Twelve months can disappear quite quickly, don’t you think? They certainly seem to have flown by here in the clinic! A year ago, we stepped back to reflect on some of the topics covered on the blog in 2022, from the rise of gout to pain-fighting courses and… Rod Stewart’s running regime.
So now, as the year draws to an end, we wanted to do the same for 2023. Robotic operations, persistent cysts and the most-frequently asked question in knee surgery were just some of the questions we’ve been considering these past 12 months. Here are seven things you may have missed.
A jab for joint pain
If you’ve heard of hyaluronic acid, the chances are it’s thanks to the beauty industry. This lubricating chemical, naturally present in our joints, has become a staple of skin creams and serums. But it’s also quite commonly used in injections for arthritis-related knee pain. Are they effective? Though it’s impossible to guarantee, many patients do seem to report an improvement in their symptoms.
Resisting the cyst
This 2020 piece – The Baker’s Cyst – what is it, and will it go away? – was one of the most-read articles we’ve ever posted. In January, we took a closer look at the last part of that question: will this irritating condition (an excess of fluid at the back of the knee) disappear without intervention? The good news is: in most cases, yes. But there are things you can do to encourage it on its way. And backup solutions if it stubbornly refuses.
Rise of the robots
Did you know that robotic knee surgery has been around for 20 years? Or that more than a million people are now walking around on knee implants that were fitted with the help of robotics? In April, we cast a glance over five key facts about the rise of the surgical robots – including the evidence that “robotic-arm assisted” knee replacements can help to speed up recovery times.
Time for a knee replacement?
It’s probably the most-asked question in orthopaedics: does that nagging arthritis pain in your knee means it’s time to consider a knee replacement? The very short answer: knee replacement is for the most severe cases, when other alternatives aren’t working. But what does a “severe case” actually look like? And if your knee doesn’t fall into that category, what are those alternatives?
Researching the surgeons
The National Joint Registry may not sound like the most thrilling topic for an internet trawl. But it’s actually a really helpful resource for anyone who’s looking into knee replacement. The NJR is basically a huge database of joint replacement procedures and outcomes (3.7m+ records and counting). Among other things, you can use it to look up your local surgeons, their performance against the national average, the implant you might have, and the hospital that will treat you.
A surprisingly common tear
Meniscal tears are common – and not just among twenty-something extreme-sports fans. Research suggests 40% of people age 65+ may be carrying a cartilage tear of this kind. A key point to consider here is location. A tear in the “red zone” of the meniscus may heal by itself. A “white zone” tear may need surgical help. What might that involve? This blog examined the next steps.
Sport for arthritis sufferers
As a new year looms, and as the festive celebrations make their impression upon waistlines, many people’s thoughts turn to activity-related resolutions. If you have osteoarthritis damage in one of your knees, though, should you be exercising at all? And if so, which new sporting pursuits are OK to consider – or are best avoided? You won’t be surprised to hear the answer varies from person to person. That said, some specific sports can be more friendly to arthritis than others.
As Christmas approaches, the whole team here at Chris Bailey Orthopaedics would like to wish our readers and patients a very restful and peaceful break – and a happy start to 2024.