Stay Active to Protect Your Joints

To maintain quality of life, keep your joints healthy as you age.

Joint pain and loss of mobility make it harder to enjoy life. A healthy lifestyle can help keep you vibrant and active, and maintaining healthy joints can help prevent osteoarthritis or other joint disease.

“I tell my patients to maintain flexibility and mobility as they age,” explains Albert Cecchini, DO, board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals. “A healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to do that, especially when it includes low-impact exercise.”

Stretching is an excellent way to keep your joints flexible, and it can be done from the comfort of your home. Light exercise can help strengthen joints and alleviate pain.

For exercises that are easy on aging joints, try:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

Weight loss can also help manage joint pain for people who are overweight or obese,. Losing even one pound lowers four pounds of pressure on your knees.

“Some of our patients understand that losing weight will help alleviate their joint pain, but they aren’t sure how to get started,” Dr. Cecchini says. “That’s why we offer the Ideal Weigh program, to help patients learn what it means to lose weight in a healthy way.”

Treating Joint Pain

Joint pain—whether from arthritis, injury, or just wear-and-tear—can make caring for yourself difficult. However, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals offer a variety of conservative treatments to help you get back on your feet. Physical and occupational therapy can help relieve joint pain in some patients. Others see success with injections, medications, or at-home treatments.

“If one of my patients has exhausted these non-operative methods and joint pain still prevents them from living the life they want to lead, I may recommend joint replacement surgery,” Dr. Cecchini says. “Advanced arthritis can be a good indication of when it is time for joint replacement.”

Our orthopedic team uses leading-edge technologies, equipment, and techniques to provide quality orthopedic care. Types of surgery we offer include arthroscopic surgery, which uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat orthopedic concerns, as well as partial and total joint replacements. Joint replacement surgery is one of the safest and most successful patient operations performed, and its results may last 20 years or more. For many patients, joint replacement surgery is a lifelong solution to their pain.

“That’s the main reason I became an orthopedic surgeon—seeing my patients returning to the activities they enjoy after treatment,” Dr. Cecchini says. “Whether it’s through operative or non-operative treatment, seeing patients get better is what I enjoy most about my work.”

Preparing for Joint Surgery

“The minute surgery is scheduled, our patients’ preparation begins,” says Stacey Powell, MSN, RN, CNOR, HSHS Western Wisconsin Director of Perioperative Services. “We discuss what joint replacement surgery and recovery will require, and we start planning for the patient’s recovery and physical therapy.”

At HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals, joint replacement surgery is a collaborative effort, from scheduling to recovery.

“Our team includes our pre-operative, interoperative, recovery, and inpatient colleagues,” Powell says. “Every one of us is dedicated to providing safe, high-quality, compassionate care. The most important thing we do for our patients is to make them feel safe, respected, and informed. We involve patients’ families as well, because we know how difficult it can be for patients to retain information during times of stress.”

Want to learn more about our orthopedic services? Visit HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital or HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital. For an appointment, call 715.717.3375.

You may also be interested in “Little Changes Improve Diet and Exercise.”