Orthopedic Cases on the Rise

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"I was to the point where I could hardly do anything."

58-year-old Audrey Starr winces slightly in pain as her physical therapist gently bends her right knee. On Wednesday she had total knee replacement surgery after five years of being practically homebound.

"I could be up and be around for maybe half a day, or even down to half an hour, before it started hurting so bad you couldn't stand to walk on it."

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than eight million people were hospitalized in 2003 with bone or joint injuries, many of which were “Baby Boomers."

"Because they are older, their tendons, ligaments, and bones perhaps are not as healthy as they were when they were twenty."

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Flood says the "Baby Boomer" generation is also more active, leading to neck, back, knee, ankle, and shoulder problems.

"Golfers, they'll go out, instead of golfing eighteen holes, they'll golf thiry-six. And then they call me up on Monday saying, my back hurts. Well it's because you golfed so much."

But there are ways to prevent injuries before it leads to surgery.

"You don't want to have the entire winter off and then go out first game of spring and go gangbusters."

As for Audrey, she'll take it slow, walking step by step through the recovery process.

Ingham Regional Medical Center is hosting Erase the Pain: Neck and Back Seminar. The free event is being held on Wednesday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ingham Regional Orthopedic Hospital, 2727 S. Pennsylvania Avenue. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register call 1-800-481-4080.