Avoid Dangerous, Costly Surgery for Knee Pain–Go for Conservative Care First

Got knee pain?

Some people suffer knee pain so acutely, they’re ready to jump on the surgical table for a total knee replacement.  While this option can work, conservative care may be just as effective at relief–plus less costly, less dangerous, and requiring little to no “down time.”

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That’s what a recent study covered in Reuters Health found: that “while 85 percent of patients who underwent surgery showed clinically-significant improvement after one year, so did 67 percent assigned to a combination of supervised exercise, use of insoles, pain medication, education and dietary advice.

“It won’t do any harm trying the nonsurgical treatment,” the study’s chief author, Dr. Soren Skou of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, told Reuters. “I hope this will give a more balanced discussion of whether or not to have the surgery.”

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1 percent of surgery patients die within 90 days of their operation and about 1 in 5 have residual pain at least six months after the procedure.

People need to understand and respect that knee replacement is not without complication,” added Dr. Andrew Pollak, chairman of orthopedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore in the same article. “Knee replacement is a big surgical procedure and there are risks associated with it.” One percent of patients die within 90 days of their procedure, and about 1 in 5 have residual pain at least six months after the fact. (Read the full piece here).

Foot Levelers’ custom orthotics, along with care from a health professional like a Chiropractor, are research-proved to help alleviate knee pain, among many other common problems associated with age, injury and/or over-use.  Plug in your city or zip code here to find a Chiropractor near you.

The Real Fashion Faux Pas

You–yes you–may be harboring a dangerous villain.

It may be lurking in your bedroom closet. Or hiding in the hallway by the front door.

It may have even have made its way into the shadowy depths of….. Your back pocket.

We’re actually talking everyday items here: the oversized handbag. The workplace or evening heels. The elegant briefcase or its more modern counterpart, the laptop bag. Even the seemingly innocuous leather wallet… shutterstock_57363508The things you wear or carry on your body may secretly be conspiring to cause you serious pain and problems down the road.

We’ve talked about high heels in previous posts, but here’s Foot Levelers’ quick list of common fashion faux pas (faux pases? faux pie?) when it comes to health:

  • Large purses or handbags
  • Heavy briefcases or laptop bags
  • Too small shoes
  • High heels
  • Pointy toed shoes
  • …Even the traditional pocket wallet

Let’s “unpack” this, shall we? Big bags or heavy briefcases may carry all your essentials, but they also shift a majority of your body’s weight to one side. Our bodies are meant to stand upright–not tilt–and the addition of a large bag or purse works against this.  The result: Strain to the lower back, knees, hips, and spine.

Shoes that are too small, too tall, too pointy or fit poorly can add stress to the body and disrupt your natural gait (walking) pattern. When your walk is “off,” stress occurs in places it shouldn’t.  On your feet, you may see calluses or painful bunions. Again, strain radiates disproportionately throughout the body and joints.

shutterstock_95550097And that “innocent” wallet? Many men sport it in their back pocket during the day, and sit on it without much concern.  But sitting on a wallet creates an uneven foundation for the body in the seated position – which may cause sciatica or even a herniated disc.

There’s good news: small and simple changes will help you avoid pain and strain.  If you frequently carry bags or briefcases, alternate sides. (And strengthening the muscles that are used to carry these accessories can help hold their weight while maintaining good posture).  Guys, carry your wallet in a front pocket whenever possible.

With shoes, make sure you purchase ones that fit (one study found that 88% of women wear shoes that are too small! Eighty-eight percent!!). They should also have good support–ideally, custom-made orthotics.  When wearing heels, try not to do so for any longer than 2 hours.

Keep in mind: your body is like a building.  By protecting its foundation, and taking care of the overall structure, it will look better, last longer, and feel better, too. To your health!

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And Now, A Word from Our Doctors…

We received this great message from Dr. Amy Olson in Birmingham, Michigan about her marathon-running patient!

“One of my most memorable patients, an avid runner, suffered from knee and shin pain when I first saw her. The runner was forced to abandon her goals of marathon events but one day said, ‘Forget this!,’ and made an appointment to see me, determined to run in the 2010 Chicago marathon.

She suffered from two very common problems: pelvic torsion, causing a leg-length discrepancy, and the inability to maintain the arches of her feet in a weight-bearing position. Both of these conditions are extremely common and can lead to problems such as: plantar fasciitis, shin splints, patellar tracking dysfunction (knee pain), low back pain, upper back pain, neck pain, and even headaches. For a runner these problems can become magnified due to the extreme stress on the joints of the spine, legs and feet.

I began my patient on a treatment plan of chiropractic adjustments targeting the spine and feet, stretching, massage therapy, and Foot Levelers functional orthotics. Once the pain was under control, my patient continued to see me once per week for the months leading up to the marathon. On the big day, my patient finished the marathon without a hitch.”

Thanks Dr. Amy! We’re glad we could help.

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