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Arthritis and the Weekend Warrior

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
DAVID MARKS, MD: Welcome to our webcast. I'm Dr. David Marks. Arthritis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition. This disease of the joints affects 43 million Americans, and that number will only increase as the population ages. What is Arthritis, and who is at risk?

Joining us to explore these questions is Dr. Allan Gibofsky. He's Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Cornell, and a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Welcome.

And next to him is Dr. Stephen Smiles, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU. Thanks for being here.

DAVID MARKS, MD: What about the weekend warrior out there? The 45-year-old guy who is going out and playing basketball on the weekends and hurts his knee. You hear people say all the time, "I know I'm going to end up with arthritis in this knee eventually." Is that something that they should be concerned about or look for to stem the development of arthritis?

STEPHEN SMILES, MD: I think the weekend warrior who goes out and has an acute injury should either be seen by a rheumatologist or an orthopedist. I think there are a number of injuries that could be dealt with quicker, so that if they need an intervention like a surgical procedure that they can have done for a torn cartilage or platelet, it could be a lot simpler, rather than taking pain killers, working through it and pushing on.

ALLAN GIBOFSKY, MD: Often, the weekend warrior really needs education. If the weekend warrior came in after the first episode, well then perhaps we could educate them on how to prevent the second. Only too often the weekend warrior comes in after the tenth episode, by which time there is chronic damage to the structures of the joint that he or she is complaining about. By then, the ante is up a little bit from where it could have been had we gotten involved earlier.

DAVID MARKS, MD: What are the three most common symptoms that a person should look for in arthritis?

STEPHEN SMILES, MD: The three most common symptoms would be pain in or around a joint, swelling in or around a joint, heat and redness in or around a joint.

DAVID MARKS, MD: Good. Well thank you very much, and thank you for joining our webcast. I'm Dr. David Marks. Goodbye.

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