Thanks to today’s advanced technology and skilled surgeons, joint replacement surgeries are successfully performed every day at hospitals across the U.S., including El Paso Specialty Hospital. Yet not everyone experiencing significant joint damage is in need of surgery, and alternate options are available.
Total joint surgery, or joint replacement surgery, is removing a damaged joint — knee, hip, or shoulder — and replacing it with a new one. Though the surgery has become a more common practice and is often considered routine, Michael Fallon, MD, general orthopedic surgeon at El Paso Specialty Hospital, recommends that total joint surgery should be a last resort whenever possible.
Alternate Treatments to Total Joint Surgery
Dr. Fallon has worked in orthopedic surgery since completing his residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in 2001. When it comes to joint health, he’s a strong advocate of taking a conservative approach to treatment first before pursuing surgery. It’s one of the reasons many individuals with joint pain and injuries come to El Paso Specialty Hospital. The surgical team knows each case is different. Some joint damage can be treated and healed through physical therapy and injections; more serious issues such as athletic injuries, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis may require surgery.
Tips for Improving Joint Health
What if you could take steps now to help avoid significant joint pain or surgery? You can! During his years of treating patients and performing surgeries, Dr. Fallon has seen cases where surgery could have been prevented with more education and awareness of what causes joint damage. Though genetics may play a part for some individuals, taking steps early on can help decrease and even prevent excessive damage.
1. It starts with a healthy diet.
Like many other health issues and diseases, a healthy diet is essential to protecting your joints. Start by cutting down on foods with glucose and fructose. Food and drinks with high amounts of sugar can lead to increased inflammation in the joints. Focus on introducing more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, such as blueberries, salmon, walnuts, coconut oil, broccoli, and green, leafy vegetables. A clean and healthy diet can help prevent or minimize joint pain, and even help heal joints in some cases.
2. Avoid smoking.
Research has shown that smoking can lead to osteoporosis and joint pain, causing irreversible damage in some cases. Additionally, smoking can increase pain sensitivity for those already dealing with joint pain.
3. Avoid alcohol, or only drink in moderation.
Alcohol can aggravate symptoms associated with arthritis and joint pain, and it is known to minimize the effects of medications that treat joint pain. If you are currently taking an anti-inflammatory medication, avoid alcohol completely to ensure you benefit from the full effect of your medication.
4. Use proper technique when exercising.
To avoid joint injuries caused by sports and fitness activities, take time to learn the proper techniques for movement. Stretching before and after exercises also helps to keep muscles and joints strong and healthy. If you have joint pain or injuries, be sure to consult your doctor or physical therapist before performing any extensive exercises that could cause more damage to your joints.
If you are dealing with consistent joint pain or have joint damage, contact us to schedule an appointment so we can help you identify what’s going on and determine the best course of treatment. Use the tips above to start taking steps now to minimize your risk for further joint pain!