Even with surgery, if the patient’s condition is not restored to the point where they can exercise or maintain independence, there’s no longevity advantage or health achievement. The good news is that most patients do not need pills or surgery to exercise.
The chief obstacle to exercise in the aging population both in the United States and worldwide is degenerative joint disease. It’s called arthritis. And now that advanced instrumental analysis has become standard in every scientific reference laboratory, we know a lot more about it and how to take care of it. Very few of those ways involve surgery, and all of them involve some form of exercise.
The days of drawing lines in the sand between inflammatory arthritis and so-called “wear and tear arthritis” have passed. The simple term “arthritis” has fallen back into favor, as bench scientists have consistently demonstrated that the same cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the inflammatory changes once only believed characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are just as active in what was classically considered “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthrosis (OA). Deciphering cellular crosstalk and understanding the chemical conversation between cells and their environment has clarified the characteristics of each state of arthritis. We have come to understand that arthritis is a long continuum of disease based on physical and biochemical cartilage assaults that require ongoing attenuation by our body’s defense mechanisms.
On the heels of these discoveries and combined with major advancements in the understanding of stem cell biology, the field of orthopedic surgery is on the brink of the biggest paradigm shift it has ever known.
However, with the introduction of new technology comes responsibility. It’s essential that patients considering these innovative and often experimental techniques seek out key opinion leaders and real experts. Otherwise, there may be an unacceptably high rate of expectation/result mismatch.