Arthrosis is not only a disease typical of old age: it often affects young people too, and among males it is the athletes who are affected by it. Arthroscopic minimally invasive surgery helps to avoid, or at least delay, the use of prostheses. Surgeons from all over the world have made the point in Humanitas. Here are the 7 tips to ward off the risk of arthrosis.
Arthrosis is the most widespread chronic disease among the over-75s in our country, affecting women in particular (about 60% compared to 40% for men). In the case of the hip, in particular, arthrosis leads to a degeneration of the cartilage of the coxo-femoral joint; the cavity intended to accommodate the head of the femur, with disabling consequences such as pain and difficulty in movement. The result is intense pain in the groin that radiates to the knee and hip, sometimes even to the buttocks. If not treated early, this pain can lead to joint wear and make it necessary to have prostheses to replace the joint at a young age.
Hip arthrosis also affects young people, pay attention to cartilage
Until a few years ago, hip arthrosis was considered a typical pathology of the third age. In fact, according to the Riap (Italian Register of Arthroplasty), more than 90,000 people with arthrosis have hip replacement surgery. Among these there are also young people, mainly forty-year-old males and athletes. It seems in fact that an excessive and intense prolonged sporting activity can be a risk factor for an early wear of the cartilage, an elastic but very resistant membrane that favors every joint movement and the result is the rubbing of the bones that make up the joint with consequent pain typical of hip arthrosis.
“Today the goal of the specialists – explains Grappiolo – is to find the most suitable solutions for each individual patient, taking into account the age and the gravity of the situation. In general, for the treatment of degenerative diseases of the elderly, in good health, the best solution is the prosthesis, which provides efficiency for an adequate number of years. In young patients, on the other hand, alternative treatments, such as conservative surgery, should be considered whenever possible. The latter can be performed as a traditional open surgery or with a minimally invasive arthroscopy technique, choosing the most suitable therapy on the basis of a diagnostic algorithm”.
Cutting-edge interventions to prevent hip replacement at a young age
Hip arthroscopy is an innovative intervention technique that allows correcting, in a minimally invasive way, the causes of hip pain such as the conflict between the femur and the acetabulum that leads to the destruction of the cartilage. “The intervention – explains Grappiolo – foresees 3 small holes of about 5 millimeters each for the access to a tiny video-probe that allows the global vision of the joint. In this way, the surgeon is able to assess both the cause of the pain visually and to intervene to resolve it.
A correct and precise diagnosis is fundamental before the operation: at Humanitas we have high-definition arthroresonance, an essential diagnostic test to plan an adequate correction and predict the result of the operation.
The recovery time after the surgery in arthroscopy is about 2 months, and after 3-6 months you can fully resume the competitive activity, which would not be recommended in case of replacement of the hip with prosthesis. The benefits for the patient are important. First of all, the mini-invasiveness of the operation, which involves minimal scars – only three small holes on the skin for the insertion of the video probe – and reduced recovery times and a return to normal daily activities, because the muscles and tissues are not cut during the operation. In addition, pain can already be resolved by arthroscopy and without further intervention. Finally, rehabilitation is provided only in some cases, upon the instructions of the surgeon.
7 tips to avoid the risk of arthrosis:
- Avoid overweight: If the joints are affected by excess weight, they will progressively degenerate, resulting in osteoarthritis.
- Moderate physical activity: If the joints are over-stressed by intense sports activity, they will wear out, especially in the case of hip deformities.
- Avoid damage to the joints: after 40 years, football, soccer, rugby, running, even jogging, and tennis if practiced frequently, are the sports that tend to damage the joints more than others because they require repetitive and prolonged movements over time.
- Choose the right sport: swimming, cycling, golf, hiking in the mountains, Pilates and yoga are the sports that keep your joints healthy; also the exercise bike and the treadmill can help you keep in shape during the winter.
- Avoid sedentariness: inactivity leads to stiffening of the joint, resulting in pain in movement.
- Healthy eating: A healthy diet rich in vitamins, especially A, C, K, B12, omega3, and low in animal protein is ideal for keeping your joints healthy as well as reducing the risk of overweight.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol, coffee and salt: this triad reduces the absorption of calcium and promotes the descaling of long bones with increased risk of osteoporosis, arthrosis and fractures.