Answers to Common Joint Health Questions

Premier Physician Network’s doctors answer frequently asked questions about joint health.

What are the most common forms of joint pain?

Premier Physician Network’s physicians say the most common forms of joint pain are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis.

The National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), describes each as the following:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA): OA is the most common form of joint pain. It causes pain, swelling and reduced motion in the joints. OA occurs most often in the knees, hips, hands and spine.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): This form of arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. RA most often occurs in the fingers and wrists.
  • Posttraumatic arthritis (PA): After an injury in the foot or ankle, PA can develop. It causes cartilage between the joints to wear away, and can develop years after the injury.

For more information about these common types of joint pain, talk with your doctor.

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Is joint pain always related to a serious health condition?

Though some joint pain is related to serious health conditions, that’s not the case for all joint pain.

Some things that can cause joint pain, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), include:

  • Autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Injury, including fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
  • Septic arthritis (a joint infection)
  • Tendinitis
  • Unusual overuse, including sprains and strains
  • Viral infections

Your physician might have x-rays and blood tests done to find out if there is an infection causing the joint pain, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about the causes of joint pain.

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Are joint supplements safe if they are not regulated by the FDA?

Dietary supplements today can contain not only vitamins and minerals, but also herbals, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes and more, according to the Food and Drug AdministrationOff Site Icon (FDA).

The FDA recommends that you only use supplements if they are recommended by your doctor. It also recommends following these guidelines before buying and using supplements:

  • Avoid “quick fix” supplements that are part of a current trend
  • Don’t take too much because some supplements can be dangerous if taken in high amounts
  • Learn to spot false claims made on some supplement labels

The American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS) states that patients should discuss the use of each supplement with a physician before using it.

For more information about the safety of joint supplements, talk with your physician.

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Should an individual seek medical advice prior to taking joint supplements?

It’s important to always seek medical advice before taking any kind of supplements, including those for joints, according to the Food and Drug AdministrationOff Site Icon (FDA).

Because dietary supplements are considered food by the FDA rather than medication, they are not regulated the same way medicine would be.

Supplements can have negative interactions with some medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about which supplements could be safe for you to use and which ones to avoid, according to the FDA.

Talking with your physician first also can help keep you from wasting time and money on supplements that claim to help your joints but that don’t seem to actually work well, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

If you are considering taking a supplement for joint pain, talk with your doctor first.

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What are the top causes of osteoarthritis?

Dr. Klosterman discusses the top causes of osteoarthritis. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that usually happens gradually over time, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Some of the main causes of osteoarthritis, according to the NIH, include:

  • Aging
  • Being overweight
  • Genetic defects in joint cartilage
  • Injuries to joints
  • Joints that never formed properly
  • Stress on joints from work or sports

For more information about the main causes of osteoarthritis, talk with your doctor.

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Is osteoarthritis age related?

Dr. Klosterman discusses whether age and osteoarthritis are related. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Though old age is considered a risk factor of osteoarthritis, the joint disease is not something just to be expected as people age, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Aging changes the bone structure, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis as people age, according to the NIH, and aging joint tissue also contributes to the risk of osteoarthritis.

It is more likely that someone will suffer from osteoarthritis as they get older – into their 70s and 80s – because their bodies have been used more, according to Premier Physician Network’ (PPN) physicians. But, people in their 40s and 50s also can have the joint disease, which makes age a contributing factor but not a specific cause.

For more information about whether osteoarthritis is age related, talk with your doctor.

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Is osteoarthritis hereditary?

Dr. Klosterman discusses whether heredity is a cause of osteoarthritis. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A variety of genetic traits can make a person more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis FoundationOff Site Icon (AF).

Though research is still being done to determine how osteoarthritis is specifically related to heredity and genetics, there is enough information available to connect genetics to people having a predisposition to the joint disease, according to the AF.

There is a rare genetic defect that can cause problems with the body’s ability to make collagen and another genetic condition that could lead to problems with how bones fit together, both of which could lead to osteoarthritis, according to the AF.

Talk to your doctor for more information about whether osteoarthritis is hereditary.

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How is platelet-rich plasma used to promote healing?

Dr. James discusses how platelet-rich plasma used to promote healing. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is used to try to speed up the healing process both after injuries and for some chronic conditions, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).  

It is not completely clear yet how PRP works, according to the AAOS, but studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP are what can help speed up healing. 

There are two ways PRP is used, according to the AAOS: 

  • It can be carefully injected into an injured area. The pain in the area typically gets worse in the first couple weeks, then it gets better. 
  • It can be used to speed the healing process after surgery. Rather than be injected, the PRP is prepared in a way that it can be stitched into the torn tissue. 

Talk to your doctor for more information about PRP and how it promotes healing. 

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Who is a candidate for platelet-rich plasma injections? 

Dr. James discusses who is a candidate for platelet-rich plasma injections. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Candidates for platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections can vary, according to Premier Health SpecialistsOff Site Icon (PPN) physicians.  

From young athletes trying to speed up their recovery to people struggling with chronic pain, such as arthritis and tendinopathy, PRP can help the healing process, PPN physicians say. 

In general, these injections are tried after all standard medical treatments, such as anti-inflammatories and physical therapy, haven’t worked, according to PPN physicians. 

For more information about who makes a good candidate for PRP injections, talk with your doctor.  

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What conditions are being treated with platelet-rich plasma? 

Dr. James discusses conditions being treated with platelet-rich plasma. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be used to treat a variety of conditions, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).  

Some of the most common conditions treated by PRP, according to the AAOS, include: 

Acute ligament and muscle injuries – PRP has gotten much attention because of its use in sports injuries like these. Some examples of injuries it has been used for in athletes include knee sprains and pulled hamstrings. 

  • Chronic tendon injuries – Current research studies have shown PRP to be the most effective treatment of these types of injuries, especially tennis elbow. It seems also to work well for chronic Achilles tendonitis and inflammation of the patellar tendon at the knee, known as jumper’s knee. 
  • Knee arthritis – Research is currently being done to find out how effective PRP is in helping knee arthritis, But it is too early to know if PRP will be better than the current treatment. 
  • Surgery –PRP has been used during some surgeries, including surgery for torn rotator cuff tendons and torn knee ligaments. However, research so far has shown very little or no benefit to the healing from the PRP in these surgeries. 

PRP Injections in content 
A patient receives a PRP injection.

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What is a total shoulder replacement?

Dr. Griesser discusses total shoulder replacement. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A total shoulder replacement is a surgery that replaces the bones of the shoulder joint with artificial parts, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). 

The shoulder is made of a ball and socket joint, where the round end of the arm connects into the shoulder opening, according to the NIH. 

During the replacement, the round end of the arm bone will be replaced with an artificial piece with a round metal end. That end will fit into a socket part that has been replaced by a smooth plastic shell. The shell piece is secured with special cement, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about a total shoulder replacement. 

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What are reasons a person would need a total shoulder replacement?

Dr. Griesser discusses why someone would need a total shoulder replacement. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A total shoulder replacement is usually done when a person has such severe pain in their shoulder that it limits their ability to move their arm, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon(NIH). 

Causes of this kind of severe shoulder pain, according to the NIH, include: 

  • Badly broken arm bone near the shoulder
  • Badly damaged tissue in the shoulder
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor result of a previous shoulder surgery
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tumor in or around the shoulder

For more information about the reasons someone would need a total shoulder replacement, talk with your doctor.

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What puts a person at risk for conditions that lead to a total shoulder replacement?

Dr. Griesser discusses what could put a person at risk for conditions that lead to total shoulder replacement. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

There are some behaviors that can increase a person’s risk for some of the conditions that can lead to the need for a total shoulder replacement. 

Working in a job that requires manual labor with hands and arms, especially with them raised overhead, can increase your risk, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PPN) physicians.

Other activities – including chronic steroid use, deep sea diving, and heavy alcohol use – can increase your risk of developing osteonecrosis (also known as avascular necrosis), according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). This painful condition is caused by activities like these that disrupt the blood supply to the bone. That disruption ultimately leads to arthritis that creates a need for a total shoulder replacement.

Talk to your doctor for more information about what can put a person at risk for conditions that lead to total shoulder replacement.

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What are the symptoms of big toe arthritis? Are some people at higher risk of developing it, and if so, who?

Dr. Barnett discusses symptoms of big toe arthritis. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Big toe arthritis – known as hallux rigidus – is when the big toe joint is affected by arthritis, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle SocietyOff Site 

Icon (AOFAS).

For most people, symptoms start with pain in the big toe while they are being active – especially when pushing off to walk, according to the AOFAS. Joint swelling, joint stiffness, and being unable to bend the toe up or down also are symptoms for some people.

Sometimes a bump can form on top of the big toe and become sore from rubbing inside the shoes, according to the AOFAS.

Women are more likely than men to suffer from big toe arthritis, which usually happens to people between age 30 and 60, according to the AOFAS.

Talk to your doctor for more information about big toe arthritis symptoms.

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How has big toe arthritis traditionally been treated, and does it have limitations?

Dr. Barnett discusses traditional big toe arthritis treatment and its limitations. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Traditionally, there are only a couple treatment options for big toe arthritis, known as hallux rigidus. An effective treatment for severe cases is to fuse both parts of the joint together, according to Premier Physician Network’ (PPN) physicians.

With this surgery – called arthrodesis – the toe will no longer be able to bend, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

Other treatment options, according to the AAOS, include:

  • Arthroplasty – This is usually only an option for older patients with few functional demands of their feet. The toe joint is replaced with an artificial joint.
  • Cheilectomy – This surgery is recommended for mild or moderate joint damage. With this surgery, the bone spur and a portion of the foot bone are removed so the toe has more room to bend.
  • Non-surgical treatment – Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce swelling and ease pain. Ice packs can help reduce inflammation for short periods of time. Wearing shoes with wide, open toe areas can help reduce pressure.

Talk to your doctor for more information about treatment options for big toe arthritis.

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What is the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant, and how does it differ from fusion?

Dr. Barnett discusses the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant (SCI) is an implant that can replace isolated areas of damaged or lost cartilage, such as those damaged by big toe arthritis, according to the Food and Drug AdministrationOff Site Icon (FDA).

The Cartiva SCI is a new procedure and the implant is made of a hydrogel, which has a similar consistency to real cartilage. This means the Cartiva SCI provides similar shock absorption and durability as natural cartilage, according to Premier Physician Network’ (PPN) physicians.

Cartiva SCI is different than the traditional fusion treatment for big toe arthritis (known as hallux rigidus). With fusion the toe bones are fused together and motion is lost. With Cartiva SCI, patients keep range of motion, which helps them stay active longer, according to PPN physicians.

To learn more about the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant, talk with your doctor.

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Is the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant a significant step forward in treating osteoarthritis?

Dr. Barnett discusses the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant and osteoarthritis. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant has shown that it is consistently helping patients stay pain free and functional, even two years after the initial implant surgery, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PPN) physicians.

PPN physicians call the new technology of the implant “a significant leap forward in what we have done previously.” And, they added that the Cartiva implant has a low risk of failure, unlike silicone or titanium implant that have been used for the past couple decades.

To learn more about the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant and osteoarthritis, talk with your doctor.

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What is arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery?

Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery is a surgery done using a small camera (an arthroscope) to repair a torn rotator cuff, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

The rotator cuff consists of a group of tendons that cover the upper arm bone and helps to raise and lower the arm, according to the AAOS.

The surgery is done to repair a full or partial tear of the rotator cuff, according to the AAOS.

For more details about arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, talk with your doctor.

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Who is a candidate for arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery?

More often than not, arthroscopic surgery is a good option for rotator cuff repair instead of an open surgery, according to Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians.

Continuing pain that doesn’t improve with non-surgical treatment is the main reason for surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

Good candidates for arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, according to the AAOS, would include people who:

  • Have a large tear – at least 3 cm – with good quality tissue around the tear
  • Have a tear caused by a recent, acute injury
  • Have significant weakness and loss of function in the shoulder
  • Have symptoms that have lasted six to 12 months

For more information about who is a good candidate for arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, talk with your doctor.

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What are the benefits of arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery?

There are two major benefits of arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery.

The main benefit of rotator cuff surgery in general is to eliminate pain from a partial or total rotator cuff tear, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

The benefit of having this surgery done arthroscopically is that it is minimally invasive and has a quick recovery time, according to the AAOS.

The arthroscope allows the surgeon to make very small cuts rather than a large incision for open surgery, according to the AAOS. Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery is usually an outpatient procedure.

For more information about benefits of arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, talk with your doctor.

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What is a total knee replacement?

Total knee replacement surgeries are one of the most successful medical procedures, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and QualityOff Site Icon (AHRQ). More than 600,000 total knee replacements are performed in the U.S. every year.

You might need this surgery if your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or by an injury and you’ve had trouble doing everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, according to American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

During the surgery, your surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone from the surface of your knee joint and replace them with plastic or metal.

Having a knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and allow you to be more active.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about total knee replacement surgery.

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What is a partial knee replacement?

A partial knee replacement is a surgery to replace part of a damaged knee rather than the whole knee, according to National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

The surgery replaces either the inside part of the knee, the outside part of the knee, or the kneecap.

During the surgery, your damaged tissue and bone is removed and those pieces are replaced with either metal or plastic prosthetic pieces.

Talk with your doctor for more information about a partial knee replacement.

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What determines whether you need a partial or total knee replacement?

Every knee replacement surgery is different and has its own set of needs.

Your knee is made of three parts – the inside, the outside, and underneath the knee cap. Each part can be replaced on its own, or they can all be replaced at the same time for a total knee replacement, according to the American Association of Hip and Knee SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAHKS).

In general, X-rays and your description of where you feel pain are both used to determine whether you will need a partial or total knee replacement, according to Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians.

The decision of which one will work best for you also depends on what caused the knee issues to begin with, for example: Was it an injury or was it arthritis? You and your doctor also need to consider the differences in recovery time and how long each type of knee replacement parts will last. These factors can be different for different patients depending on your current health and health history.

Talk to your doctor for more information about what determines whether a partial or total knee replacement would be best for you.

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What would make you a good candidate for a partial knee replacement?

If you’re suffering from advanced osteoarthritis and nonsurgical treatments aren’t helping to relieve the symptoms, you might be a good candidate for partial knee replacement, according to the American Association of Hip and Knee SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAHKS).

A partial knee replacement, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), would be a good option for you if you:

  • Are older
  • Are not very active
  • Have good range of motion in your knee
  • Have only a minor knee deformity
  • Have stable ligaments in your knee
  • Only have bad arthritis in one part of your knee

Talk to your doctor for more information about what makes a good candidate for a partial knee replacement.

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After joint replacement surgery, how long must you wait before engaging in physical activity?

The amount of time you need to wait to be physically active after joint replacement surgery depends on the type of joint you had replaced.

Your health care team of physicians and physical therapists will guide you on what the right amount of physical activity is for you, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). 

For example, with a hip replacement, it would be typical for you to wait six to eight weeks to be physically active. And with a knee replacement, gaining movement, strength, and being physically active are progressive over the course of one week to three months, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. 

Talk to your doctor for more information about how long to wait to be physically active after joint replacement surgery.

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What determines the type of activity you can participate in after joint replacement surgery? 

The amount of activity you can participate in after joint replacement surgery depends on the type of joint replacement and on how active you were before surgery, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. 

If you were active and exercised regularly before surgery, it will be easier to get back to your routine after surgery. 

Talk to your doctor about how to decide the type of activity you can do after joint replacement surgery.

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How can you accurately expect what you can do after joint replacement surgery? 

To have an accurate expectation of what you will be able to do after joint replacement surgery, talk to your doctor and the rest of your health care team about your specific health. 

The less active you were able to be before surgery, the harder it can be to build back your physical activity level after surgery, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. 

By doing some physical therapy before surgery and continuing with physical therapy after surgery, you can build up your muscle strength.  

The increased muscle strength can help you get your endurance back to what it was a few years before surgery. 

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to accurately expect what you can do after joint replacement surgery. 

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What is the subchondroplasty procedure?

Dr. James Klosterman discusses the subchondroplasty procedure. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

A subchondroplasty procedure might be for you if you have knee pain that is consistent with arthritis, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

You must also have an MRI showing a bone marrow lesion.

If you enjoy being active, but have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether the subchondroplasty procedure might be right for you.

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Who is a good candidate for subchondroplasty procedure?

Dr. James Klosterman discusses who makes a good candidate for the subchondroplasty procedure. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

A subchondroplasty procedure might be for you if you have knee pain that is consistent with arthritis, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

You must also have an MRI showing a bone marrow lesion.

If you enjoy being active, but have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether the subchondroplasty procedure might be right for you.

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Can a subchondroplasty procedure replace the need for joint replacement surgery?

Dr. James Klosterman discusses whether a subchondroplasty procedure can replace the need for joint replacement surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say it’s too early to know whether a subchondroplasty procedure will eventually replace the need for joint replacement surgery.

The procedure can help ease your joint pain to — at the very least — help prolong the time until you need a much more invasive knee replacement surgery.

Talk to your doctor for more information about whether subchondroplasty is able to replace the need for joint replacement surgery.

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What type of response have you seen in patients who have had a subchondroplasty procedure?

Dr. James Klosterman discusses how his patients have responded after having subchondroplasty. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say that most of their patients who have had a subchondroplasty procedure have positive results.

About 80 percent of patients have an 80 percent reduction in baseline knee pain and discomfort.

For more information about how patients have responded to a subchondroplasty procedure, talk with your doctor.

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How is stem cell therapy used in orthopedic care?

Dr. Jeffrey James discusses stem cell therapy and orthopedic care. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Stem cell therapy is used in orthopedic care, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say, for anyone with arthritis, chronic tendon injuries, ligament injuries, muscle tears and more. 

With this type of regenerative injection, the body’s own cells are injected into areas to help the body use its own natural healing process.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how stem cell therapy is used in orthopedic care.

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Can stem cell therapy reduce my need for joint replacement?

Dr. Jeffrey James discusses whether stem cell therapy can reduce the need for joint replacement. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Stem cell therapy can be a great alternative option for someone looking to delay or avoid joint replacement, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

This therapy might not take the place of joint replacement for everyone, but it is a good option to at least delay joint replacement for some people.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how stem cell therapy might be able to reduce your need for joint replacement.

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Who is a good orthopedic candidate for stem cell therapy?

Dr. Jeffrey James discusses who makes a good candidate for stem cell therapy. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Many people can be good candidates for stem cell therapy.

Degenerative arthritis conditions are the most common reason stem cell therapies are used, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. The worn-away portions of joint cartilage can be regenerated with the stem cells.

If you have chronic ligament, tendon or muscle injuries, stem cell therapy could also be helpful for you.

Talk to your doctor for more information about who makes a good candidate for stem cell therapy.

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Can stem cell therapy give patients like me permanent orthopedic benefits?

Dr. Jeffrey James discusses whether stem cell therapy can provide permanent orthopedic benefits. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Stem cell therapy is a newer treatment for orthopedic issues. However, it has shown the potential to have long-lasting benefits, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Every patient can react differently to the stem cell therapy, because of the different way your joint might be made up or the degree of your arthritis or the amount of damage to your ligament.

Your activity levels can also play a part in how long your body responds to the therapy. 

For more information about whether stem cell therapy can give you permanent orthopedic benefits, talk with your doctor.

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What are some steps of preparing for joint replacement surgery?

Dr. Dennis Brown discusses how to prepare for joint replacement surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

When joint replacement surgery is in your future, you’ll have a few different health care providers to visit, and they’ll likely recommend you take some steps to prepare for your surgery, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Managing some health issues before surgery can help the procedure go well and help your recovery.

Some risk factors your health care providers will likely want you to manage include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor muscle development
  • Smoking

The American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS) also recommends avoiding any other procedures, including dental work and even routine dental exams, prior to your joint replacement surgery unless you have the go-ahead from your orthopedic surgeon.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to prepare for joint replacement surgery.

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Can properly preparing for joint replacement surgery affect the outcome?

Dr. Dennis Brown discusses how preparing for joint replacement surgery can affect the outcome. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

Being prepared before joint replacement surgery can have a positive effect on the outcome following surgery.

Premier Physician Network Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say you can prepare by:

  • Losing some weight through a healthy diet and physical activity
  • Managing diabetes
  • Quitting smoking

You can also participate in pre-habilitation, which includes rehabilitation and therapy exercises that reduce your need for post-surgery inpatient rehabilitation by 73 percent, according to the Arthritis FoundationOff Site Icon.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how preparing before joint replacement surgery can affect the outcome.

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Do I have to do physical therapy before joint replacement surgery?

Dr. Dennis Brown discusses whether to do physical therapy before joint replacement surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

    

Your doctor might require you to do physical therapy – known as pre-habilitation – before you have joint replacement surgery.

If you have little or no muscle tone, your muscles might not be able to support your joints after surgery. Doing pre-habilitation can cut recovery time after surgery from two to three months down to one month, Premier Physician Network Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Pre-habilitation could go anywhere from six weeks to three months before surgery, depending on your individual physical needs, according to the Arthritis FoundationOff Site Icon.

Talk to your doctor for more information about whether you’ll need to do physical therapy before joint replacement surgery.

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What is a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder happens when the head of your upper arm bone has come out of the joint socket, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS).

Your shoulder can be partially or fully dislocated. Both can cause your shoulder to be in pain and to feel unsteady.

Talk to your doctor for more information about a dislocated shoulder.

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How does a dislocated shoulder happen?

Your shoulder is the most moveable joint in your body. It’s also the most common to be dislocated, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Common causes of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Accidents, including traffic accidents
  • Falling on your shoulder or on an outstretched arm
  • Seizures or electric shocks that can cause your arm to pull out of place
  • Sports injuries

Talk to your doctor for more information about what causes a dislocated shoulder.

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What are some sports that put young athletes at greater risk for a dislocated shoulder?

Young athletes who play contact sports are at greater risk for a dislocated shoulder, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Football, wrestling, rugby and lacrosse are all sports that increase the chances a young athlete will have a dislocated shoulder.

For more information about sports that increase the risk of a dislocated shoulder in young athletes, talk with your doctor.

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How is a dislocated shoulder treated?

Treating a dislocated shoulder starts with your health care provider slipping the ball of your upper arm back into the socket, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Sometimes your doctor will give you medicine first to help with the pain and to relax your shoulder. The severe pain should end once your shoulder joint is back in place.

Next, your doctor likely will recommend that you wear a sling to help keep your shoulder in place. You could need to wear it anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Once your pain is reduced and the swelling has improved, you might need to do rehabilitation to help strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how a dislocated shoulder is treated.

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What is whiplash, and what are the symptoms?

Nurse Practitioner Jeffrey Penny discusses whiplash and its symptoms. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

    

Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissue in your neck, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

This condition often occurs after neck damage caused by sudden extension (the neck bending backward) and sudden flexion (the neck bending forward). For example, one common way people can get whiplash is during a car accident.

Its symptoms include:

  • Abnormal feelings, such as burning or prickling in the neck
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain, stiffness or decreased range of motion
  • Headache
  • Muscle and ligament injuries
  • Shoulder pain

Talk to your doctor for more information about whiplash.

Learn more:

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How long does whiplash last?

Nurse Practitioner Jeffrey Penny discusses how long whiplash lasts. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

    

Usually whiplash symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

And most patients recover fully within three months of their injury.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how long whiplash lasts.

Learn more:

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How is whiplash treated?

Nurse Practitioner Jeffrey Penny discusses how whiplash is treated. Click play to watch the video or  read the transcript.

    

Whiplash is treated with anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen, ice, and heat, Premier Health Urgent Care providers say.

For persistent symptoms, your doctor might recommend physical therapy.

If the injury is causing muscle spasms, you might also be prescribed muscle relaxants.

For more information about treating whiplash, talk to your doctor.

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How does a tendon tear happen?

A tendon is a part of a muscle that attaches the muscle to your bones.

When you move, your muscles contract, which increases the force on a tendon, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

If there’s too much force, however, your tendon can tear or rupture.

For more information about how a tendon tears, talk with your doctor.

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Can a tendon tear be healed or repaired?

Whether a torn tendon should heal or be repaired depends on how bad the damage is, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Most partial tears can heal without surgery. With rest and rehabilitation, over time this kind of incomplete tear can heal well.

But, if your tendon is fully torn – which is known as ruptured - surgery might be the best option.

Talk to your doctor to find out whether your specific tendon tear can heal or be repaired.

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What activities can increase my risk for a tendon tear?

Tendon tears happen when too much force impacts your tendon.

Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say there are a variety of things that can increase your risk of a tendon tear, including:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Overuse of a tendon
  • Previous injuries
  • Some sports

Talk to your doctor to learn more about activities that can increase your risk for a tendon tear.

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Thanks to these Premier Physician Network’s doctors for answering these common questions about joint health:

Additional Resources

This website provides general medical information that should be used for informative and educational purposes only. Information found here should not be used as a substitute for the personal, professional medical advice of your physician. Do not begin any course of treatment without consulting a physician.

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