Brace or a bio-mechanical knee brace is designed to provide pain relief from unicompartmental osteoarthritis so you can return to activity.  These braces absolutely work.  They are a bio-mechanical solution to a bio-mechanical problem.

These knee braces are covered by most health insurance policies and require a prescription.  In many cases patients experience immediate pain relief.  No drugs.  No surgery.  Put the knee brace on and start walking.  Think about this…

An Unloader knee braces can relieve your pain.  That will allow you to start exercising.  Start exercising and begin to lose weight.  The more weight you lose the less stress on your knees.  The less stress, the less pain.  All of this without going to the pharmacy every week, and without surgery.

If pain is preventing you from exercising, an unloader knee brace can get you moving again.



Senior-Stretching

Senior-Stretching

As we age our muscles get tighter.  As our muscles tighten it becomes more difficult to move our joints through their full range of motion.  As it becomes harder to move it becomes easier to sit still.  This pattern of immobility is a downward spiral that can have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Use it or lose it.  Stretching needs to be a regular part of your exercise program.  Flexibility exercises can help your muscles and joints move more easily and protect them from wear and tear.

Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves if you want relief for knee osteoarthritis.  Stretches need to be smooth and fluid, never bounce.  If you feel pain you’ve gone too far – stay in a comfortable range.  It is also important to sustain and hold your stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.  Let the muscles and joints benefit from the activity.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist to design a stretching program that is right for you.



Strength Conditioning

Strength Conditioning

Strength conditioning exercises (sometimes called resistance exercises) make your muscles strong.  Strengthening the muscles around your arthritic knee will make your knee more stable, like adding supports to a crumbling wall.

Gyms and health clubs have machines and free weights that can help strengthen your legs.  However you don’t need a membership to enjoy the benefits of strength conditioning exercises.  Leg lifts in a chair with an elastic strap can be just a effective as a thousand dollar leg extension machine.  Even if you are in your nineties training with weights or resistance will increase your quality of life.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist what strength conditioning exercises are right for helping you with your osteoarthritis.



Aerobic Exercise for Knee OA

Aerobic Exercise for Knee OA

Exercise and your knees will feel better.  But what kind of exercise will make your knees feel best?  It probably will have to be a combination of exercises that help you lose weight, strengthen your anatomy, and make you more flexible.

Exercise generally falls into three categories:  aerobic, strength conditioning, and flexibility.  If you want your arthritic knees to feel better without taking drugs and without surgery then look to create an exercise program that incorporates all three types of exercise.

Aerobic Exercise:  This is any type of activity that uses oxygen to fuel your muscles.  Any activity that works the big muscles in your arms and legs for an extended period of time can be considered aerobic.  Aerobic Exercise makes your heart pump hard and increases your breathing rate.  This in turn will burn calories and help control your weight.

Examples of Aerobic Exercise:  running, stair climbing, fast walking, rowing, jumping rope, cros-country skiing, biking, and swimming.

Lose weight and decrease the amount of pressure on your knees.



Celebrex ad

Celebrex ad

Celebrex is reported to be the top selling arthritis drug with sales exceeding $2 Billion annually.

One of the most alarming side effects of Celebrex is an increase in blood pressure.  Increased blood pressure or hypertension has been reported in 3.9% to 13.4% of patients.  Persistent hypertension can lead to heart failure, stroke, myocardial infarction, arterial aneurysm, and chronic kidney failure.

Any reputable doctor will explain that the best way to ease the pain of your arthritic knees is with exercise and weight loss.  Think about what happens when an overweight person who does not exercise takes a drug that will increase their blood pressure.  Their knees might feel better but for how long?



Celebrex

Celebrex

Celebrex may provide temporary pain relief for the symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis but it is not a cure.  Once you stop taking the drugs, the pain will return.  And during your brief reprieve from knee pain there is a good chance your digestive tract will suffer.

It has been reported in patients taking Celebrex that:

  • 3.5% to 9.09% experienced nausea
  • 7.32% to 10.4% experienced upper abdominal pain
  • 2.8% to 8.8% experienced dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • 4.9% – 10.5% experienced diarrhea
  • 4.7% experienced gastroesophageal reflux
  • 2.3% experienced flatulence

“Constipation, diverticulitis, dry mouth, dysphagia, eructation, esophagitis, gastritis, gastroenteritis, hemorrhoids, hiatal hernia, melena, stomatitis, tenesmus, tooth disorder, intestinal obstruction, intestinal perforation, GI bleeding, colitis with bleeding, esophageal perforation, pancreatitis, cholelithiasis, and ileus have been reported in less than 2% of the patients.”

Serious gastrointestinal toxicity has been reported in people using Celebrex and could possibly be linked to some deaths.



Celebrex

Celebrex

Celebrex (Celecoxib) is a treatment option for the symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis.  It is a capsule taken by mouth usually once or twice per day.

The most common side effects of Celebrex are constipation, diarrhea, gas, headaches, heartburn, nausea, sore throat, upset stomach, and stuffy nose.

However severe allergic reactions have also been reported.  Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Celebrex:

Rashes, hives, itching, breathing difficulty, tightness in the chest, swelling (mouth, face, lips, or tongue), bloody, black, or tarry stools, change in the amount of urine produced, chest pain, confusion, dark urine, depression, fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, or persistent sore throat, hearing loss, mental or mood changes, numbness of an arm or leg, one-sided weakness, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin, ringing in the ears, seizures, severe headache or dizziness, severe or persistent stomach pain, vomiting, ; sudden or unexplained weight gain, swelling of hands, legs, or feet, unusual bruising or bleeding, unusual joint or muscle pain, unusual tiredness or weakness, vision or speech changes, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Ask yourself if the risk is worth the reward.