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Back In The Game

I just made an appointment with a Physical Therapist specializing in athletes with knee problems: I loved giving my Medicare information and saying also that I am an athlete! Okay, I have to say I’m a side-lined athlete until the PT can perform some magic on my chronic tendon and bursa issues around my knees, but I am determined to race again (rowing) and ride again (bicycling), so he’d better be good.

For seniors with internal joint problems, surgeons have worried in the past about the risks of submitting older folks to the knife, worrying about an increased complication rate. A recent study of 80-84 year olds undergoing orthopedic surgery revealed some comforting statistics. Those with other illnesses of course had more complications, and the overall mortality rate was higher than for younger folks, but it was still low, and improved over years past. Our ability to manage even elderly patients undergoing surgery has improved, and they are spending less time in the hospital (always a plus) and heading home rather than to rehab centers (another plus).

As I mention in this DailyRx article, loss of mobility is a huge burden on a patient’s physical and mental health, so if a brief “sideline” to perform orthopedic surgery carries acceptable risk, doctors and patients can opt for full repair and the possibility of a return to full physical activity. I know well that we are all happier and healthier when we can do both the activities of daily life (stairs, for instance) and the sports we love. Take care of yourself and get back in the game.

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