joint pain

Got hip or knee pain? Here’s how to find relief

Written by Dr. Stephen Duncan, orthopaedic surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Join Dr. Duncan on Thursday, March 22 at the Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch for a free information session about hip and knee pain. The event is free, but please call 800-333-8874 to reserve your seat. 

If you’d like to make an appointment at UK HealthCare now, call 859-257-1000.

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Every year, nearly 30 million people are treated for joint pain in their knees and hips.

That number isn’t surprising: Over the course of our lives, our hips and knees take on a lot of wear and tear.

The good news is there are ways you can reduce the strain placed on your joints to maintain the health of your hips and knees. And if you do have joint pain, there are ways your doctor can help you find relief.

Preventing knee and hip pain

Being overweight can cause joint pain, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Shed extra pounds and keep them off by starting an exercise program and improving your eating habits.

People who engage in high-impact activities, like running, basketball or Zumba, can take steps to prevent joint issues. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips and knees can do wonders in reducing and preventing joint pain. Strengthening your core muscles can also relieve joint strain.

Supplements can aid in improving joint health and reducing pain. Omega-3 fatty acids block inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce joint tenderness and stiffness. Ginger has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory, while capsaicin (the stuff that gives peppers their heat) reduces substance P, a pain transmitter.

Treatment options

Too often, joint pain is considered part of aging, and if a person has suffered over a long period of time, it can just be considered part of life.

If you have persistent joint pain, don’t let it prevent you from seeing your doctor. If your joint pain has lasted more than six months and is not responding to activity modification and/or anti-inflammatory medicines, it’s time to see an orthopaedist.

Common treatments for knee and hip joint pain are arthroscopy and joint replacement. Arthroscopy can be done for patients with mild arthritis to remove a torn meniscus in the knee or a labrum in the hip. Recovery from this procedure is typically four to eight weeks.

Hip or knee replacements are done for more advanced arthritis. Recovery for hip replacement is typically four to eight weeks, but is largely dependent on the patient’s health. Partial knee replacement recovery lasts approximately four to six weeks, while a total knee replacement has a recovery time of six to 12 weeks.

Reducing the chances of needing orthopaedic surgery is possible, but knowing the signs of pain that may require medical intervention is vital.

Next steps

  • Check out our Making the Rounds interview with Dr. Duncan, where he tells us about his own athletic endeavors and what he enjoys most about his job.
  • Join Dr. Duncan on Thursday, March 22 at the Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch for a free information session about hip and knee pain. The event is free, but please call 800-333-8874 to reserve your seat. If you’d like to make an appointment at UK HealthCare now, call 859-257-1000.


Making the Rounds with Dr. Kimberly Kaiser

UK team physician helps patients discover their inner-athlete

Making the RoundsWe caught up with Dr. Kim Kaiser for our latest Making the Rounds interview. Dr. Kaiser is a sports medicine physician at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine and is also a team physician for UK Athletics. She specializes in helping athletes and non-athletes alike get back to enjoying the activities they love.

What is a sports medicine physician?

As a sports medicine physician, I see kids and adults. I’m non-operative, so I do primary care sports medicine. We’re kind of a triage system for a lot of patients, so they’ll see us first. A lot of patients don’t need surgery, and we’re able to get them better by doing rehab and other treatments, such as injections.

If you do need surgery, then we connect you with the correct surgeon. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, you’re not going to see a knee surgeon. We’ll make sure you see the right person.

Tell us about being a team physician for the Wildcats.

Being with those athletes is really special for me. I played a lot of sports growing up, and I think that helps me to help them.

Our entire team really interacts very well with each other, and we try to take the best care of our athletes to help the fans get a good experience, too.

What is your patient-care philosophy?

I treat the patients like I want to be treated. I try to bring out the inner-athlete in everyone. I think everyone has an athlete within them, and we just need to bring that out. I see athletes, but I see non-athletes, too. I try to get them inspired to do something more active and athletic, and in turn, treat their injuries.

I treat everyone just like I would treat my mother, father or sibling. You’ll be treated just like our collegiate athletes, even if you’re not a collegiate athlete. Our goal is to get you back to you where you want to be, both from a personal standpoint and from a recreational standpoint.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I do sports medicine for a living and sports are also my hobby. I do a lot of things – I play in a couple volleyball leagues here in town, and I also like to trail run, go hiking and go climbing.

How would you spend your ideal weekend?

Sleeping in! Then going to work out. After that, I’d be going to the lake. Lake Cumberland is probably my favorite one.

Check out our video interview with Dr. Kaiser, where she tells us more about the comprehensive orthopaedic care offered at UK HealthCare.

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Do you know what a stroke is?

A stroke happens when an artery that carries blood from the heart to the brain bursts or is blocked. This means that part of the brain does not get the blood and nutrients it needs, so it starts to die. When this happens, abilities caused by that area of the brain, like memory or muscle control, are lost. There are three main types of stroke.

Ischemic stroke is the most common. It happens when an artery in the brain is blocked, and there are two types:

  1. Embolic stroke is when a blood clot or plaque forms and moves through the arteries to the brain. Once in the brain, the clot blocks a blood vessel and leads to a stroke.
  2. Thrombotic stroke is when a blood clot forms inside an artery that takes blood to the brain. This interrupts blood flow and causes a stroke.

Hemorrhagic stroke, less common than ischemic stroke, happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills blood in or around the brain. There are two main types:

  1. Intracerebral hemorrhage is when a burst blood vessel bleeds into brain tissue. This causes brain cells to die and part of the brain to stop working correctly.
  2. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is when a blood vessel bursts near the surface of the brain and blood leaks in between the brain and the skull.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens if an artery in the brain or one that goes to the brain is blocked for a short time. This causes temporary numbness, weakness or loss of vision, and it might cause trouble speaking or loss of balance.

Even though blood flow to the brain is only blocked for a short time – usually no more than 5 minutes, a TIA is a medical emergency and a serious warning sign that you might have a stroke.

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You can make a difference by participating in research

Written by Linda Rice, RN, CCRC, director of clinical operations at the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which is dedicated to accelerating discoveries that improve health.

Health research changes lives. It’s how we learn more about health conditions and make discoveries to improve treatments, care and diagnostics. Every medicine or device we use – from aspirin to pacemakers – was developed through a process of research. But research needs people in order to move forward. All too often, studies are forced to end early or don’t enroll enough participants, which means that many important questions go unanswered.

At UK, doctors, nurses and researchers are working diligently to advance discoveries that improve health, and we invite you to join us. You can make a difference by participating in research – you could even be part of a study whose results will help people in the future. Participating is a way to help others by “giving forward,” and it’s also an opportunity to learn more about your own health.

Whether you are healthy or have a medical condition, there are opportunities for you to participate. Health research is more than clinical trials for rare diseases. Sometimes it’s as simple as a questionnaire, a screening or helping to test a type of exercise. Many studies compensate participants.

Health research also includes extensive protection for participants. The ethical and legal codes that govern medical care also apply to research, which is further regulated with safeguards for participants. UK, like every research institution, also has a review board that evaluates all research to ensure protection of participants’ rights and welfare. Every study follows a carefully controlled plan of what researchers will do and what is asked of participants, and this plan is explained in detail before you decide to join. Participants are free to leave a study at any time.

Learn more

There are two ways to learn more and get involved in the process of discovery: You can view current research opportunities at UK, and you can also join ResearchMatch, which connects you with researchers nationwide.

Current Studies at UK: To explore opportunities to participate in ground-breaking research at UK, visit and click on “Current Studies.” You can browse opportunities by topic, like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, healthy volunteers, women’s health, drug and alcohol use, and many others.

ResearchMatch: To join this national database of research opportunities, visit ResearchMatch is an easy, secure, registry that unites people who are interested in research with active studies. Joining is free and fast. Simply register and wait to be contacted, or “matched,” to studies that might interest you. You can also browse studies, share ideas with researchers, and find patient organizations and health information. You always have the choice to participate or not, and you can leave ResearchMatch at any time. Individuals under the age of 19 must be enrolled by a parent or guardian.

If you’d like to learn more about health research, including frequently asked questions, please visit If you have questions about participating in research or current studies at UK, please contact us at or by phone at 859-257-7856 or 859-323-8150.

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car seats

Kids, car seats and bulky coats don’t mix. Here’s why.

If you’re about to buckle your child into his or her car seat, think twice before you zip up that bulky winter coat.

Puffy winter clothes and coats have too much wiggle room, which can cause your child to slip out of the harness should the car stop suddenly.

Here’s how to keep your kids safe in the car, even when it’s freezing outside:

Dress your child in warm, thin materials, such as fleece.

Remove bulky clothing and blankets before putting you child in their car seat.

Adjust the harness straps to the proper height. For rear-facing seats, straps should be at or below the child’s shoulders. For forward-facing seats, straps should be at or above the child’s shoulders.

Buckle and tighten the harness straps. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

Do the “pinch test” by pinching the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, the car seat is safely buckled.

After your child is safely fastened, place a blanket or their winter coat over the car seat harness to keep them warm.

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Registration open for third-annual neurogastronomy symposium

Registration is now open for the third annual International Society of Neurogastronomy Symposium, which will be held at UK on March 2-3, 2018.

Both day’s events offer continuing education credit.

This year’s symposium will explore the connection between brain and behavior in the context of food.

Luminaries from the worlds of science, nutrition and culinary arts will share their knowledge on a variety of topics, including the psychological influences on eating and behavior, the chemosensory properties of food and how we experience them, the role of food as medicine and the history and evolution of flavor and flavor perception.

The term neurogastronomy was coined by Dr. Gordon Shepherd, professor of neurobiology at Yale University – first in 2006 in an article in Nature and six years later in an eponymous book. While Dr. Shepherd has been interested in the concept from a research perspective, a group of neuroscientists, chefs and food scientists are enthusiastic about making it a clinical translational science, with applications in cancer, stroke, and brain injury (which can destroy the sense of taste) as well as diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The day’s format differs from the typical symposium, featuring brief presentations modeled after the popular TED talks and punctuated with breaks for tastings and a contest where food prepared by nationally acclaimed chefs Taria Camerino and Jehangir Mehta will be judged by UK HealthCare patients with diabetes.

Here is a link to video highlights from last year’s symposium.

This year, there is an experiential event on Friday, March 2: a five-course dinner with wine pairings by world-class sommelier Francois Chartier and bourbon flavor wheel instruction by Chris Morris, Master Distiller at the Woodford Reserve, plus interdisciplinary clinical neuroscience lectures.

For more information about the symposium, including a full list of speakers and how to register, visit

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hand washing and the flu

The power to fight the flu is in your hands

Flu season has arrived late this year, but it’s now in full swing in Kentucky.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a vaccine. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s not too late! Make plans to get a flu vaccine soon.

In addition to getting vaccinated, an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of the flu is to wash your hands correctly. Hand hygiene is the single most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of infections, but unfortunately, many people don’t wash their hands correctly, or for long enough.

Here’s how to do it the right way:

How to wash

  1. Wet your hands with warm or cold water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. You can sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or the “Happy Birthday” song twice to make sure that you or your children are washing for long enough.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.

When to wash

Washing your hands with soap and water at key times throughout the day is one of the most important things you can do to get rid of germs. Most of us know the basics of when to wash our hands, but there are some times when it’s is most important.

  • Before and after both preparing and eating food.
  • Before and after giving medical care of any kind.
  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or cleaning up after a child or pet who has used the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching garbage, or when your hands are visibly dirty.

Other tips

  • If you don’t have water or soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure that it’s at least 60 percent alcohol, and only let children use it under adult supervision.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas at home, work or school.
  • If possible, use a paper towel to open doors, turn faucets or even touch elevator buttons.

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Owensboro Health joins Markey Affiliate Network

Owensboro Health has joined the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, enhancing cancer care available to patients in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana and allowing them to stay closer to home and their support systems for most treatments.

Markey is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky.

“Owensboro Health exists to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Owensboro Health President and CEO Greg Strahan. “When it comes to offering national-quality, outstanding cancer care, we are proud to team up with the UK Markey Cancer Center, which is recognized as one of the foremost cancer care and research centers in the nation.”

Owensboro Health’s Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center (MMCC) serves the health system’s coverage area, a population of nearly 400,000 people across 14 counties in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. More than 1,000 patients are treated at the center annually. Last year, Owensboro Health also joined Markey’s Research Network, which allows MMCC to run many of Markey’s clinical trials on-site.

“As a native of Owensboro, it is a great honor to welcome Owensboro Health as our newest UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate,” said Dr. Mark Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “These relationships are very important to both of our institutions and most significantly to the care of patients throughout the region and the Commonwealth. We look forward to continuing to work with the outstanding team at Owensboro to provide the highest level of cancer treatment and prevention measures.”

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research. The affiliate network is especially important for Kentucky, where cancer rates are the highest in the nation.

“Kentucky is home to some of the worst cancer rates in the country,” said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. “Collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state will enable us to make a positive impact on the dire cancer rates here in the Commonwealth.”

Markey is one of only 69 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.

Moving forward, the UK Markey Cancer Center is working toward the next tier of designation – an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 45 of the 69 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status. The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network will play a large role in bringing that next level of cancer funding to Kentucky.

The affiliate network was created in 2006 and is made up of 20 hospitals across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Next steps:

  • Markey is Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment.
  • Markey’s new state-of-the-art cancer care floor will allow our care teams to treat more patients with complex cancer diagnoses in an environment specifically designed for healing.

UK tobacco-free group helps teens advocate for healthier communities

UK’s Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Healthy Environments (BREATHE) team recently partnered with Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) to host tobacco and youth advocacy training for leadership students from Hazard High School, as well as a training session for adult community advocates from around the state on the importance of youth empowerment and mentorship.

The training was part of the Tobacco-free Ambassador Partnership (TAP) project, funded through a $100,000 gift from CVS Health. The day-long workshops focused on tobacco, health and social justice, sustainable change in communities, and a breakdown of tobacco policies in Hazard, Perry County and across Kentucky. The students also honed their advocacy skills, such as how to conduct surveys, start petitions and make presentations to decision-making bodies such as their local school board. The training was funded through the TAP project and support from Kentucky Youth Advocates.

“It was encouraging to see all of the ideas and energy from young people in Hazard,” said Melinda Ickes, associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health promotion in the UK College of Education and director of Tobacco-free Take Action! and Go Tobacco-Free, two initiatives at UK that promote tobacco-free college campuses.

“After completing a community assessment, the youth came to the training with an understanding of the challenges their community faces with regard to tobacco. However, they have also come to realize that change is possible when they work together and let their voices be heard.”

In the adult leader training session, community members from across Kentucky learned about community advocacy and how to mentor and partner with student groups advocating for change in their communities. Their objectives included:

  • Shared understanding of racial equity and its importance to youth empowerment.
  • Understand recruitment and retention of young people to support policy, system and environmental changes.
  • Assess and build capacity within organizations/communities to partner and foster the inclusion of youth.

“I believe we are well prepared to engage youth and their adult mentors across Kentucky to reduce the enormous toll that tobacco takes on Kentuckians and on our economy,” said Ellen Hahn, professor in the UK College of Nursing and director of UK’s BREATHE.

“It was uplifting to see so many interested adults from one end of the state to the other with a desire to engage youth in making health policy change.”

YES! is a nonprofit organization that empowers teens and their adult allies to create community change by giving them the tools necessary to take a stand in their communities and create change that will positively impact adolescent health.

For more information about tobacco prevention and cessation initiatives, visit BREATHE at

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quitting smoking

11 strategies for quitting tobacco – and staying quit

It’s clear: The best possible thing you can do for your health if you’re a smoker is quit. If you’re ready to become a former smoker, these tips can help you succeed.

Set a date. Try to pick a time when temptations to smoke will be relatively low.

Make a plan. Tobacco is a serious addiction and hard to quit. But there are cessation aids available. Talk to you doctor or other healthcare providers about what might be right for you. There’s no glory in going cold turkey and making it harder on yourself.

Consider your triggers, and plan alternative responses ahead of time. Do you smoke when you’re stressed? Try meditation or start an exercise plan. If you tend to smoke after dinner, have some gum handy.

Make a list of the reasons WHY you’re quitting and reread it often. Constantly remind yourself of what’s good about not smoking. When it’s 0 degrees outside, isn’t it nice not have to stand out there to smoke?

Enjoy the benefits of quitting. Your senses of smell and taste will begin to return after you’ve quit – plan to buy yourself flowers or a lovely smelling essential oil. Or occasionally treat yourself to a small square of heart-healthy dark chocolate – just be careful not to go overboard and substitute food for smoking.

Tell someone. Ask a friend to help keep you accountable and to be there to listen when you struggle.

Prepare your environment. Go through your home, your desk and your car and remove all traces of cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays. Consider cleaning the interior of your car and washing curtains, bed linens and your clothes to remove traces of smoke and make everything smell fresh.

Create new routines that don’t involve cigarettes. If you always take an afternoon break with the smoking crowd, plan for a break 30 minutes earlier and go for a walk instead. If you always smoke after dinner, plan another way to spend your time.

Likewise, get some distance from other smokers. Let your smoking friends and family know that your routine is changing and that you’d rather they not smoke around you. Anyone who tries to tempt you back into smoking doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Use the money you don’t spend on cigarettes to save up for something you want. Cigarettes are expensive; give yourself added incentive to quit by planning to use that money for something great.

If you fall down, pick yourself up and keep going. You’re not a failure if you succumb to one temptation; you’re only a failure if you stop trying. Think about what caused you to smoke and how you might avoid or handle that temptation better next time.

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