Have You Sacrificed a Knee or Hip To Skiing?

BJIskiing.jpgWhat are the costs of skiing? Let’s start with the basics: equipment and clothing purchases, transportation, lift ticket, lodging and meals.

Does that cover it? Almost. Here’s the part that can really hurt: Your joints. Your knees and hips are particularly vulnerable on the slopes. A ligament sprain, tendon tear or broken bone early in life can become a crippling case of osteoarthritis later in life that can make it difficult to walk, climb stairs or rise from a chair.

If medications, physical therapy, exercise, a weight-loss program and even arthroscopic surgical repair haven’t worked, you could be a candidate for joint reconstruction. At Hartford HealthCare’s Bone & Joint Institute, the only orthopedic hospital in the state, our team of orthopedic surgeons and sports health specialists work together to diagnose, treat and rehab your injury – all in the same building.

Call 866.633.2229 to request an appointment with a joint replacement expert

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million people, making it the most common chronic joint condition in the United States. The pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis at a joint – the junction where two bones meet – are caused by the breakdown of protective tissue (cartilage) that leaves the bones in the knee, hip, wrist or shoulder rubbing together. Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear condition that’s often a byproduct of aging.


What Is Joint Reconstruction?

Depending on the damage to the joint, reconstruction can be either a relatively simple arthroscopic repair or a total joint replacement that removes the arthritic joint and inserts a prothesis made of metal, plastic or ceramic. Knee and hip replacements are the most common joint replacement procedures.

What Are Signs That I Might Need Joint Reconstruction?

 Arthritis, most common in older people, is not curable. If your body doesn’t respond to pain treatment that makes movement easier, you might need joint reconstruction. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:

Hip Replacement 

  • Constant pain in your hip.
  • Pain in your hip that interferes with your sleep.
  • Difficultly starting to walk when you rise from a chair.

Knee Replacement 

  • Constant pain in your knee.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Knee pain that keeps you awake at night.
  • Inability to exercise (whether biking, walking or running) because of knee pain.

What’s The Difference Between Robotic Surgery and Traditional Surgery?

MAKOplasty_RIO_System1.jpgHartford Hospital, home of the Bone & Joint Institute, was the first in the state to offer patients Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for partial knee resurfacing, total knee replacement and total hip replacement.

Mako’s robotic-assisted arm, known as RIO, uses a CT scan of your knee or hip to make a virtual model of the prosthesis.The surgeon then uses RIO to guide the patient-specific prosthesis into place, ensuring a more accurate fit and greater consistency during placement.

Mako vs. Traditional Knee Surgery

  • Average Incision Length: 4-6 inches (traditional: 8-10 inches).
  • Possible swelling: Several weeks (traditional: 3-6 months).
  • Return to driving a car: Within 2 weeks (traditional: 6-8 weeks).

Are You a Candidate for Mako?

Knee resurfacing: This procedure relieves early- to mid-stage osteoarthritis in one or two of the knee’s three compartments. Doctors only replace the damaged surface of the knee, leaving healthy bone and tissue elsewhere undisturbed.

Total hip replacement: Your physician will check for symptoms such as pain or stiffness while walking, limping, pain that radiates to the groin or other areas and a history of failed non-surgical treatments.

Before Surgery: The Bone & Joint Institute’s PREPARE Assessment Center

All orthopedic patients scheduled for an elective procedure at the Bone & Joint Institute must complete a pre-operative medical-risk assessment at our Procedure-Related Education and Pre-Anesthesia Risk Evaluation (PREPARE) Center within 30 days of their procedure.

This program, which takes about 90 minutes, ensures a safe and successful surgery.

After Surgery: Bridging The Gap Program

Your recuperative care doesn’t necessarily end with physical therapy and occupational therapy following surgery. The Center for Musculoskeletal Health, part of the Bone & Joint Institute, offers strengthening programs and screening that ensure you’re ready to resume your favorite activities and also reduce the risk of further injury.

Other Skiing-Related Injuries

Our sports health physicians say leg fractures have dropped 90 percent the past three decades because of releasable bindings, but knee injuries that don't quite reach the severity of joint reconstruction have become prevalent.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture: The ACL is one of  the knee's four major ligaments. It keeps the bones aligned and controls knee movement. This injury usually happens with the skier leaning back, then catching an edge, twisting the knee. If you feel or  hear a pop, it's likely an ACL injury. Swelling may take weeks to diminish. Some tears require surgery.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tear: The most common ski-related knee injury, usually treated without surgery. The MCL, at the inner side of the knee, adds stability to the area. MCL tears can happen if you're in the snowplow position, with ski tips pointed inward, and you fall down the slope. It's more likely to happen to a novice or intermediate skiers.

Skiers also know the risks of a shoulder dislocation after falling either directly on the shoulder or braced by an outstretched hand. It can cause the bone in your upper arm to pop out of the socket at the shoulder blade.

Call 866.633.2229 to request an appointment with a joint replacement expert

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