As we get older we all complain about ‘creaking’ joints and the inability to do things we could do ‘when we were young.’
But there are things we can do to keep our joints healthy and in good order. However, if a joint, such as a knee or hip, is no longer operating properly replacement is sometimes the best option.
“The age to have surgery is when the pain caused by the knee or hip is effecting your quality of life. For some people that might mean when they are in their eighties but for others, it can be much, much younger.
“In fact, delaying surgery can sometimes cause added problems as people change their walking style to accommodate the pain from the joint and then put extra pressure on other joints.”
Here, Mr Pimpalnerkar answers some often-asked questions about joint health and joint surgery
QUESTION: Joint pain can be increasingly common when we age but at what stage should we be thinking about visiting a GP.
ANSWER: Pain is the way your body tells you that something is wrong. The problem is too many people ignore the warnings and ‘battle through’ – either with the help of painkillers or by sheer grit! Either way, they are not doing themselves any favours.
It may be that the pain can be managed or that a course of physiotherapy is that is needed but the important thing is to get it checked out, first by your GP and then with a scan or X-ray.
Putting up with pain just isn’t a sensible option.
QUESTION: What might happen if you do simply ‘grin and bear it’?
ANSWER: As we get older our joints do get stiffer – that’s just a fact of life. However, putting off getting treatment will only make matters worse and could have a detrimental effect on other joints.
For example, if you limping because of a pain in your knee, this usually means you are putting pressure on other joints as you change the way you walk.
Limping changes the way you walk and so forces other joints to operate in a way they have not been used to. This might be acceptable for a short-term injury but if you do it over a long time it will affect other parts of your body.
QUESTION: How can failure to get treatment effect general health?
ANSWER: If you don’t get treatment then it could progress until walking is just too painful and so you find yourself trying to avoid exercise of any kind.
Your heart and lungs need exercise in order to function properly and you may also find that you put on weight because of your lack of activity.
A new hip or knee really can give you a new lease of life. Suddenly walking becomes not only an option but actually an enjoyable option.
These days joint replacement surgery has a fantastic success rate and people really can get back to doing the things they loved. I know people in their 50s and 60s who gave up golf or tennis because of joint pain but are now back in action following successful surgery.
Depending on age and general fitness, running and even low-contact sports are also possible – I tell patients not to let aching joints dictate your lifestyle when so many treatment options are available.
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Contact Spire Little Aston Hospital
0121 514 7084
You can also visit Mr Pimpalnerkar’s personal website where you can see previous patient testimonials here.
Mr Pimpalnerkar is the appointed Honorary Club Surgeon to the Walsall Football Club, Birmingham City Football Club, and was previously a club surgeon to West Bromwich Albion Football Club.