When joint pain keeps you from doing what you love

Living on the peninsula provides the opportunity to lead an active lifestyle—fair weather, trails for walking, biking or running, concerts at the fort or on the dock, and other community events provide an easy excuse to get out and about.

Living with chronic joint pain in the knees or hips can make these activities or even daily activities painful and stressful.  Some find relief with over the counter medications, intermittent injections or some just power through the pain.  Joint replacement surgery can be an effective solution to relieve pain and restore function to the joint for those suffering from pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or when an injury has caused damage to the joint.

Drs. Edward Eissmann and Paul Naumann have created an exceptional orthopedic program and partner with Jefferson Healthcare Rehabilitation Services, and Imaging and Radiology to provide comprehensive care.  They routinely perform total joint replacement surgeries for knees and hips.  Most patients experience a dramatic decrease in pain and increase their mobility within weeks of surgery, with recovery and rehab close to home.

Dave Logue, a lifelong resident of Port Townsend, knew the discomfort only too well.  An avid jogger and biker and his days spent standing on concrete while at work, his knee joints were taking a beating.  He relied on over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation but eventually he couldn’t get rid of the pain.  Dave was no longer able to do what he enjoyed doing, he came home from work every day exhausted from his knee pain.

Dave came to Jefferson Healthcare in early 2018 because of the convenience of care close to home.  When he met Dr. Naumann he knew instantly he was getting more than convenience, he was receiving excellent care.  His care team coordinator made the whole process easy, assisted with ancillary appointments prior to surgery and connected him to rehabilitation after surgery.  “They were so thorough with the pre-op plans, I was able to just put it in their hands. I told them all I wanted was to walk again without pain and get back to riding my bike. I just didn’t want the discomfort, and they did it!  They gave me my life back.”

Joint replacement is an important decision and there are key things patients can do before surgery which can either enhance recovery or even delay surgery.  Balance is a major factor to joint health and mobility as an individual ages.  Tai Chi Quan is a simplified eight form format of Tai Chi exercise; proven to improve hip and knee strength, function and can even decrease fall risk by 55% after only 12 weeks.

Arthritis is common and one third of all adults will develop some form of joint pain caused by arthritis.  The high proportions of adults with arthritis comes from two significant trends; an aging population and the increase of obesity in America.

Joint pain from arthritis can be treated in several ways, beginning with non-invasive methods which include over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation, bracing for knees, physical therapy and exercise, weight control and assisted walking devices like a cane or walker.  Other treatment methods include injections into the joint such as steroids, platelet rich plasma, or viscosupplementation. The most invasive treatment method is of course surgery.

Surgical methods for joint pain have become highly advanced.  Drs. Eissmann and Naumann use patient specific instrumentation to assist with surgery.  “The patient specific instrumentation ensures proper placement and angle of the joint, minimizing blood loss and speeding recovery for our patients,” explains Dr. Naumann.  Longevity of total joint replacement depends on many factors including patient age, weight and activity level.  Patients have a 95% chance of having their joint replacement last 15-20 years.

Dave Logue started his eight week rehabilitation program at Jefferson Healthcare within days of his total knee replacement surgery.  His physical therapist, Stephen, worked with him to understand his recovery goals and was there to motivate and encourage him throughout his journey.  “Stephen worked my tail off, but he knew I wanted to be and feel as good as I possibly could.”  Six months later, with full mobility and little evidence of a scar at the surgical site Dave is back to doing what he loves. He’s biking, working in his yard, back to work and “excited to have his life back.”

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