SPORTS MEDICINE FOR SENIORS
Orthopedic surgery is often glamorized by its association with high profile athletes. Injuries that compromise a career in sports, or worse yet, result in permanent disability or death gather a great deal of attention. Although these high profile athletes have important concerns, problems which limit the daily activities or lifestyles of normal people are every bit as important. Our senior population has greater expectations (or demands!) which would allow them to participate in life to a greater extent than sitting on the front porch. Senior athletes exercise more frequently and recognize the need to help combat cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and a myriad of other health related problems. As orthopedic problems with the spine or extremities arise, which limit or stop us from participation in our designated exercise or sport, the need for accurate diagnoses and options for treatment must be available to our aging athletes. The key to longevity, health, and happiness often times depends on our ability to “stay in the game”.
Spinal problems stem from bone failure or fracture, nerve disorders and arthritis. Occasionally, infection or even cancer can provide a source of spinal pain that travels to the extremities. Dr. Johnson has extensive diagnostic experience in this area with university fellowship training in spinal disorders. Dr. Johnson has served as an instructor in spinal surgery at the international level and presently is a member of the North American Spine Society. Spinal disease is very difficult to diagnose accurately and even more problematic to provide effective treatment. Leg or hip problems are often misdiagnosed spinal problems and the selection of a physician with formal training in spinal disorder is essential.
Hip and knee pain or arthritis is a common problem in senior “athletes.” A variety of problems, some very simple, can be very painful or limiting. Appropriate conservative efforts are the standard of care in all but the worst cases. Often times, patients are only given the option of surgery or injection – when in reality the use of some nutritional supplements, orthotics or bracing, medication, or physical therapy can be effective. Viscosupplementation (Synvisc) injections are working well for many seniors and in the past few years has been a surgical alternative. Clearly, surgical options are often the best choice, never the only choice, and Dr. Johnson has been doing hip/knee surgery for almost 20 years. We try to use the latest technology that has a track record of durability and function. Too many times the most recent breakthrough turns out to be the most recent “failure.” New prosthesis designs or manufacturers should be approached with some skepticism.
As an orthopedic clinic we are proud to serve our friends and neighbors in Havasu and surrounding areas. We try to treat our patients with respect, listen to their problems and examine them carefully.
In short, a team approach to difficult problems in health care will result in better care. His goals are to provide improved quality of life and keep “you” in the game as long as possible.