About a dozen arthritis sufferers, living with joint pain and stiffness, were provided with a free seminar by local orthopaedic surgeon Dr. George Ritz, at the Marian Sutherland Kirby Library June 7.
In his 90-minute presentation, Ritz explained the symptoms and causes of arthritis, as well as the many treatment options, ranging from the simplicity of ingesting a Tylenol to the extreme complexity of undergoing joint replacement. The captive audience listened intently, some taking notes.
Ritz, a Mountaintop resident, has 23 years experience conducting joint replacement surgeries at The Joint Center at Commonwealth Health Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and he was accompanied at the lecture by his orthopaedic team, Heather Proctor, clinical leader, and Mary Carol Montagna, orthopaedical care navigator.
“We’re educating the community all about arthritis and why you have to seek out a doctor,” Montagna, a professional with 39 years experience in orthopaedics, related before the lecture. “Education is a big key. We’re very thrilled to be here.”
While there are several types of arthritis, Ritz focused his lecture of osteoarthritis, a condition where the cartilage surrounding the bone has worn down. Osteoarthritis affects a third of people over the age of 65, more commonly women and those who have a genetic predisposition to it.
It also develops more in those who are obese, Ritz noted, as the more weight that joints like hips and knees carry, the more pressure is put on the cartilage connecting those joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility, and deformity, such as walking with bowlegs. Patients experience these symptoms because the articular