According to The Arthritis Foundation, degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans.
OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe. It happens when the cartilage covering the end of the bone breaks down, which can cause swelling, pain, and problems with movement.
Gerald Stroter (age 58) was an X-Ray Technician who sought help from Dr. Ednark Sheikh, now the co-director of pain management at Hudson Regional Hospital, for knee pain that was sidelining him from enjoying athletic activities like running 5K’s and Half marathons with his wife.
Dr. Sheikh diagnosed him with degenerative joint disease in his knees known as hisosteoarthritism, but Mr. Stroter was adamant about managing his pain through a non-surgical solution.
The first modality that Dr. Sheikh recommended, steroid injections to decrease inflammation, worked well for several months, but the pain and inflammation came back later that year, and Aleve and Vicodin were no longer working.
Next up was what Gerald warmly refers to as ‘chicken juice,’ a procedure called Hyaluronic acid injections, a series of five injections of artificial lubricant performed one week apart called which helped him gain mobility back in his knees.
“It’s a misconception that surgery is the only option to treat degenerative arthritis,” said Dr. Ednark Sheikh. “Gerald is one of many examples of people who can get back to their original level of pain-free activity with newer, less invasive practices.”
Gerald is now back to his old lifestyle. In fact, we didn’t keep Gerald on the phone too long because he was in the middle of a hike in St. Croix (he moved there earlier this year). We spoke just long enough to hear that he’s pain- and med-free, and enjoying a lifestyle that includes walking or running five miles every day with his wife.