If you suffer from arthritic knees, hips, and shoulders, you are not alone: According to orthopedist William Macaulay, MD, of ColumbiaDoctors in Tarrytown, these are the most common orthopedic problems among mature adults.
As the director of The Center for Hip & Knee Replacement at Columbia University Medical Center, and Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, Macaulay advises patients not to bother with trendy health magnets and copper bracelets because they just don’t work. “If you have pain that doesn’t respond to NSAIDs (e.g., Advil, Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), and which significantly limits your activities of daily living, or preferred exercise routine or recreational activities, then it’s time to call your orthopedic specialist,” he says.
While nothing can completely prevent arthritis, there are some things people can do to slow the onset or decrease the likelihood of major joint pain. Macaulay urges his patients to know their ideal body mass index (BMI) and to follow a healthy diet and low-impact aerobic exercise program. “The healthiest people know their BMI and do not make excuses for why they cannot reach their goals. They are tenacious and nothing gets in the way of their taking care of themselves,” he says. “When conservative management has failed, limitations are unacceptable, and the benefits from surgery outweigh the risks, it may be time for joint replacement surgery.”