If you’re a farmer, you may find yourself breathing a sigh of relief around this time of the year. The season of intense physical chores such as haying, plowing and harvesting is nearly over. This may bring a temporary lessening of the intense pain associated with arthritic joints. You may think that pain is just a necessary part of hard work, but your joints can only tolerate so much damage before the problem changes your life. If degenerative joint disease goes untreated, it may eventually rob you of your ability to work, your mobility and your enjoyment of life.
A 2010 study on the relationship between occupation and osteoarthritis (OA) revealed that farmers are statistically more likely to need both hip and knee replacement surgery than the general population. Unfortunately, many farmers suffer far too long before seeking help, and even those who don’t wait may be reluctant to agree to surgery.
A tough and stoic breed, farmers often think that the symptoms they are experiencing are perfectly normal. Some minor aches and pains are to be expected as you age, but if you experience severe, chronic symptoms that prevent you from performing everyday activities or keep you awake at night, these are not typical signs of aging. The thought of surgery and a long recovery is frightening if your family depends on you for income. However, when your financial situation ties into your physical ability to work, restoring your health is a more practical decision than putting it off and making your life harder. Taking time to rehabilitate and recover can mean more productivity in the long run.
Being overweight is often a reason that people don’t seek medical help. The idea that a doctor might scold you for gaining weight or blame your condition solely on your size can be enough to scare any self-conscious surgery candidate away. While a higher body weight often contributes to joint problems, the typical farmer’s lifestyle is even more conducive to joint damage. At the Kennedy Center, we understand that people come in all shapes, sizes and occupations, and we welcome the opportunity to help you live a healthier, more pain-free life. Our supportive doctors and nurses will help you through your hip or knee surgery, treating you with compassion while providing excellent care. You are not alone. Don’t let self-consciousness sabotage your chances of enjoying a fully functional, healthy and pain-free life.
At the Kennedy Center for the Hip and Knee in Wisconsin, orthopedic surgeons have performed total and partial hip and knee replacement, ACL surgery, and many other procedures for more than 25 years. Joint replacement surgery does require some down time, but after a period of recovery, therapeutic exercise and well-deserved rest, you may find that nothing can slow you down.