For any active adult, joint pain can be a nuisance. However, minor aches and pains can become severe if you ignore them too long. Surgery can help when joint pain stops you from enjoying your favorite activities. But how do you know when to see a surgeon for chronic joint pain? OhioHealth orthopedic surgeons tell us when we should consider common joint surgeries.
Ankle injuries can lead to ankle arthritis and instability. Brian D. Steginsky, DO, Orthopedic Surgeon at OhioHealth Physician Group, says, “I advise my patients to pay particular attention to the frequency, duration, and severity of their pain and to seek treatment if any of those aspects of your pain is worsening.”
Ankle surgery is often done on patients who have already tried a combination of physical therapy, injections, orthopedic shoes, ankle braces or medication, but they have not helped. The surgery can range from minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to ankle replacement. Depending on the surgery, recovery may take a couple of weeks to a few months.
Stephen Wiseman, DO, and Nathaniel Long, DO, Orthopedic Surgeons at OhioHealth Physician Group, advise that shoulder pain could be caused by tendinitis, frozen shoulder, sports or repetitive injuries, rotator cuff tears or arthritis.
If your pain does not get better after two to four weeks with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory treatments, you should see a doctor. “I usually consider surgery when conservative measures like physical therapy and/or therapeutic steroid injections do not improve a patient’s pain which tends to indicate a structural problem with the soft tissue of the shoulder, or if they are having trouble performing regular activities of daily living,” says Dr. Wiseman.
The most common shoulder surgeries are repairs to a rotator cuff, impingement decompression, stabilizing procedures for instability and total shoulder replacement. Shoulder impingement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that expands your shoulder joint to relieve pressure and greatly improve pain.
Dr. Wiseman and Dr. Long share, “Shoulder surgeries usually require patients to wear a sling for four to six weeks, followed by another four to six weeks of physical therapy. Most patients see dramatic improvement after about three months.”
If you have pain in your elbow, you may have golfers and tennis elbow (overuse of arm tendons), a ligament injury, bursitis or arthritis.
Similarly to shoulder pain, if your elbow pain does not go away after two to four weeks with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory treatments, you should see a doctor. You may need surgery if your pain continues even with physical therapy, bracing, steroid injections and orthobiologic treatments.
The most common elbow surgeries are tennis and golfer’s elbow repair, elbow arthroscopy, ligament and tendon repairs, and elbow replacement. Elbow arthroscopy can relieve pain from cartilage damage by removing loose pieces of bone, cartilage or scar tissue.
Dr. Wiseman and Dr. Long share, “Recovery from surgery depends on the patient. Simple tennis and golf elbow repairs and arthroscopy can improve in four to six weeks. Tendon repair requires at least six weeks of limited use and an additional six weeks of physical therapy. Elbow replacement surgery requires a short period of immobilization followed by physical therapy. Most patients see a significant improvement in six weeks.”
Hip pain can be caused by injuries, arthritis or bursitis. If your pain is persistent, see your doctor. Hip replacement surgery is typically reserved for patients with severe arthritis or when other treatments fail to provide relief. Those treatments include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, injections, weight loss and modifying exercise or activity.
Hip replacement surgery has become very common and has a high success rate. Lance M. Maynard, DO, Orthopedic Surgeon at OhioHealth Physician Group, says, “We are proud to offer total hip replacement surgery with the use of Mako robotic assistance. This technology increases my ability to recreate a patient’s unique anatomy and decreases the risk of complications.”
Recovery from hip replacement surgery requires both rest and activity. Physical therapy is critical to regaining joint movement and building muscle. On average, hip replacement recovery can take around two to four weeks.
Knee pain can be caused by injuries and overuse from activities and sports, leading to tendonitis or pain related to arthritis. You should see a doctor for knee pain if you’ve had an injury or chronic pain. One of the most common sources of chronic knee pain is osteoarthritis. Lance M. Maynard, DO, Orthopedic Surgeon at OhioHealth Physician Group, says, “The knee is the most commonly affected joint by arthritis. Arthritis pain can result in significant immobility for many patients. We can typically help patients with physical therapy, home exercises, anti-inflammatory medication and injections.”
Surgery may be the next step if these treatments don’t improve your pain. There are excellent knee replacement options, including partial and total knee replacements. Dr. Maynard says, “Sometimes only part of the knee joint is arthritic, and with a partial replacement, we can address just the area causing the problem.”
When you are experiencing joint pain, there are treatments available that might help you avoid surgery. But if you need it, OhioHealth Physician Group orthopedic surgeons offers the most common joint surgeries to treat your pain. Our goal is simple: to get you moving and keep you moving.