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Should I undergo a Total Joint Replacement for Arthritis?

Should I undergo a Total Joint Replacement for Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis can be debilitating. When joints are severely affected by arthritis, one potential treatment option to explore is replacing the damaged joint with a new, artificial one. This may not only reduce or even eliminate the pain associated with arthritis, it can also restore function to the joint. Hip, knee, and shoulder joint replacements are some of the more common surgeries recommended when dealing with arthritis.

In this blog, the NYC joint replacement specialists at Joint Replacement Center will provide an overview of what a joint replacement for arthritis involves and who may be a good candidate for this type of procedure.

How does arthritis affect the joints?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition. It damages the surfaces of the joint where they make contact with each other. In the shoulder, this is the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) and a portion of the scapula (the shoulder blade). In the knee, it involves the ends of the femur and tibia (the thigh bone and shin bone, respectively) and the patella (the knee cap). In the hip, the affected areas are the head of the femur and the socket in the pelvic bones in which it rests (the acetabulum).

What does a joint replacement for arthritis involve?

In simple terms, a total joint replacement for arthritis involves replacing the damaged joint surfaces with artificial components. For shoulder and hip replacements, these consist of a ball with a stem as well as a socket. For knee replacements, the artificial components are specially-shaped metal plates which replace the degraded cartilage covering the ends of the bone, along with a medical-grade plastic disc that replaces the thick pad of cartilage cushioning the joint. In some cases, the patella may also be relined with artificial components.

Am I a candidate for a joint replacement for my arthritis?

If your arthritis is advanced but you are otherwise in good health, joint replacement may be an option. However, you should always consult with an experienced orthopedic specialist who can provide you with conservative treatment options and other minimally invasive approaches to try before resorting to surgery.

The best candidates for an arthritic joint replacement procedure include patients who:

  • Have arthritis that is severe
  • Are experiencing significant impact on their quality of life due to their symptoms
  • Have found conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to be ineffective
  • Are willing to actively participate in a rehabilitation program following surgery

However, some health problems, including joint-related issues, may make a joint replacement for arthritis less suitable for you.

In general, you may not be a good candidate if:

  • You have poorly-controlled diabetes
  • You are an active smoker
  • You are morbidly obese
  • You have experienced infections in the affected arthritic joint in the past

The success of a joint replacement surgery depends on the health of the rest of the joint. If the joint has suffered several infections, or if it has already undergone several surgeries, it may not be healthy enough to withstand a joint replacement. In addition, if the joint’s anatomy is abnormal or if you have a muscular deficiency in the area, it may simply not be strong enough to support the artificial joint.

Looking to learn more about joint replacement for arthritis?

Joint replacement is only recommended if other treatment options have not been effective at improving symptoms, and only if the patient meets certain criteria. If you are suffering from arthritis and want to learn more about joint replacement as a treatment option, the first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our fellowship-trained joint replacement specialists.

Tips to Avoid Common Ski Injuries this Winter

Tips to avoid common ski injuries this winter

With the winter season fully upon us, bringing with it cold temperatures and fresh snow, more and more New Yorkers are flocking to the slopes to enjoy the ideal skiing conditions. Unfortunately, despite the great exercise and fun that can be had on the ski slopes, skiing can also result in a number of possible injuries.

In this blog, the fellowship-trained physicians at  Sports Medicine Center will explain some of the common ski injuries and provide tips for how to avoid them.

What are some common ski injuries?

Due to the fast-paced and full body nature of skiing, there is a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries that can occur, spanning anywhere from your hands and shoulders to your knees and ankles. Here’s a look at some of the most common ski injuries and how they are caused.

Meniscus Injuries

Bruising or tearing to the meniscus, the wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that stabilize and support each knee between the thighbone and shinbone, are frequently encountered skiing injuries. Injuries to menisci may result from twisting the knee when maneuvering ski turns or from a bad landing following a jump.

ACL or MCL Ligament Injuries

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries involve the ligaments found in the front and the medial side, or inside, of the knee, respectively. These ligament injuries can range in severity from sprains to complete tears. They are both prevalent skiing injuries that commonly result from falls, twisting the knee when maneuvering a turn, or a bad landing following a jump.

Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain occurs when the foot twists, turns, or rolls beyond its normal range of motion, injuring ligaments in the ankle. It’s one of the most common ski injuries since there are many opportunities for skis to get caught and for feet to unintentionally twist in an unnatural position while skiing.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

A rotator cuff injury is an injury to the muscles or tendons that support and mobilize the shoulder. While skiing, it’s often caused by falling onto an outstretched hand (common when breaking a fall) or by falling directly onto your shoulder.

Shoulder Dislocations

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) is pushed out of its socket. Like a rotator cuff injury, this injury usually occurs as a result of either a hard fall directly on the shoulder or from falling onto an outstretched arm.

Skier’s Thumb

Skier’s thumb is an injury characterized by damage to the ulnar collateral ligament. It is one of the common ski injuries that occurs due to falling onto an outstretched hand while holding a ski pole.


Fractures of all types – from the clavicle and wrists to the fingers and ankles, just to name a few – can result from skiing incidents, particularly with hard falls or slipping in slick conditions.

What are some ways I can help prevent common ski injuries?

While the risk of injury is always inherent when you hit the slopes, there are a few tips to keep in mind – both practical and technical in nature – that may help you to avoid common ski injuries.

  • Don’t ski when you’re tired – Falls are much more likely to occur when your muscles are fatigued, so it’s important to listen to your body and stop at the appropriate time.
  • Warm up first –Warming up beforehand is an important step to avoiding injury, as cold muscles are more prone to injury than warm ones. A simple 10-15 minutes of stretching and aerobic activity prior to skiing can go a long way.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings –Many injuries occur when skiers are simply not aware of changing conditions throughout the day. Changes in snow or ice conditions can alter the terrain, and unfamiliarity with this changing terrain can lead to potentially dangerous falls.
  • Stay in control and maintain an active stance – It’s important to stick to the slopes that are appropriate for your skill level and always maintain an active stance while skiing. Typically a stance where your legs are bent, hands are up and your weight is evenly distributed on the balls of your feet is best.
  • Tuck and roll when you fall – When falls happen, tucking and rolling is the best way to help avoid or minimize serious injuries.
  • Always use proper equipment & protective gear –Before you hit the slopes, always ensure that the appropriate equipment is being used and that it’s in good working condition. Protective gear like helmets, wrist guards, and pads can mean the difference between a minor injury and something more serious, like a dislocation or fracture.

Where can I find an experienced orthopedist to treat my skiing injury in NYC?

While skiing can be a fun and exciting way to spend time in the cold this winter, skiing injuries unfortunately can and do happen. When you are facing any type of skiing injury, it’s important to see a top orthopedic specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

NY Orthopedics’ team of experienced fellowship-trained physicians is dedicated to treating active patients of all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or an elite skier training for your next competition, if you have suffered from a skiing injury, we are here to provide compassionate and expert care. You can get started by requesting an appointment at one of our numerous practice locations in the New York City area.

The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Training for Sports

The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Training for Sports

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, a diverse training plan that involves different types of exercise, different intensity levels and one that works different muscle groups is important. There are two primary types of training—aerobic and anaerobic—but if you’re not a fitness buff, you may not know the differences and benefits of each.

In this blog, the New York orthopedic specialists at NY Orthopedics’ Sports Medicine Center will provide an overview of aerobic and anaerobic training for sports and how the two are different.

What is aerobic training?

Aerobic training, sometimes referred to as “moderate-intensity training,” relies on a continual intake of oxygen. During aerobic exercise, the body burns fat and glycogen (stored glucose) for fuel. You burn calories at a higher rate while you’re exercising, then revert to a normal rate when you’re through.

Aerobic training increases your stamina and can be sustained for long periods—think marathon as opposed to sprint. This type of exercise benefits your health in a variety of ways; it burns fat, strengthens your heart and lungs, reduces your risk of diabetes, and even boosts your mood.

Aerobic exercise should be hard enough that you can tell you’re working, but not so hard that you’re out of breath. You should be able to carry on a simple conversation as you are exercising. Jogging, biking, swimming, and hiking are all forms of aerobic exercise.

What is anaerobic training?

Anaerobic training is sometimes called “high-intensity training,” and it is intense, requiring you to push yourself to the limit of your ability. Anaerobic exercise gets your heart rate and your breathing rate up—so carrying on a conversation while you’re exercising anaerobically is out of the question. Unlike aerobic exercise, it can’t be sustained for long periods of time without adequate rest. Sprinting and weightlifting are two examples of anaerobic exercise.

When you exercise intensely, your body burns a lot of calories in a short time, and it continues to burn calories at a higher rate for up to two hours after you’re done, as your body recuperates. This is commonly called “after burn” or “oxygen debt” and can add to exercise’s usefulness in weight management. The higher the intensity of exercise engaged in, the more energy that will be expended in the recovery phase.

How do aerobic and anaerobic training impact my sports performance?

Both resistance training (anaerobic) and endurance training (aerobic) are excellent ways to improve fitness and burn calories. However, exercise that is primarily aerobic (i.e. that uses oxygen to make energy) generally results in greater amounts of calories being burned during a given amount of time, as compared to highly anaerobic exercise. For example, a person who runs for 1 hour, at a pace of 8 minutes per mile, will expend about 800 calories. The same person who does a vigorous resistance-based workout will expend about 400 calories in the same amount of time. While the oxygen debt after resistance training is somewhat higher than after endurance training, the total caloric expenditure will still be less. The best choice when designing exercise programs for weight loss is to include both highly anaerobic, resistance-type training for maintenance of muscle, and aerobic exercise for its ability to burn calories and to improve overall cardiovascular fitness.

The specific amount and types of training will depend upon your specific sport and are best tailored by an experienced trainer, with physician guidance if health issues or sports injuries are a factor in achieving or returning to peak performance.

Interested in learning more about aerobic and anaerobic training?

If you’re looking to start a new training routine or to enhance your existing training plan, the fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians at NY Orthopedics can help you create the ideal plan, guided by specific information about your musculoskeletal system.

Our practice has been deeply committed to research and innovation in the field of sports medicine since its inception, and we work with many patients who have suffered from traumatic sports injuries and are looking to rebuild a training plan as part of their full recovery. To learn more about aerobic and anaerobic training from our top sports medicine specialists in NYC, contact one of our six convenient locations in New York or schedule your appointment online today.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

For many years, spine surgery was performed as open surgery. However, new technological advances have made it possible for more back and neck conditions to be treated with minimally invasive surgical techniques, which benefit patients in a number of ways, including faster recovery times and reduced risk of complications.

In this blog, the fellowship-trained Manhattan spine specialists at NY Orthopedics’ Spine Center will explain what minimally invasive spine surgery is and when it may be recommended.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS)?

Instead of the significant, open incision involved in traditional spinal surgeries, minimally invasive spine surgery, also known as MISS, uses a specialized tool called a tubular retractor in order to reach the precise area to be treated. This is a hollow tube that is inserted through a small incision. It allows the surgeon to visualize and access the targeted area while causing less trauma to the surrounding tissue and muscles. Surgical instruments and any necessary surgical hardware such as screws or rods can be inserted through the retractor and the entire procedure is guided by fluoroscopy—a type of real-time X-ray. This allows the spinal surgeon to meticulously repair and treat the affected area with great precision.

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is only considered if conservative therapies have failed to provide successful outcomes, and only if your doctor can pinpoint the exact source of your pain, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. In cases where the exact source of pain can be isolated, the benefits of MISS are substantial. The smaller incision means less damage to the muscles around the spine, reduced risk of complications during surgery, fewer complications post-surgery, and faster recovery times.

Am I a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?

Not all types of spinal surgery can be performed with minimally invasive techniques. In some cases, traditional surgery or nonsurgical techniques may still be recommended as the primary treatment option.

An experienced spinal specialist should determine the most appropriate type of surgery for your needs, but some of the conditions MISS may be used to treat include:

  • Degenerative disc disease – Despite its name, this is not an actual disease; it is the phrase used to describe normal, but sometimes problematic, age-related changes in the spinal discs. Many conditions can result from degenerative disc disease, including herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
  • Herniated discs – The intervertebral discs of the spine—the “cushions” between the bones—consist of a soft, jelly-like center surrounded by a tough outer layer. A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer is cracked or otherwise damaged and the soft interior protrudes through the damaged area.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis – A condition characterized by a narrowing of the openings in the vertebrae of the lower back (lumbar region), through which the spinal cord and spinal nerves run. This compresses the nerves, causing pain.
  • Spinal instability – A condition characterized by an abnormal amount of movement between the vertebrae, often due to disc degeneration.
  • Vertebral compression fractures – Fractures that occur due to the total or partial collapse of a vertebra. This is most often due to osteoporosis, but a fracture can also result from a hard fall or other traumatic injury.

In addition, patients suffering from spinal tumors, spinal infections or spinal deformities such as scoliosis may also be potential candidates for MISS.

Where can I find spinal specialists in NYC to learn more about MISS?

NY Orthopedics is home to leading spine specialists in Manhattan. Our spine experts are dedicated to pioneering new approaches to minimally invasive surgery techniques and have many years of experience with treating the most complex spinal conditions.

In addition to our Spine Center, NY Orthopedics also offers an Interventional Pain Medicine Center, which focuses on patients suffering from chronic or acute pain including spinal pain, providing minimally invasive pain treatments to relieve discomfort.

To connect with a spinal specialist to learn more about your treatment options and whether you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, schedule your appointment at one of NY Orthopedics multiple practice locations in the New York City area today.