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Soothe Your Achy Joints

Haunted houses aren’t the only things creaking, popping and groaning this Halloween. Harris
Methodist Walls Regional Hospital can help you get your joint aches and pains under control this fall.

Protect Your Knees, Please

The knees can become especially achy because they bear a lot of body weight.

“Many patients forget how important the shoes they wear can be,” says John Martell, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Harris Methodist Walls Regional Hospital. “You need a good, cushioned heel that helps absorb the impact of every step you take.”

Martell also encourages people with achy knees to keep their joints warm with light exercise and by wearing a joint warmer, such as a knee sleeve.

The season’s cooler temperatures bring joint aches and pains — a common sign of arthritis. This is especially true for older people, says John Martell, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Harris Methodist Walls Regional Hospital.

“Some people say they can feel changes in the weather in their joints,” Martell says. “While no scientific evidence links weather and joint pain, patients can take steps at home to alleviate their pain.”

Put Bothersome Aches at Bay

Those with arthritic conditions are encouraged to keep their joints warm with gentle exercise, such as walking and water aerobics.

“Keeping a joint warm will help decrease pain,” Martell says. “If over-the-counter pain medications aren’t effective and symptoms continue for one to two weeks, see your physician. We can prescribe medication to keep patients functional in their day-to-day activities, as well as offer other possible solutions.”

According to Martell, weekend warriors who strained too much during a workout should stop their activity, rest, place ice on the affected joint and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications such as Motrin® or Aleve®.

Surgical Solutions

If medications and at-home remedies don’t relieve pain, your primary care physician may inject steroids into the joint to ease the pain and swelling. If that is ineffective, he or she may add fluid to the joint to keep it moving freely or suggest surgery.

Surgical options vary, from arthroscopic repairs to partial or total joint replacement.

Surgery is mostly performed on loadbearing joints, such as the knees and hips, but elbow and shoulder replacement surgeries are available as well.

“Surgery is the last option when other methods have failed or stopped working,” Martell says. “The time to replace a joint is when you’re experiencing pain that cannot be relieved in any other way.”

To find an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Harris Methodist Walls who can help
ease your joint pain, call 1-888-4-HARRIS (1-888-442-7747).

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