Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

A couple of weeks ago, I had arthroscopic knee surgery because of a fall more than a dozen years ago. It was partially exploratory to determine the next step as well as to “clean it up.” The next two weeks will determine my options, but total knee replacement is not necessary.

In order to go through this surgery, I had to get a second opinion and while the second doctor determined that surgery is necessary, it was his opinion that a total knee replacement should be considered “just in case” I might need one down the road. On the other hand, my world-renowned knee specialist said you never replace anything that’s in good condition and basically, other than my knee cap, my knee is in very good condition. But the most important lesson in this is to prevent falls in the first place and to prevent arthritis from creeping in.

Fitness expert Sonia Gow, in a previous post, shared her expertise about why people fall. She mentioned that falls are not a normal part of aging.

Did you know that falls are a leading cause of hospital admissions for people over 65? For those over 65, one in three will experience a fall each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 to 30 percent of the falls result in injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas with hospital bills averaging nearly $18,000 per patient.

According to Mary Tinetti, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, the more chronic health conditions you have, the more likely you are to suffer a fall.

  • Diabetes can worsen vision and desensitize nerves in the feet.
  • Depression can increase risk of falling.
  • Many medications cause dizziness and affect balance, especially sleep aids.

Other diseases causing a higher rate of falls include:

  • Circulatory disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Arthritis

Yoga and tai chi which has slow, rhythmic movements can help you with your balance. Don’t forget to strengthen your arms too since you can use them to steady yourself. Find a personal trainer or borrow/buy a DVD to help you.

Fitness: Strong Quadriceps

Clip Art Graphic of a Red Guy CharacterOne of the exercises I was taught by my physical therapist was a quadriceps (quads) muscle strengthener. With my feet about 1.5 feet from the wall, I put a small ball (16″) between my knees and I slide down the wall until I am almost in a seated position, making sure that my knees do not go over my toes. I then hold for a few seconds while squeezing the ball between my knees, then slowly slide back up. You don’t necessarily need a ball for this exercise, but it gives my knees greater support.

According to Prevention (11/2008), lower body strength translates into good balance, flexibility, and endurance. As you get older, those are the key attributes to reducing your risk of falls and injuries, particularly hip fractures, which often quickly lead to declining health. They state that up to 20% of hip fracture patients die within one year because of complications from the trauma. I know I would not want to be part of that statistic.

According to Robert N. Butler, MD, president of the International Longevity Center-USA, “Having weak thigh muscles is the number one predictor of frailty in old age.” What a great piece of information to know. I believe most of us want to remain independent until we depart this life.

For quicker recovery from sore muscles and joint support, consider a regimen of glucosamine/chondroitan. There are many over-the-counter brands, some with an additional ingredient, MSM, which some believe helps pain and inflammation. As in all dietary supplements, know your source and remember, this is not medication. Do not expect instant results. Your body needs time to absorb over a period ot time. Here is one to check out which I take called Naturflex. Here’s to strong quads!

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Fitness Required

six-flagsLast month I was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas and spent a wonderful day at Six Flags over Texas. I enjoy the shows at theme parks so I was hoping to attend some. Also, it has been several years since I’ve been to a theme park, so I thought it would be fun and good walking exercise. Unfortunately, they were only open for the week of spring break in Texas and there were just a couple of outdoor live shows.

In walking the park, I made several observations about the senior population.

1. You need to be in good shape, specifically you need to be able to walk, sometimes up small hills.

2. You need to be able to afford it. Admission is costly although I found admission at the children’s rate on the Internet. Food is over-priced. A bottle of water is $3.50.

3. Many members of the senior population and their families are overweight, including children. That makes mobility difficult for them.

4. Considering the cost and the expansiveness of the park, you’d want to spend the day there, not just a couple of hours. Stamina is critical.

5. You can save on the cost of parking by staying at a hotel in the Arlington Entertainment District and taking the Hotel Guest Trolley. However, that too, requires walking a distance from the trolley stop to the entrance.

Summer is just around the corner … are you a senior who is ready to enjoy the outdoors? By now I know you’re no longer a couch potato and at the very least, you’re walking. Are you trying to lose weight? Have you heard of a weight loss system that includes eating delicious cookies? Check it out here.