Bones and joints

Curcumin for arthritis: Does it really work?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could a naturally-occurring substance derived from a common spice provide relief from osteoarthritis of the knee? A new study suggests curcumin might help, but the research has some important limitations.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A new treatment for knee arthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A TV ad for a procedure to treat arthritis of the knee claims that relief lasts for up to a year, but not much research has been done on its effectiveness. Studies are small and show little to support the claim.

Chronic Lyme arthritis: A mystery solved?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

About 60% of people infected with Lyme disease develop arthritis, and about 10% of those fail to respond to antibiotic treatment for unknown reasons. A new study has found a likely explanation for this medical mystery.

A new therapy for osteoporosis: Romosozumab

Osteoporosis affects 10 million people in the United States, the majority of them women. Romosozumab is a new type of medication for treating osteoporosis that offers another treatment option for some women after menopause.

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?