Joint Pain Treatment for Boomers & Seniors

Heekin Clinic’s Goal: Provide pain-free mobility with the very best joint replacement surgery

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Imagine you can no longer walk your dog or even walk to the mailbox. Imagine no longer being able to play your favorite sport or even get up and out of a chair without difficulty.

This is a reality for many of those over 50 with arthritis or other degenerative conditions. “Mobility is not only important to the enjoyment of life, but to overall health, as well,” said Dr. David Heekin, M.D., F.A.C.S. “Without sufficient mobility, a person’s cardiovascular health can suffer, so it’s important to stay in shape. When you can’t do the things you love, it affects every aspect of your life. The mission of our practice is to provide a one-on-one relationship and to return our patients to their previous level of activity.”

As a total joint replacement specialist, founder of the Heekin Clinic and medical director of St. Vincent’s Orthopedic Center of Excellence, Heekin has performed more joint replacement surgeries than any other surgeon in Florida, making him one of the most experienced and sought-after joint replacement surgeons in the country. “Joint replacement can be life-changing,” he said. “When you are pain-free and have your mobility restored, you can return to the activities you love. And, now, with new surgical methods and prosthetics, a greater number of arthritic joints can be replaced than ever before. Our duty as stewards of healthcare is to provide the very best possible knee and hip replacements.”

Heekin pointed out that, in the past, it was thought that replacement surgery should not be done until overweight or obese patients lost weight. “But being overweight can be caused by a lack of mobility,” he said. “When it is painful to exercise, it can be difficult to lose weight, because it is very hard to lose weight by diet alone. So, I say, “Let’s do the surgery so you can get active and lose weight.” I tell patients that, as part of their recovery, I want them to get out and walk each night after dinner,” Heekin said. “I get the family involved, too, because obesity is a disease that often runs in families. So, when I ask family members to help the patient recover by walking with them, then exercise becomes a family activity, which can lead to healthier lives for every family member.”

Heekin’s military background also gives him an extra advantage in understanding the concerns of his patients. He served as both chief of residency and chief of replacement surgery at Walter Reed Hospital, where his patients were typically older, retired veterans. “I learned early on to relate to people who were dealing with joint pain and have built on that knowledge through the years.,” he said. “Three years ago, I had my own knee replaced, so I can completely understand and sympathize with what patients are going through.”

With the knowledge that today’s seniors and baby boomers are working longer and staying involved in sports longer, Heekin feels he has an obligation not only to give his patients the best replacement possible but also to work around their schedules and return them to their favorite activities as quickly as possible.

Heekin Clinic is located at 2 Shircliff Way #605, Jacksonville, FL 32204 and can be reached at 904-328-5979.

How Do You Know When It’s Time for Joint Replacement?

An ailing knee or a hip can make life miserable. Even if your doctor recommends replacement surgery, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits before deciding to go forward with this major surgery. Significant rehabilitation and a commitment on your part to follow doctor and therapist directions is key to get back on your feet.

The most important factor in choosing to have a knee or hip replaced is how much it hurts and how much it is affecting your life. Consider the following to help in determining if it's time for replacement surgery:

  • It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to complete routine daily tasks without help.
  • You have significant pain, that may keep you awake at night despite the use of medications or pain that keeps you from being able to walk or bend over, isn't relieved by rest, or isn't helped by non-surgical approaches.
  • Your doctor says that less-complicated surgical procedures are unlikely to help.
  • You have osteoarthritis and feel the disease is wearing you down physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • You are suffering severe side effects from the medications for your painful knee or hip.
  • Tests show advanced arthritis or significant joint damage.

  • Finding the right surgeon and hospital can make a big difference in the success of your surgery. In general, you're likely to have a better result and fewer complications if your surgeon performs the operation on a routine basis and operates in a hospital where replacements are routinely done.

    If it's clear that joint replacement is a good choice, below are some questions to help you decide whether a particular surgeon is right for you:

  • Is the surgeon board-certified in orthopedic surgery and fellowship trained?
  • How often do you perform this surgery?
  • What kind of results would you expect for someone in my condition?
  • Do you have any patients I can speak to regarding their experience?
  • What complications occur most frequently, and how are these dealt with?
  • Do you recommend a particular physical therapist or rehabilitation center?

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