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Orthopedists offering tips for joint health

TRINITY - There are those people who work hard, play hard and religiously follow a diet; and those whose idea of rest and relaxation is to rest and relax, preferably with a beer and a pizza within arm's reach of the couch. No matter where a person's lifestyle falls on the diet and exercise spectrum, nearly everyone will experience joint pain in their lives. Whether it's minor or serious; a sudden injury or the long-term effects of lugging around 80 extra pounds, everybody hurts somewhere sometime. During the month of June, Medical Center of Trinity, 9930 State Road 54, is presenting a four-part series of free lectures about the care and repair of joints. The lectures are being held in the hospital's Conference Room A, near the hospital cafeteria. Now that the medical center has been open four months and everyone is settled in, the public can expect a full calendar of health education events every month, Mary Sommise, the hospital's director of marketing, explained.
"This month we're featuring the joint lectures as well as men's health," Sommise said. Orthopedics is a big product line for us; it was a good place to start." Each of the lectures is being presented by a different local orthopedic surgeon. On June 12, Dr. Peter Candelora led off with a presentation called "Life is Not a Spectator Sport." Candelora said that when he runs into people who recognize him, they always have the same basic questions about joint health. He spent much of the time talking about how to avoid the damage and the surgery. "Everybody asks, 'how do I not get arthritis?'" Candelora said. But they usually ask when they're in his office because they already have arthritic symptoms. "Most people come to me, they're so far gone my knee hurts just looking at the x-ray." Having joints deteriorate with age is inevitable, Candelora said. Your back starts to deteriorate when you're in your teens. Some factors can't be controlled – family history, accidental injury, disease and even race – Caucasians get arthritis more than African or Asian people. But other factors can be controlled, Candelora said, and biggest factor is weight. Every pound a person loses takes six pounds of pressure off the knee as it hinges; it takes seven pounds off the hip, and that one pound lost takes 12 pounds of pressure off the spine. Excess weight also significantly slows down recovery from surgery. Postoperative therapy is essential to recovery. If a person is too heavy to do the postoperative work, even a perfect surgical procedure will go for naught. "We must turn away three to five patients a week, because they're just too heavy," he said. Some people believe that besides cutting calories, certain specific diets, like going gluten-free, may further help promote healthy joints, Candelora said: "I am unaware of a true regimen that will set your arthritic condition on its side." Of course, he discourages smoking. From an osteopathic perspective, smoking decreases blood flow, accelerates cartilage degradation and delays healing. He encourages exercise, so long as it's done with proper form, is preceded by stretching is doesn't involve too much repetitive motion. Water sports are terrific for the joints, he said. He doesn't advise heavy weightlifting, especially for those over 40. As long-term lifters get older, he said, lifting lighter weights at higher reps will get better results and reduce the risk of injury. Some patients come in expecting to be told they need surgery, Candelora said. Sometimes all they need is an anti-inflammatory drug or cream. Others may need an injection or two or therapy. There's even a knee brace now that rehabilitates the leg as it supports it. Achy joints are common if you've been exerting yourself, he said, "but it doesn't necessarily 'go with the territory' that as you get older, that you have to have pain in your joints." There are two remaining joint health lectures in June Reservations are required, and a light lunch will be served at each presentation. To RSVP or for more information call (727) 834-5630 or email MedicalCenterTrinity@HCAHealthcare.com.

Klowry@suncoastnews.com (727) 815-1067
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