Bones and joints

Simplify your workout with lap swimming

Lap swimming is a very effective workout: aerobics, strengthening, and stretching in one activity. Make sure you’re reasonably healthy before diving in, but even if you’re not, or if you don’t know how to swim, aquatic exercises are beneficial, too.

Big problems for big toe joints

Shoes with a tight toe box or too-high heels can contribute to big toe joint problems like bunions and osteoarthritis. Surgery may be needed, or simple steps could help ease pain and keep you moving.

Is obesity a reason to avoid joint replacement surgery?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Overweight people are often turned down for joint replacement surgery, or told to lose a lot of weight first. But a new study found that having obesity should not be a deterrent to having joint surgery.

Why the wheelchair? Could it be gout?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Though only a small percentage of the population has gout, that number is on the rise. While dietary choices have long been believed to be a major cause of gout, a new study found that genetic factors matter much more.

How long does a joint replacement last?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A person considering a knee or hip replacement needs to weigh how long the new joint will last as part of the decision-making process. Analyses of hundreds of thousands of hip and knee replacements show encouraging results for those facing this decision.

Does weather affect arthritis pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The question of whether there is a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively, and so far researchers have been unable to establish a connection. So why do plenty of people insist that they can “feel” the weather?

Surgeons are doing fewer knee surgeries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Arthroscopic surgery is very effective for certain knee conditions but less so for others. That didn’t stop orthopedists from recommending them, but based on data from Florida this may be changing.

Navigating back pain treatments: Can a physiatrist help?

Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point, but if the pain does not subside within a few weeks of standard treatment, or if chronic pain is an ongoing issue, a physiatrist may be able to provide relief or advise what next steps to take.

How long will my hip or knee replacement last?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Anyone who needs a knee or hip replacement wants to know if it will be permanent, or if the replacement will need to be replaced at some point. While this is impossible to predict, and many factors affect longevity of replacement joints, data from past surgeries can help give some idea of what a person can expect.

Knuckle cracking: Annoying and harmful, or just annoying?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some people do it regularly, while others can’t stand the idea or sound of it, but either way, there is no evidence that knuckle cracking is harmful to your joints, or increases your chances of arthritis.