Have you ever wondered more about your orthopaedic surgeon and what led them to their life in medicine? Get a behind-the-scenes look into a day in the life of Rothman Institute orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Danielle Ponzio as she answers some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding joint pain and injuries.
Dr. Ponzio is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with specialized training in hip and knee joint replacement and complex revision joint replacement. She provides guidance through options of nonsurgical and surgical care for musculoskeletal conditions affecting the hip or knee.
At what age do people start noticing pain in their joints?
The majority of my patients are over the age of 50. The average age for hip or knee replacement is 65 years. However, my youngest patient with joint replacement is only in her 20s, and that was done for a unique condition called avascular necrosis after a traumatic injury.
My oldest patient with joint replacement is over 100 years old, which was done in the setting of a broken hip. Reasons for joint replacement may include degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, hip dysplasia, infection, and fracture.
What can we do to keep our joints healthy as we age?
The best way to keep our joints healthy is by maintaining good overall health. A well-balanced diet and consistent exercise are critically important, in particular. These things will help to maintain a healthy body weight, which lessens the forces across our hips and knees.
Exercise will also serve to condition the muscles around the joints and avoid stiffness. Research has shown that those who exercise routinely experience less joint pain than those who are sedentary. If you aren’t sure what the best next steps are for your joint health, make an appointment for an evaluation.
What are the main signs to see a doctor for joint pain?
Most typically, people experience pain with activities like walking, stairs, rising from a seated position, and certainly more intense physical activities can be limited as well. You may also notice swelling and stiffness in your joint, which can limit your range of motion and make basic activities like putting on shoes and socks difficult.
If I have a joint replacement, do I need to have it checked?
It’s advisable to have a routine evaluation of your joint replacement by an orthopaedic surgeon every two years or so. If you experience pain with your joint replacement, make an appointment to make sure that all is well.
What led you to specialize in joint pain?
The hip and knee joints are so important to a patient’s independence and ability to move. As an avid athlete and former collegiate rower, I am committed to getting my patients back to their active lifestyles. This can include options of nonsurgical and surgical care for conditions affecting the hip or knee. The most exciting part of being a joint replacement surgeon is being able to change a patient’s life by giving them their mobility back.
Dr. Ponzio strives to provide each individual patient with highly personalized care. If you’re suffering from joint pain, visit our website to schedule an appointment.