I was told 5 yrs. ago that I need a hip replacement, I was told by a arthritus doctor that I did not. Which one should I listen to?

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A sports doctor informed me in 1996 that I had arthritus and need a left hip replacement. I have been given medication by this doctor which helps for awhile, and then I go to over the counter products which only help with the pain for a short while. I am very active, working full time in an office, stairs an average of 5 times a day. I also work in my garden from spring to fall. I find that it takes longer to complete projects, infact I'm only good for 3 hrs. at a time, then rest and continue for maybe another hour. I apply heat while resting in the evening which helps me sleep better. I purchased Arthro 2 through the mail and this was a thirty day supply, taking one capsule twice a day.I don't belive that this helped because I really didn't feel any difference.Its possible that I need to take this in longer stages, but I feel I am throwing my money away. I really believe that there is nothing out there to help delay surgery, however I am confused about the different opinons I have received, and of course I don't like to jump on having unnecssary surgery. I understand in all I have read that keeping active is the best way, however, how much pain killers should one rely on, and how healthy is that? I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you.

-- Helen Kinney (KHMVK@AOL.COM), April 30, 2001


I believe that a lot of the information you seek can be found on this web site. The treatment of arthritis depends on the age of the patient, the activity level of the patient, and the degree of arthritis. There are, as you know, many different options for treatment. Each has its own risks and benefits, its own indications, and relative contraindications. It appears, from the information you have given in your letter, that you are still fairly active and, therefore, your degree of disability from your hip arthritis is mild to moderate. I, therefore, agree with you that you would like to postpone surgery for as long as possible. You also have a question about nutritional supplements. One of the problems with nutritional supplements is that they are not regulated in terms of content, purity and bioavailability of the product. If you do not feel you are having relief with the Arthro-2 that you have tried, you might try switching to a different product. One which I have recommended to my patients is Cosamine DS. Cosamine DS is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate and this is produced to a pharmaceutical grade of purity. The company, Nutramax, has submitted its production process to the United States Pharmacopeia and as far as I know, it is the only product which has done so. I must also disclose the Nutramax Corporation has sponsored some research which I have been involved with here at Johns Hopkins. I hope this helps. Please feel free to post another question if you have one.

-- Marc W. Hungerford, M.D. (mhunger@jhmi.edu), August 13, 2001.

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