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Sports Medicine: Benefits of Working Out in the Winter

Ward off those winter blues. During the winter months, colder weather brings on the winter blues. It’s not uncommon for those snowy or overcast skies to bring about some sort of stress, lack of energy, and gloom. Due to this, people have a tendency to lose motivation and start to become inactive, wanting to instead just lay inside and watch movies all day. However, doing so comes with its downfalls, such as sickness, fatigue, allergies, and seasonal depression, called SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

This tendency to be inactive during the cold winter months is a paramount problem, as days are shorter during the winter. Well, they seem shorter to the mind and body, anyways. This is due to limited sunlight (shorter daytime, longer night), leaving people little motivation to get up and do something active.

Those of us who have trouble becoming active, blame this lack of energy on the early darkness of winter, which leaves us feeling hopeless and disempowered to make a positive change. The unfortunate irony in all this, is that we find it most difficult to exercise during the winter when we actually need it most.  

So, are you tempted to hide under your covers, eat junk food, and hibernate when cold weather hits? It certainly seems like an amazing idea or a good excuse, but exercising in the cold actually has some cool advantages!

Moderate exercise gets the body to release hormones called endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. Exercise is extremely beneficial to our overall health, both mentally and physically. It provides a boost to our mood and health, helps manage stress, helps with cognitive thinking and memory, protects our immune system, and gives us energy. In other words, the benefits of exercise are limitless.

Besides the typical winter sports you might think of, such as downhill skiing or ice skating, there are plenty of healthy activities to draw you out into the winter wonderland. Going for a hike is healthy in any weather, so long as you have the proper attire and gear. Besides downhill skiing, there are activities such as cross-country skiing, and even snowshoe hiking, that are excellent activity options. 

Along with exercise, good nutrition and diet is crucial to also maintain your weight and good health. Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean you need to bulk up on the carbs and fats. Stick with a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. And a big tip – stay hydrated during outdoor winter activities. Since it’s not as hot, people tend to think they are not perspiring, and therefore do not need as much water. You always need to stay hydrated. To motivate yourself, visualize your goal and the finish line, your body will thank you for it in the long run.

To learn more about the benefits of exercise during the wintertime, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Does Your Joint Replacement Have a Warranty?

One of the most common questions patients tend to ask their orthopedic surgeons, is about how long their joint replacement will last. Will it last a certain number of years, or is there a designated warranty that comes with the joint replacement, whether hip, knee, shoulder, etc.?  While you might think this type of question would be easy to answer, your orthopedic surgeon will tell you it’s not that simple.

This question is actually quite complicated to answer for orthopedic surgeons. Everyone’s anatomy is unique and built differently. In the past, surgeons used to say after joint replacement surgery, that a patient’s artificial joints would last about 10 to 15 years. However, with modern materials and updated surgical techniques, current studies and evidence-based research show that approximately 96 percent of today’s modern joint replacements, especially knee replacements, will still be functioning past the 15-year mark.

Your joint replacement does not necessarily have a warranty, per se, as each patient is unique in both their anatomy and their level of physical activity. Sometimes a patient is notified by their surgeon that they will require revision surgery. This means that the patient will need to undergo a second surgery to fix their problem. The failure of a joint replacement can occur for variety of different reasons.  These include infection, trauma, loosening of the implant, degeneration (wearing out), or poor positioning of the original implant.

For patients who are suffering from debilitating chronic pain due to degenerative diseases such as arthritis, people who are candidates for joint replacement often suffer from severe joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, muscle weakness, and limited mobility. Therefore, undergoing joint replacement surgery can help relieve their pain, improve their mobility, and most importantly, improve their quality of life immensely.

With a drastic improvement in surgical techniques, high-quality care and materials, such as metal, ceramic, and plastic, the new artificial joint is attached the bone, allowing the bone to grow into the implant. Physical therapy will be recommended afterwards by your surgeon, as rehabilitation will dramatically increase mobility, help with balance, and decrease the recovery time, giving the patient a higher quality of life in the end.

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we utilize the most advanced surgical methods available today, including minimally invasive procedures whenever possible.

To learn how you can make your joint replacement last, and if you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

The Different Types of Orthopedic Surgeons

The word “orthopedic” itself actually translates as the care of children. The prefix ortho- means straight, and the suffix -peds means child. Put the word together and it means to make a child straight. Therefore, orthopedic surgeons aim to and specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, meaning whatever is compromising the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue. The field of orthopedics contains various areas of specialty, as general orthopedic surgeons are educated and skilled at treating various parts of the body.

In other words, the field of orthopedics is a collaborative team and group effort. It takes a team of trained and highly-skilled surgeons of different specialties to help meet the different needs of people. Whether you suffer from arthritis, an athlete with a sports injury, sprain/strain or broken leg, or a child with scoliosis, there are a variety of orthopedic surgeons that you can choose from to treat your unique needs. The top types of surgeons within the orthopedic field include:

1.     Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons: Believe it or not, orthopedic surgeons treat children. Parents may turn to an orthopedic surgeon if they have concerns over their child’s growth and development. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons deal with scoliosis, broken bones, and a variety of other conditions and injuries affecting the growth plates in a child’s bones. 

2.     Sports Medicine: Athletes and active people often find themselves prone to injuries. Orthopedic surgeons often specialize in sports medicine to help athletes and non-athletes maintain a healthy lifestyle, and treat those with sports-related injuries, helping them recover and rehabilitate, to be able to function and restore mobility, to get back to doing the things that they love in a timely manner.

3.     Trauma Surgeons: When a trauma occurs due to car accidents, violence, and other severe injuries, trauma surgeons work quickly to repair the damage such as broken bones and torn ligaments, in order to prevent long-term damage. These surgeons also help rehabilitate patients from injuries after surgery.

4.     Foot & Ankle: Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating injuries and conditions affecting the lower extremities, more specifically the feet and ankles. Since the ankles and feet have a complex composition of bones, ligaments, joints, etc., a foot and ankle specialist is able to have a more intimate knowledge about the anatomy and treatment of this area. 

To learn more about these types of surgeons and others within the field of orthopedics, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

Hip Replacement vs Hip Resurfacing

We don’t think about how much wear and tear our musculoskeletal system takes on a daily basis, especially our hips. As we age, everyday use wears down the bones and cartilage inside the hip joint. This natural degeneration of the bones and cartilage inside the hip is the cause of one of the most common condition affecting the hip, called osteoarthritis. This is a painful condition that causes severe chronic pain, stiffness in the joint, and limited mobility, which inhibits people from going about their daily tasks and activities. The good news, is that surgical procedures such as hip replacement or resurfacing help man people restore function and mobility, reducing the pain caused by bone on bone friction in the hip.

The hip joint is where the ball of the thigh bone (femur) joins the pelvis at a socket called the acetabulum. There is cartilage covering both the bone of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis in the hip joint. This helps to prevent bone on bone friction, keeping the bones from wearing down. Damage to any of the hip joint components will cause significant chronic pain, discomfort, and dysfunction (limited mobility).

There is a tissue lining surrounding the hip joint, called synovium, which produces fluid, and is responsible for lubricating the joint and providing nutrients to the cartilage of the joint. The hip joint is one the large joints of the body which most importantly enables us to have a wide range of mobility, helping the thigh move forwards and backwards. Without hip cartilage, the bones connecting the joints will rub up against each other, causing painful friction, inflammation, and in some cases, bone deformity.

If you have been suffering with hip pain and reduced function, it’s important to consult with an orthopedic specialist to diagnose the problem. If tests show that surgical intervention is required to treat your case of hip osteoarthritis, there are two solutions: hip resurfacing or hip replacement. Both hip resurfacing and hip replacement procedures involve removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with a prosthetic joint. Hip pain is a hard condition to live with, and if you are an active person especially, not being able to do what you love is a major problem. That’s why Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence stays up to date on the best, most advance surgical options for repairing and replacing degenerative hips. So, what are the differences between hip replacement and hip resurfacing? 

Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a technique which has become widespread in recent years in response to the need for repairing hip joints that have been damaged by injury or arthritis. According to research, last year, approximately 300,000 Americans underwent a total hip replacement to relieve the pain of an arthritic or broken hip joint.

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint is surgically replaced with a prosthetic joint. As mentioned before, the normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The socket is a “cup-shaped” component of the pelvis called the acetabulum. The ball is the head of the thighbone (femur). Hip replacement involves the surgical removal of the diseased and degenerated ball and socket joint, replacing them with an artificial hip implant, where a metal, ceramic, or plastic ball and cup socket is inserted into the femur bone. An additional rod is also used to fuse the joint together. The goal of hip resurfacing is to remove problematic areas and replace them with an artificial joint that will help the hip to work more efficiently than the damaged original.

Typical candidates for hip replacement surgery are patients experiencing hip pain who have not responded well to traditional treatment methods, such as physical therapy or pain medications. As with resurfacing, recovery from this procedure is a bit of a process, depending on the severity of the case, and the person. In most cases, patients remain hospitalized for 4 to 6 days, but usually with the aid of physical therapy, crutches or a walker, patients recovering can start walking again within a few days of the surgery. For patients who are recipients of hip replacements, their artificial hip should last up to 15 years or more, and will most importantly, improve their quality of life by allowing them to go about their lives with minimal pain.

Hip Resurfacing

Anatomically thinking, the end of the leg bone (femur) is a round ball, which fits into a space within the hip bone (socket). During hip resurfacing surgery, the ball joint is covered with a metal prosthesis while preserving the bone. 

In other words, hip resurfacing, unlike hip replacement surgery, is a procedure that only deals with the ball of the hip. During this procedure, the surgeon reshapes the damaged hip ball, which then is capped with a metal prosthesis. The damaged hip socket is also fitted with a metal prosthesis as well.

Hip resurfacing has become popular, and has attracted younger patients, because it has been said that this procedure preserves more bone, and is often considered to be a better solution than a total hip replacement. However, depending on the damage and condition of the joint, hip resurfacing may not be enough needed for repair.

Today, the sockets used during hip replacement surgery, are composed of two main components: a metal socket into which bone grows, and a plastic liner. This is an important distinction because if for some reason the hip fails and more surgery is necessary, the entire socket in a resurfaced hip most likely will need to be removed and replaced with a new one. If hip replacement surgery fails, and more surgery is needed to revise the socket, the hip resurfacing procedure is designed, so that only the plastic liner has to be revised, not the metal shell.

In other words, the fact that hip resurfacing preserves more bone is important, because having more femoral bone available will make the femoral revision easier. Physicians often say to their patients, that it is easier to deal with bone loss on the femoral side than on the socket side.

Recovery after the hip resurfacing procedure takes a bit longer than other minimally invasive surgeries, due to the procedures complex nature. Most patients are able to walk unassisted after two to three weeks. A resurfaced hip joint can last up to 20 years without complications.

To learn more about hip replacement and hip resurfacing, and if you may be a candidate, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

The hip is a major joint. During a total hip replacement, which is typically an invasive procedure, the surgeon removes the top of the femur, or thigh bone, and replaces it with an artificial stem and ball, made of ceramic, metal, or plastic – inserted into the hip socket. 

During traditional hip replacement surgery, surgeons usually have to make a 12-inch incision at the thigh area, cutting through tendons and muscles in order to reach the hip joint. This will not only cause trauma to the area, but can also cause a large amount of blood to be lost, due to the invasive nature of the surgery. Not only that, during a total hip replacement, the hip is usually dislocated beforehand, which by nature causes damages to tissue in the hip, and the surrounding tissues as well.

Today, advances in medical technology has developed in multiple aspects, including: surgical techniques, patient education, patient pre-op preparation, discharge process, the way anesthesia is administered, etc. These advancements include making joint replacement a minimally-invasive procedure with cutting-edge technology such as da Vinci robotics, which has drastically improved patient health, and have led to less hospital readmissions and shorter stays. This also means that patients experience a faster recovery, and may experience a lower risk of complications.

Just like the traditional hip replacements, minimally invasive hip replacement surgery also involves replacing the damaged hip joint with prosthetic parts. However, with the procedure being minimally invasive, the surgeons use smaller incisions, causing less damage to the surrounding muscle and soft tissue. Much like arthroscopic surgery, the orthopedic surgeon is able to utilize the smallest tools and scopes possible to reduce the damage to surrounding tissue.

Other advantages of minimally invasive hip replacement include:

  • A smaller incision or pair of incisions results in a smaller post-surgery scar.
  • Less blood loss during surgery.
  • Less cutting of muscle and tissue during the procedure, resulting in shorter and easier rehabilitation.
  • The procedure may require a hospital stay of only one or two days, and can even be done as an outpatient procedure, allowing the patient to go home to same day.

Despite the many advantages of a minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, not all patients will qualify, depending on the severity of their damaged or diseased joint. Talk to your doctor immediately about your hip pain, in order to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure. Don’t wait, as doing so can cause further complications. Patients who are obese or have existing bone problems such as osteoporosis are not candidates, as excess weight places extreme stress on your joints. The doctor may suggest making healthy lifestyle changes before undergoing the procedure.  Despite its name, minimally invasive surgery is still a complex procedure.

To find out if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Improving Your Peak Performance

Just like any muscle in the body, the human brain can be strong or weak. Therefore, if you want something to improve, you have to train for it to get better. Being able to power through injury, illness, and mental roadblocks can be difficult at times, but ultimately will improve your peak performance. The key is knowing how to do so, as our mind and body are connected.

Chronic pain, stress, mental illness (anxiety and depression), overeating, poor sleep, and sickness due to a weakened immune system, can all be signals from the body that something is out of balance. Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act.

For example, when you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. This is especially true when it comes to your emotional health, or maybe even your overall health. One of the main tenets of psychology states, your mind is connected to your body. In other words, the nature of our mind reflects the state of the body.

Plato stated, “For the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” This ancient philosophy says that our body is made up of symbiotic parts, and if one part is compromised or not working at its optimal level, other factors will be affected, and can negatively impact someone’s overall health. Luckily, our bodies are remarkably resilient, and can heal themselves over time. Even so, there are things you can do to boost your mental and physical health, and to operate at your peak performance.

It is highly encouraged for people to be responsible and mindful of the daily care of their health and lifestyle, whether it be mentally, physically, professionally, or emotionally. To do so, Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence provides resources, and offers a variety of approaches and techniques to empower our patients on how to take responsibility for their overall well-being.

Some important factors include: 

Good Nutrition: Your brain cannot function properly if it does not receive the proper nutrients and fuel that it needs. So, boost your body’s immune system by consuming the nutrients and vitamins it needs to perform at the highest level possible. We can help you find the right dietary mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean meats and fresh fish. 

Exercise: It is time to keep your body active. Not only does it keep you healthy, it helps with keeping your mind clear, and relieves stress and anxiety. Our orthopedic specialists and physical therapists can help you find the best exercise and activity regimen that will keep you on the climb towards your pinnacle of fitness.

Meditation: In order to perform at your best, you have to be in the best frame of mind. Meditation can take your mind to a whole new level, by feeling at peace with your body. As mentioned before, the body and mind are connected. Therefore, meditation removes the negativity and impurities that clog your mind. Keeping your mind clear will help you perform at your best, and may provide some perspective about the best path towards wellness.

To learn more about the best methods for striving for peak performance and overall wellness, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Why Diabetic Patients Need to See their Podiatrist

Taking proper care of your feet is one of the most important precautionary steps people with diabetes can do for their long-term health. That’s why primary care physicians will often recommend patients who have diabetes to visit a podiatrist regularly. If you’re wondering what the correlation between diabetes and foot care is, we can help to understand the connection. 

All diabetic patients should see a podiatrist, as a foot exam by your podiatrist can tell you if you are at risk for complications. In other words, every person with diabetes should pay careful attention to the areas of the body that diabetes can directly affect, including the heart (cardiovascular system), kidneys (renal system), eyes, and most commonly the feet. Therefore, it is recommended that every patient with diabetes have an annual checkup.

As far as the feet are concerned, people with diabetes can have severe, even life-threatening foot problems if left untreated. In other words, individuals with lifelong diabetes are at a higher risk for developing foot pain and discomfort.

The manifestation of foot ulcers and nerve pain is significantly higher among diabetics, greatly increasing their risk of undergoing amputation. This can happen due to the fact that diabetes can cause problems with the circulatory and nervous systems of the body. Essentially, diabetes can cause:

  • Decreased foot blood flow (circulatory problems)
  • Decreased infection fighting capability (weak immune system)
  • Numbness of the feet

According to research, each year more than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated due to complications from diabetes. By including a podiatrist in your diabetes care regimen, you can reduce the risk of amputation by up to 85 percent.

Podiatrists play an integral role in amputation prevention by performing regular foot screenings, for early recognition of diabetes related changes. The earlier any complications are recognized, the better the outcome and treatment will be. During your annual exams, a podiatrist will look for the following diabetes warning signs:

  • Dry cracks in the skin
  • Ingrown and fungal toenails
  • Numbness in the feet or toes
  • Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal
  • Swelling of the foot or ankle
  • Pain in the legs 
  • Skin color changes
  • Bleeding corns and calluses

Regularly visiting a podiatrist can help patients keep their foot conditions in check and maintain healthy sugar levels. A podiatry expert can offer them valuable advice about preventing foot complications by opting for comfortable and well-fitted footwear. These routine appointments also allow them to keep a tab on your foot health and catch symptoms early. With that said, having a podiatrist at your service, will reassure those with diabetes that they are in control of their health.

To learn more about why diabetics need to see their podiatrist on a consistent basis, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis

There are many types of arthritis, but the most common two are Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA). While both types of arthritis carry many similarities, they can be quite different when it comes to the onset of symptoms, causes, and the overall diagnoses.

Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million people in the United States, while 1.3 million people suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis. Such a different ration shows why osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Typically caused by wear and tear, osteoarthritis tends to get worse as we get older. It tends to affect the lining in the cartilage of the joint, making movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.

Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder. This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes. The loss of cartilage also leads to friction where bone is rubbing on bone, altering the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position. While OA typically shows up later in life, it can happen earlier, especially if certain injuries have occurred. 

While similarly affecting the joints, the causes and symptoms of RA are quite different than that of OA. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering of the joint called the synovium is the first place that becomes affected. This can then lead to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape, and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down. Unfortunately, the nature of RA as an immune system disorder means that people with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness, typically on joints like the hip and knee. Pain from OA is typically worse in the morning or after periods of strenuous activity. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include fever, loss of energy, and extreme fatigue. Swelling in smaller joints are common.

Early diagnosis and treatment of both RA and OA is essential to prevent further complications. For osteoarthritis patients, treatment may include exercises to strengthen your muscles, physical therapy, and medication. In cases of severely damaged joints, a joint replacement surgery might be the last resort. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis treatment may include the need for medication and physical therapy to reduce inflammation, and to prevent joint and organ damage. 

If you would like to find out more information about either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050, or request an appointment online.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

The complex anatomy of the hand consists of 27 bones, along with muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. If any of these structures become injured, pain and loss of function can put a damper on almost all activities. In other words, you rely on the use of your hands for almost everything you do on a daily basis. However, when you have constant pain and discomfort in your hands or wrists, these simple tasks become more difficult and uncomfortable. Some conditions, such as trigger finger, are not only painful, but also affect your appearance and function.

Any hand or wrist problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or a tingling sensation, or abnormal shape, that persists for more than two or three days should be evaluated by your orthopedist to establish the cause, and allow treatment as early as possible. Early diagnosis and early treatment generally give the best results.

So, you notice that one day when making a fist, you try to straighten your fingers afterwards, when one catches when attempting to bring it back into a straight position, causing pain. After you go to a doctor to check it out, they diagnose you with a condition called trigger finger, caused by overuse.

Trigger finger, known medically as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain, locking, popping or clicking of the fingers or thumb when the hand is opened or closed. Muscles in your forearm attach to tendons that run all the way down to the bones at the ends of your fingers. These muscles are what help you bend your fingers into a fist. 

The reason why we are able to open and close our hand is due to our tendons being pulled close to the bones of the fingers by pulleys. If these pulleys become too thick, stiff, tight or swollen, commonly due to inflammation, this causes the finger to “trigger” or get stuck when trying to straighten your fingers after being in a fist. Therefore, if the tendon cannot glide freely, trigger finger occurs.

Symptoms of trigger finger can occur differently for people, which is why it is not always easy to identify the cause. In its early stages, trigger finger can cause pain on the palm of your hand, or on the back side of a finger. Trigger finger causes inflammation, creating symptoms of stiffness and swelling. As the muscles and tendons in our fingers give us the ability to move, when someone is diagnosed with trigger finger, there can be a painful snapping sensation when opening and closing the hand. Often one of our fingers can get stuck in a certain position, making it painful and impossible to straighten or bend it.

To learn more about trigger finger and its symptoms, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

The 411 on Gout

Gout is a painful form of arthritis, characterized by inflammation that occurs when uric acid builds up and crystalizes in your joints. Symptoms include painful inflammation, tenderness and redness around the affected joint. Some people experience gout in different joints of the body, such as the knees or elbows, but it most commonly effects the big toe.

If you have high levels of uric acid in your blood, you may have a condition called hyperuricemia. Your liver normally metabolizes uric acid, and the kidneys get rid of it when you go to the bathroom. The levels of uric acid build up when not enough uric acid is eliminated, or too much uric acid is being produced. The purines in our food which increases the uric acid levels in our blood, are known to bring on gout attacks.

The uric acid buildup takes a crystalline form, and often finds a home in the joints. Since our joints need to stay lubricated and run very smoothly, a buildup of crystals will cause inflammation and pain, known as gout. When you are experiencing a gout attack, the affected joint will feel hot, swollen, turn red and will become very sensitive to the touch. The onset of pain during a gout attack will increase for 24-48 hours if left untreated.

Blood and urine tests are always recommended by your doctor in order to measure the level of uric acid in your blood. Taking in fluids dilutes the levels of uric acid, so drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day is ideal for breaking down uric acid levels, and as a result gout pain may decrease.

If you are experiencing gout flare-ups, it could be one of a few reasons and risk factors: males over 40 years old, family members with a history of gout, obesity, aspirin medications, a diet consisting of high purine foods or high-fructose drinks. Heavy drinking also contributes to elevated uric acid levels.

More often than not, gout has to do with our diet and what we are eating. It’s best to stay clear of certain foods when you have high uric acid, have had gout attacks in the past or family members that have had it as well. Certain medications can help control uric acid levels, and your orthopedic doctor can recommend the best treatment option for you.

While gout may seem like something that you can manage, it’s best to get it treated right away before inflammation and pain turn into more serious injury or disease. To learn more about gout and how to avoid it, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.