Aging and Arthritis

As we get older - arthritis and pain play a role in staying active. You may see a decline in how active you can be because of joint pain. How do you know when it’s time to see a specialist? Kevin Bozic, MD, MBA, FAOA, FAAOS, orthopedic surgeon with UT Health Austin’s Musculoskeletal Institute speaks with KXAN’s Gigi Barnett about arthritis and aging.

What does it mean to have arthritis?

Arthritis simply means the deterioration of cartilage on the ends of the joints. Its multi-factorial; there are genetic causes, lifestyle causes and some of it due to wear and tear because of aging.

Are men or women more susceptible to arthritis?

It happens in both and depends on activity level and other lifestyle factors such as your weight. Both are equally susceptible.

Less Active or more active?

More active. But there are certain types of activities that are more detrimental to the joints, such as high impact activities. As we get older, we like to transition people from running and jumping activities to more joint-friendly activities like walking, biking and swimming.

When would someone come see you who is experiencing joint pain?

The team we developed includes a variety of different people. Its not just surgeons or physicians. We have physical therapists, chiropractors, and dietitians on our team to find out what is causing the condition and then a variety of different ways to treat it. As soon as you start experiencing pain that impacts your lifestyle and your activities, that’s the time to seek out treatment.

Are hip replacements and knee surgery always necessary?

We do surgery, but the first thing we try to do is find the cause. We usually start with modifying your lifestyle - it could be your diet, your exercise routine or any number of different things with your lifestyle. From there we’ll move on to medications, some over-the-counter medications, occasionally we’ll do injections and we always try some sort of therapy programs. We have therapists that work with us to find the right program for you and then occasionally surgery.

How likely is it for someone to truly get back to their activity after knee or hip surgery?

We do try to get people back to their activity as quick as possible, Dr. Bozic states he completed a knee surgery on a patient last week and the patient sent him a video later that same week showing him walking in the park. We don’t recommend running in particular after joint replacement - but we do encourage other activities. The whole goal of what we are doing is to get you back to your lifestyle and your activity. And we try to do that quickly.

For more information about UT Health Austin, the Musculoskeletal Institute and Dr. Bozic call 1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737) or request an appointment here.

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About UT Health Austin

UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you — in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment here.