How Likely Are You to Need a Joint Surgery Specialist?
The demand for joint specialists, particularly those who are qualified to perform the type surgery on the hip or the knee referred to as arthroplasty, has been escalating steadily for a number of years. As is the case with many of the other conditions that have become more prevalent among those living in the twenty-first century, the blame for at least a portion of this escalation can be assigned directly to the more sedentary lifestyles that have become the norm. Statistics, for example, suggest that the young men of the present era display significantly less upper body strength than their fathers – the direct result of a more sedentary lifestyle both at home and in the workplace.
A weakened musculoskeletal system will tend to leave an individual more prone to the kind of joint injuries that will eventually require surgery by orthopaedic specialists, as well as increasing his or her vulnerability to disease processes such as osteoarthritis. The latter is a degenerative condition in which loss of the cartilaginous protective coating on the articulating surfaces, for example, those of the femur and the tibia, results in painful swollen knees, difficulty in walking and, in time, the need to replace one or even both of the damaged surfaces with a suitable prosthesis, so as to relieve the swelling and pain, and to restore the subject’s mobility.
What is the likelihood that this could be your fate in a few years’ time? Under normal circumstances, this would be quite unlikely to become a significant problem before the age of 65, when the effects of general wear and tear may begin to become more evident. However, hip and knee replacements are increasingly required by overweight and sedentary subjects still in their 50s, so if that description fits you, you might also experience a premature need for joint surgery by one the country’s specialists.
On the other hand, some of the people who are found to be in need of partial or total arthroplasty have actually led very active lives and have made every effort to keep their bodies in good shape. Certain sports and fitness activities, such as jogging, however, can involve excessive impact, for instance, on the knees, and over time, this can also lead to physical damage to bones and cartilage that the body is simply not able to repair naturally.
Accidental injuries are another common reason for patients to undergo arthroplasty. If you engage in contact sports, such as rugby, soccer, or hockey, then you face an increased risk of sustaining an injury for which a joint surgery specialist may be the only person able to offer a viable solution. On the other hand, if your sporting days are now behind you, and your retirement party long-forgotten, there is a very real risk that you are no longer as steady on your feet as you once were. An accidental tumble on the stairs or an escalator could be all that is necessary to see your name added to the waiting list of those in line for a hip, knee, or shoulder replacement.
In rare cases, a skeletal problem that might eventually require the attention of a joint specialist could have actually arisen from a disorder from infancy or early childhood, yet only present its symptoms much later in life. Although the condition may not actually require an operation, some alternative form of treatment is more than likely to prove necessary at some stage. As such, there is still a strong possibility that responsibility for the necessary corrective treatment could fall within the purview of one of the county’s joint specialists who will choose to adopt a more physical or rehabilitative approach, rather than resorting to surgery with its attendant risks.
If you are a victim of gout and may be disinclined to be as strict with regards to your eating habits, you could also be heading for that waiting list. In addition to your prescription medication, you should also be avoiding foods and beverages with a high purine content that can lead to the formation of the uric acid crystals responsible for the pain and swelling typical of this common condition. Things to avoid include meats such as bacon, beef, and offal, and seafood like anchovies, sardines, and mussels, as well as alcohol in all of its popular forms. Not a great prospect perhaps, but one way to avoid a possible future intervention by a specialist in the field of joint surgery.