Q:  I have severe arthritis, and my doctor is recommending that I have my left hip replaced to help alleviate my pain and get me more mobile. But I’m scared about the prospect of a large incision and long recovery. Are there any other options?

A:  Yes! Forsyth Medical Center has a new procedure for hip replacement that allows surgeons to make a smaller incision and avoid involving muscles important to hip function. This new procedure, called the Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement, is less invasive and has a quicker recovery time than traditional hip replacement surgeries. While patients who undergo traditional hip replacements often have to limit their movements for months following surgery, patients whose hips are replaced using the anterior approach are immediately allowed to bend their hip freely and face far fewer activity restrictions. This new surgical approach also means that patients typically have a much shorter hospital stay and recover in two to six weeks, compared to the 12 weeks of recovery often experienced by traditional hip replacement patients. And because the incision is only 3 to 5 inches long, patients heal much more quickly and experience significantly less post-operative pain.

Q:  My grandmother suffered from terrible osteoporosis. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

A:  Osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones, is often thought to affect older women, but both men and women – of any age – are at risk. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence is the best defense against osteoporosis, but there are still ways that older adults can protect themselves. By combining a calcium- and vitamin D-rich diet with weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises, you can help build or maintain bone mass and ward off osteoporosis. Also be sure to ask your doctor about bone density screenings. This quick and painless test measures the strength of your bones and can help determine your risk for osteoporosis.

Q:My parents are in their 80s and still live on their own. However, I worry about their health, especially what would happen should one of them fall. Do you have any advice for how I can help safeguard their home?

A:  It is much easier to prevent an accident than to fix the damage that may result from a fall. However, most serious falls occur in and around the home, and the results can be life changing. By taking some very simple precautions, you can help make your parents’ home safe for years to come. Some key areas you should check are:

•  Stairways – Make sure steps are in good shape and handrails are securely fastened to the wall

•  Floors – Secure area rugs with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape

•  Bathroom – Install grab bars at the toilet, bath and shower walls; place non-slip strips in the bathtub; secure bathmats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape

•  Kitchen – Put frequently used items within easy reach

•  Lighting – Buy nightlights for hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways

•  Cords – Reroute phone and electrical cords so they don’t extend across walkways

Q:  I’m an avid tennis player, and I recently turned my knee while on the court. My family physician recommended that I work on strengthening my legs to avoid further injury. What types of exercises are appropriate?

A:  It’s great that you checked with your physician about your injury, because minor pains can often lead to major problems. The sports medicine program at Forsyth Regional Orthopaedic Center offers specialized care for athletes of all ages. Whether you’re a recreational sports enthusiast or professional athlete, our physicians and physical therapists specialize in musculoskeletal exercise and sports-related conditioning that can help you regain strength and achieve your highest level function. To protect your knees, it’s important to strengthen the major muscle groups surrounding the knee: the hamstrings, located in the back of the thigh, and the quadriceps, located in the front. Some great weightlifting exercises to try include squats, deadlifts, leg extensions and leg curls. Be sure to start out slowly, though, and alternate weightlifting with low-impact aerobics, such as walking, biking, or swimming.