Back in the day, Arthritic Arthur could run circles around his competitors on the basketball court. In fact, up until a few years ago, his hoop game was still very strong. However, recently Arthur has not been shooting hoops like he used to. Years of the wear and tear that basketball takes on your joints has finally caught up with Arthritic Arthur, and he came to the realization that he could no longer take the stiffness, pain, and swelling in his hand. So years after leaving the court, Arthritic Arthur decided to make an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas to see what could be done.
“So, Arthur, tell me what’s going on with your hand,” the doctor at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas prompted. “I’ve played basketball all my life, but within the past few years, my hand has become really swollen, and I’ve had so much pain and stiffness that they prevent me from being able to shoot,” Arthritic Arthur explained to the doctor.
After hearing Arthritic Arthur’s symptoms, knowing that he played professional basketball, and how the symptoms were affecting his ability to play his favorite game, which was a daily activity for him, the doctor decided to do a physical exam to test the mobility of the joints in his hand. While performing the exam, the doctor noticed the limited range of motion of Arthritic Arthur’s hand, so he decided that Arthritic Arthur needed an x-ray to solidify his diagnosis.
Once the doctor read the x-ray, he determined that the film showed damage, which confirmed his diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the hand. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, that mostly damages cartilage from the wear and tear that occurs over time. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, which allows bones to glide over each other. But for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, which causes the bones under the cartilage to rub against each other. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.
“Wow. Well, since I have played basketball all my life, it makes sense that I could develop something like this. Now, what can we do about it?” Arthritic Arthur asked the doctor. “Well, since your joints are so severely damaged from your years as a basketball player, we can perform a surgery to repair and replace the affected joints in your hand,” the doctor said.
“Surgery? I wasn’t really prepared for that. Can you explain the surgery a bit more?” Arthritic Arthur asked. “Joint replacement surgery involves replacing the destroyed joint with an artificial joint. In the case of joint replacement in the hand, the new joint is most commonly made up of silicone rubber or the patient’s own tissues, such as a portion of the tendon,” the doctor explained.
While surgery terrified Arthritic Arthur, he realized since his condition was so severe, this was really the only option for him to find relief for his pain, and for him to potentially play basketball again.
Arthritic Arthur was able to schedule his joint replacement surgery for his hand at one of the Hand Care Centers. Following the healing time after the procedure, the doctor instructed Arthur that he would also need to complete a few weeks of physical therapy to restore the motion and strengthen in his hand. But now, after having hung up his professional sneakers a few years ago, Arthur is enjoying his retirement doing what he loves most, playing basketball.
Are you suffering from similar symptoms to Arthur? Make an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas today, and get your hands off the bench!