It’s easy to take our knees for granted, right up until they stop working. When that easy breezy trek sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies (think snap, crackle and pop!), and you’re not doing activities you enjoy, it’s probably time to do something.
Asante orthopedic surgeon and knee replacement specialist John “Jeb” Reid, MD, says a common cause of knee pain is degenerative change that come with aging and often aggravated by activity. This is frequently worsened by being overweight. “The first one you can’t do anything about; we all get older,” he said. “The other two often can be addressed with lifestyle modifications and a dedicated exercise program.”
One of the best ways to prevent knee pain is to maintain a healthy weight because extra pounds put more stress on your knees. If you have an active lifestyle, focus on strengthening, conditioning and flexibility so muscles can do their best to protect the knees.
“The more active you are, the more demand your knees experience and the more important it is to have a structured exercise program,” Dr. Reid said. “I see this a lot in athletes of all ages, adventurers and people who work labor-intense jobs.”
Ashland resident Larry Milholin is a 12-year student of martial arts who studies Akido and Hakkoryu Jujutsu. He’s earned his fourth-degree black belt and was planning to advance to the fifth degree when knee injuries sidelined him.
“Over time, I’ve had meniscus repairs, injections, physical therapy and a comprehensive exercise routine,” Milholin said. “All of these have helped, but the pain kept coming back.” Now in his late 60s, Milholin was losing mobility. To remain active and pursue his martial arts goals he chose knee replacement surgery.
“Each person’s case is unique, and not everyone will need surgery,” Dr. Reid said. “Our goal is to find the least invasive treatment that brings pain relief and allows the person to regain mobility and desired activity level.”
Milholin returned home the same day after surgery and quickly recovered with the help of physical therapy. “The pain is just gone. I mean gone,” he said. “I started walking with my dog and training in martial arts again. I can walk as far as I want.”
“Healthy knees are vital to daily life — walking, bending, even sitting all require your knee, so knee health is important for all you do,” Dr. Reid said. “When your knees hurt, it’s hard to do what you love, and life can become less fun.”
If chronic knee pain is holding you back, tune in to a webinar and Q&A session hosted by Dr. Reid and physical therapist Jim Cloward at noon on Tuesday, July 19.
They’ll discuss treatment options for knee arthritis, the difference between partial and total knee replacement, the benefits of outpatient same-day surgery, rehabilitation, and the return to activities following knee replacement surgery.
To register, go to Asante.org/KneeReplacement. If you’re unable to attend the live event, a link to the recorded webinar will be emailed to you.