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When Should you See an Orthopedic Physician

When Should You See A Physician About Your Symptoms?
Review the following statements. If more than one of the following statements applies to you, consider seeing a physician. You are not obligated to agree with their recommendations, but you may find that working with a physician may be the missing component in the success of controlling your arthritis.

  • Persistent pain or stiffness after getting out of bed in the morning
  • Soreness and swelling in any joint or in any pair of joints (both knees, hips, shoulders)
  • Recurrence of the above symptoms, especially when more than one joint is involved
  • Recurrent or persistent pain and stiffness in the neck, lower back, knees and other joints
  • Weight loss, fatigue, and fever accompanied by joint pain
  • Problems with your joints are interfering with your normal daily activities
  • You find yourself avoiding activities that you have previously loved doing (going to church, walking, shopping)
  • Your joint pain is interfering with sleep
  • You find you are avoiding social activities because you do not want to"slow everybody else down"
  • Your joint pain or the restrictions on your physical activity are making you feel anxious, helpless or depressed

Surgery is indicated for osteoarthritis when an individual has progressive pain in the affected joint that significantly diminishes their ability to carry on with the activities of daily living. Surgery should only be considered after a trail of less invasive care has failed. These operations are highly successful but do carry some risk.

The types of surgery include:

  • Arthroscopy - an arthroscope is inserted into the joint so that the physician can directly visualize the inside of a joint
  • Osteotomy - surgical fracture of the bone to realign the leg
  • Hemiarthroplasty - surgical replacement of half the joint
  • Total joint arthroplasty -  the surgical removal of part of the bone of the joint, and then replace that bone with a metal or polyethylene prosthetic component