Addressing Arthritis as a Chronic Disease

Alexandra Page, MD

How do you counsel a 15-year-old girl who has had an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction about osteoarthritis (OA)? What do you say about OA to the 45-year-old weekend athlete who, during a routine follow-up visit after rotator cuff repair, incidentally mentions feeling a sporadic knee ache? What do you tell the 30-year-old laborer who has a fracture affecting a joint or his 50-year-old foreman whose knees hurt all day?

For too many orthopaedic patients, risk counseling and prevention of OA isn’t adequately addressed. In most primary care settings, due to other pressing health issues and/or lack of provider exposure or training, joint pain is often minimized or not asked about.

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