As we age, wear and tear can affect different parts of our body causing problems with mobility. In particular, I see many patients who are experiencing problems with their hips and knees. In my Sydney based practice, I also see many cases of musculoskeletal injuries resulting from sports injuries.
I employ modern, minimally invasive treatments that are focused on providing long-term results for my patients.
Some of the most common questions asked by my patients include:
Q: When should I visit an Orthopaedic specialist about my hips and knees?
A: It is a good idea to see an Orthopaedic Specialist if –
- Joint or musculoskeletal pain begins after you have experienced an injury
- Experiencing progressive hip or knee pain that is worse with weight bearing
- Joint pain is severe and interfering with function
- Suffering moderate or advanced arthritis of the knee or hip
- Previous treatment for joint pain has been unsuccessful – including the use of anti-inflammatory medication or paracetamol
- Advice from General Practitioner.
Q: Is it unusual to see younger patients with hip and knee problems?
A: While hip and knee joint degeneration tend to occur with age, I also see many younger patients who partake in regular and intense sporting activities.
Q: What are the most common conditions you treat in your practice?
A: While I treat a wide variety of problems, I tend to see a larger concentration of patients requiring hip or knee replacements, arthroscopic shoulder reconstructions as well as knee reconstructions or arthroscopies.
Q: Can you explain some of the recent advancements in hip, knee and joint surgery?
A: Surgery is an exciting field to work in and is at the forefront of modern medicine. As an Orthopaedic Surgeon, I appreciate the synergy between engineering and design including robotics and materials. I have a particular interest in computer-assisted navigation to improve the surgical performance and clinical outcome of knee replacement surgery.
Q: Before considering surgery for hip, knee or shoulder conditions, what can someone do to try to alleviate pain?
A: Surgery often be seen as a last resort treatment option. Before going down this path, a patient can try over the counter medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, have a cortisone-type shot or a joint-lubricating fluid injected into the affected area. In some cases, weight loss may be an option or activity modification and sometimes, the use of a cane or a brace can help. Physiotherapy, water therapies, Yoga or Pilates can also be trialed to alleviate discomfort.
Q: What is considered to be a usual recovery time for a patient who undergoes surgery?
A: Recovery will depend on the type of procedure required. Where it is an appropriate option, I will always opt to use keyhole procedures as this tends to result in great outcomes for the patient with minimal down time. Generally, this procedure will require a day surgery and the patient will require two weeks for the wounds to heal, and depending on your circumstances, a return to work or general activities in anywhere from 14 days to 6 weeks is usual.
More complex procedures (hip or knee replacements) will require patients to stay in hospital for five to seven days after surgery and meet physiotherapy requirements before going home. The wounds will require about two weeks for the wound to heal. By six to twelve weeks post operation, most patients will commence normal daily activities. Patients will be given a physiotherapy and exercise routine to aid in recovery.
Q: What is the best advice you can give a patient?
A: Maintain as much mobility as possible – look for exercise options that you enjoy and fit into your lifestyle. Equally as important, is maintaining a healthy weight to avoid putting excess pressure on your joints. If a surgical option is your best chance to improve your quality of life then understand what will happen. Ask questions of your surgeon so that you are comfortable with the process and follow up care – know how the surgery will impact you and be prepared.
Q: Are there particular sports or exercises that a person should avoid if they have knee, hip or joint pain?
A: As with most things in life, it is important to listen to your body. If a particular exercise results in the patient experiencing pain – they should stop and determine that they are using correct posture and body placement. Generally most people should be able to partake in walking, cycling and swimming without pain. These are always good “go to” options. It may be best to avoid jarring and high impact forms of exercise if you are experiencing localised pain – again, yoga and pilates are a great way to keep moving.
Dr. Sunner cares about each patient’s individual needs and will work with you to ensure you heal properly. As a skilled orthopaedic surgeon, he specialises in the following areas for patients of Sydney:
- Sports Medicine