Almost everyone at some point in their life experiences arthritis pain and symptoms. Every joint in your body is covered with a layer of articular cartilage on each bone that faces one another. This cartilage can be very thin such as in the lower back joints or finger joints – or it can be extremely thick – measuring over 1/4 of an inch in your knee, hip or ankle. When it is normal, this cartilage is totally firm and smooth as glass. Arthritis occurs when this surface cartilage starts cracking and softening, causing chunks of it to break or come loose, eventually wearing away.

There are many things that can be done to help avoid the deterioration that occurs in articular cartilage. There is no question that over the counter glucosamine and chondroitin in adequate doses can be very effective to maintain the health of articular cartilage. Veterinarians were among the first to use this substance very effectively in dogs and horses, with dramatic results.

Another very effective non-operative treatment for arthritis is “viscoelastic supplementation”, otherwise known as “chicken shots”. We know that nourishment for articular cartilage comes from the nutrients that are diffused from the lining of any joint called synovium into this lubricating substance within the joint called hyaluronic acid. This substance then transfers the nutrients directly to the surface cartilage as the joint is used and moved. It is for this reason that movement and exercise are one of the very effective ways at maintaining the health of your surface cartilage. It is now possible to have “booster shots” of this lubricant hyaluronic acid otherwise knows as viscoelastic supplementation in your knee.

Arthritic symptoms become most significant when the surface cartilage is worn through to what is called “bone to bone” arthritis. At that point the symptoms usually escalate dramatically and become much more disabling. In major joints such as hip, knee, shoulder and ankle, the problem can be resolved with joint replacements. Once considered a modern miracle, it is now common to perform replacements for any of these major joints. The determining factor for a joint replacement is the persistence of pain and disability causing significant alteration in your lifestyle

You should know that St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Joint Care Center (JCC) is a leader in the state of Michigan and is a true center of excellence. Our record of safety and quality and extremely low complications cannot be matched by and other hospitals in this area. This excellence is clearly documented by national rating systems that you can access on the Internet.

The most important reason to come to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Joint Care Center is the excellent nursing and physical therapy staff. While all of our orthopedic surgeons are among the best, our nurses and therapists are the most kind compassionate knowledgeable and skillful people you will find anywhere. Most of our patients go out of their way to give high praise for the exceptional care they have received at out Joint Care Center. We will get you back on your feet with less pain – and faster than you can imagine – with the best hospital care anywhere. If you give us a chance, we will not disappoint you.

Bruce T. Henderson, M.D. Oakland Orthopedic Partners

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