Accepting Arthritis

All too often a diagnosis of arthritis is offered up for non-specific pain, especially with regards to the lower limb.  Sometimes even when the diagnosis is correct it is viewed as non-resolvable and to be accepted without treatment other than non-steroidal antinflammatories.  As medical/clinical specialists it is often easy to allow factors like age, weight, general health, trauma or limited mobility, cloud our judgement or limit our diagnostic capabilities.

This show addresses the necessity for all of us, myself included, to question the appropriateness of such diagnoses and if correct, the need to investigate the underlying cause.  Very often it is possible to find ways to minimize and even eliminate the causitive forces, thus increasing mobility, comfort and prolonging the functional life span of joint in question.

In our field of practice the way an individual walks will often increase or acclerate the destruction of a joint. Alternatively the pain associated with that joint may be influencing their gait. In discovering which is these is the actual case for each individual, we assess all the diagnostic information and then most importantly then review video images of the patient walking.

Several years ago I found myself in just such a situation with regards to the destruction of my right knee joint.  Due to an inherited structural misalignment, the cartilage was all but eroded away.  Having had a couple of orthopaedic consultations and surgical interventions I was presented with the prospect of awaiting an eventual knee replacement in the not so distant future and told to cutail my passion for watersports and snowboarding.  Fortunately, an encounter with an enlightened orthopaedic surgeon witha  good understanding of structure and function, resulted in a Tibial Osteotomy, and changes to my functional orthotics.  Thanks to Dr. Giffin of the Fowler Kennedy Institute, in London, Ontario, I just bid farewell to another  fantastic painfree kiteboarding season, and now pray for snow in Southern Ontario, so I can hit the slopes with my sons in the coming days.