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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014

News

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Staying active and losing weight keeps knees and hips healthy

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

By Pohla Smith

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Someday orthopedic specialists may be able to grow an entire new cartilage for a knee or a hip ravaged by osteoarthritis. Already, they can remove a few cells and grow small patches of it to repair lesions on the femur.

Meanwhile, companies have come out with new and improved hyaluronic acids to ease joint pain and upgraded the materials used in artificial hips and knees over the past two years.

But orthopedic surgeon Brett Smith thinks "global cartilage repair is a far way away," and the newly improved joints don't excite him as much as if he could guarantee them for a lifetime.

"I hate to sound so negative," says Dr. Smith, an adult reconstructive surgeon in the Center for Restorative Joint Diseases at Allegheny General Hospital, "but the biggest thing for me in terms of treatment is the things you can do for yourself."

And those are:

• Stay active and exercise. "It's well-documented, and the Arthritis Foundation has said this: 'If you decrease activities, your arthritis will get worse faster.' " Dr. Smith cautions the activities you engage in be noncontact, nonimpact activities. "Running is out; swimming is best; cycling is second best; and elliptical training is third best," he says. "Lifting is fine, not excessive weight, but lifting for endurance."

To read more, visit the Post-Gazette web site.

 

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