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Is Smoking Bad for Your Joints?

Smoking is related to poor heart health, respiratory disease, and many forms of cancers. But did you know that smoking also negatively impacts joint health?

A large-scale research study was conducted by Dr. Domb along with several other orthopedic specialists to determine the effects of smoking on joint health. This study involved 75 hips in the smoking category and 150 hips in the non-smoking category.

All patients in the study underwent hip arthroscopy (a minimally invasive procedure to repair several types of hip disorders through tiny keyhole incisions). Good patient reported outcomes (PROs) were obtained in the short term after the procedure by both smokers and non-smokers. Almost all patients experienced reduced hip pain and improved function. However, in the long term, nonsmokers tended to achieve better results than smokers.

Let’s consider some of the reasons why smoking is bad for your joints:

Smoking 

  • Reduces blood supply to the bones
  • Inhibits the production of cells that form bone (osteoblasts)
  • Decreases absorption of calcium from the diet
  • Causes faster breakdown of estrogen which is necessary to maintain strong bones
  • Increases risk of fracture in old age
  • Interferes with the healing process by slowing down wound and fracture healing
  • Increases the risk of complications after surgery
  • Produces less satisfactory surgical outcomes
  • Diminishes athletic performance
  • Suppresses appetite and may leading to malnourishment

The good news is that quitting smoking at any age is one of the best things you can do to maintain joint strength and reduce your risk of fractures.  If you have a history of smoking, you should also consult your doctor or an orthopedic specialist for an evaluation of your musculoskeletal system and recommendations that might benefit your condition.

 

Dr. Benjamin Domb is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine and Hip Arthroscopy. He is the Founder and Medical Director at American Hip Institute, is rated amongst the Top Doctors in the USA by the NY Times, US News & World Report, and Castle Connelly. The doctors at the American Hip Institute have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.

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