Your knees and hips do a lot of important work for you. That means when those joints are hurting, so are you. Quality of life can hang in the balance.
Strength, flexibility and durability can all deteriorate in these joints, the largest joints in the body, based on things like age, overuse and injury.
In short, if you have a sore hip or sore knee, you have a problem.
“Hip and knee pain can be extremely disheartening,” said Coridon Huez, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Bismarck, North Dakota. “It can seem like no matter what, any movement will cause pain and discomfort. I often see patients who have damaged a joint due to an athletic injury or overuse, but many older adults can also develop painful conditions from the gradual wear and tear that comes with aging, such as arthritis.”
Nonsurgical routes to pain relief
Dr. Huez, who specializes in joint pain, hip and knee replacements and orthopedic trauma, can reduce discomfort or eliminate it entirely via a variety of strategies. Many of these treatments do not involve surgery. Things like physical therapy, lifestyle changes, medication or a combination of all three can reduce pain and increase flexibility and strength.
“Sanford has a comprehensive team of orthopedic specialists and rehabilitation experts,” Dr. Huez said. “Having open communication between myself and the therapists allows us to closely monitor a patient’s progress and listen to how they’re feeling.”
Those conversations between doctor and patient can sometimes lead to the conclusion that surgery is the best solution. Replacing an old, worn out joint with a new mechanical joint can eliminate pain and mark a return to activity.
When surgery is an option
For more than 7 million people in the United States, joint replacement has been the best choice.
“Our team is dedicated to customized, patient-centered care,” Dr. Huez said. “We work with each patient to discuss the symptoms they’re experiencing, help identify the causes of the pain and lay out a treatment plan.”
This plan will take into consideration the patient’s unique health condition, lifestyle and circumstances.
“We want to provide a solution that the patient is comfortable with and will provide lasting relief,” Dr. Huez said. “The best part of my job is seeing patients get back to living their life free of nagging and limiting joint pain.”
A successful procedure to replace a knee or hip often begins with effective patient preparation. Factors like diabetes, heart disease and obesity can all affect the outcome of joint replacement surgeries.
“Through our optimization program, we evaluate these risk factors,” Dr. Huez said. “We help our patients get into their healthiest state so that they can have the best possible outcome following surgery.”
DNA tests and robotic-assisted surgery
Combined with technological advances in total joint replacements, patients are often able to begin movement immediately after surgery. The result: Patients often experience fewer complications and recover more quickly.
Enhancing outcomes can also include the Sanford Chip, a DNA test which can find a patient’s risk for certain hereditary illnesses and how their body processes various medications. This testing can help patients get to the right dose of the right medication faster.
For example, if a patient metabolizes a particular medicine poorly, their doctor would then decide if it’s necessary to adjust the dosage, or offer an alternative medication.
In addition, the Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team offers robotic-assisted knee surgeries. This technology allows doctors to deliver more accurate implant positioning based on a patient’s unique anatomy. It can lead to smaller incisions and more comfort after surgery.
“The advances in total joint replacement surgeries paired with our optimization program sets patients up to begin movement immediately after surgery,” Dr. Huez said. “Patients often experience shorter hospital stays, a quicker return to normal life, and the potential for enhanced long-term function.”
Lifestyle changes and proper medical treatment can help you reclaim your life. Whether you’ve just started to experience pain or have been battling it for years, Dr. Huez and the orthopedic specialists and Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can help you make informed decisions about staying active and independent for years to come.
To schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist at Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, please call (701) 323-8920.
- What you need to know about total joint replacement surgery
- Grateful patient sees long-term benefits after knee surgery
- Managing joint pain and treatments: Podcast