Get a Grip on Assisting Arthritic Patients

    Did you know? Roughly 22.7 percent of adults had doctor-diagnosed arthritis in 2013-2015, with 43.5 percent of those individuals having limitations in their usual activities due to the arthritis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC also estimates that by the year 2040, the percentage of adults diagnosed with arthritis will rise to 25.9 percent.

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    Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two common forms of arthritis, which is joint inflammation that can cause stiffness, limited motion, pain and possible deformities (The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.). When these issues occur and hinder a patient’s daily routine and activities, joint replacement surgery is often recommended.

    This type of surgery replaces damaged and diseased joints with man-made joints to reduce pain and improve mobility (National Institutes of Health). While knees and hips are the most common joints for joint replacement surgery, other joints can include shoulders, fingers, ankles and elbows.

    Because surgery can cause infection, joint stiffness, pain and damage to the area if the implant begins to fail, there are treatments that can occur after surgery to improve the healing process and allow patients to get back to their daily routines.

    Stem Cell Treatments

    Using the body’s stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue, stem cell therapy “promotes the reparative response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives,” (Mayo Clinic). This form of treatment is the answer to limited organ donations, as doctors can use the patient’s own body to repair damages and diseases. And because the cells injected into the joints are coming from the individual, Emory Healthcare states there is no worry of rejection with this treatment.

    Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments

    PRP is a treatment that takes plasma from the patient and injects into the damaged or diseased joints. While the pain might increase in the first week of injection, the treatment can improve healing after surgery by being stitched into torn tissues (OrthoInfo). PRP can be used to treat chronic tendon injuries, acute ligament and muscle injuries, arthritis, fractures and more. Emory Healthcare states that PRP therapy “has been successful in not only relieving the pain, but also in jumpstarting the healing process.”

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    While your patients are undergoing joint replacement surgeries or are in the process of healing their joints and tendons after stem cell and PRP treatments, there are a number of home modifications that can assist their ease of living. Homer suggests the following modifications to maximize mobility and make it easier to accomplish tasks:

    • Lever Faucets and Door Handles
    • Rocker Light Switches
    • Barrier-Free Showers
    • Grab Bars and Handrails
    • Pull Down Shelving
    • Raised Toilets and Beds

    image on page for  / perceived to contain Art, Doodle, DrawingReady to learn more? Register for our monthly CEU on “Joint Replacement vs. Stem Cell: A Debate,” presented by Scott Abraham, MD and Michael Khadavi, MD on February 28 from 5:30 –7:30 p.m.