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Cortisone Injections Into Joints

Doctors often inject cortisone-type medications into painful damaged joints and tendons. Single injections can relieve pain and swelling and appear to be safe, but many studies show that repeated injections can damage joints and delay healing. Most doctors will recommend having no more than three injections into the same joint in a lifetime.

Athletes and exercisers often experience pain from injuries to their tendons, muscles, fascia or ligaments. When an injury heals in a few days, no treatment is indicated, but sometimes they persist for months, particularly in the fascia on the bottom or back of the heel, in the large tendon in the back of the lower leg, or in the tendons on the elbows or shoulders. Cortisone-type drugs reduce swelling and lessen pain and can allow an athlete or exerciser to get back to sports, but cortisone injections can weaken the tendons for several months.

If you suffer pain in tendons, muscles, ligaments or fascia, check with your doctor to see if you have a treatable chronic disease causing it, such as hepatitis or reactive arthritis. Non-steroidals that are usually prescribed can help to block pain but do not heal damaged tissue. If you receive a cortisone injection, make sure that you protect that area from hard exercise for at least two months.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is it true that a high-protein diet can cause osteoporosis?

Studies done many years ago suggested that eating a lot of protein increases calcium loss in the urine and therefore it was thought that eating protein weakens bones by taking calcium out of them. However, recent studies show that eating protein increases calcium absorption so the extra calcium in the urine comes from increased absorption, not from being take out of bones. Reports in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Volume 78, Issue 3, 2003) show that eating plenty of protein and lots of foods from plants helps to keep bones strong. Most scientists now feel that a very low-protein diet can cause osteoporosis, while a moderately high-protein diet may help to prevent it.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is it necessary to wear socks with running shoes?

The main purpose of socks is to keep your feet and shoes from smelling. Foot odor is caused by bacteria or fungi rotting old skin. Your skin turns over every 28 days. A new cell starts on the bottom layer of skin, then another skin cell forms underneath it. The process continues until the bottom cell reaches the top and is sloughed off as dander or dandruff. If you don't wear socks, your old skin deposits in the shoes where it rots and emits an offensive odor. Socks prevent the old skin from getting into your shoes, and washing your socks gets rid of the old skin.

The bacteria that rot your old skin grow luxuriously when the skin is wet. If you have a problem with foot odor, try pouring a small amount of powder into the toes of your socks before you put them on will help to keep your feet dry during the day and prevent bacteria from growing. Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes more often than every other day so they can dry out between use. You can also kill the bacteria by applying a common deodorant containing aluminum chlorohydrate to your feet at bedtime and sleeping with socks on.

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RECIPE OF THE WEEK:
Southwest Paella -- a delicious seafood-whole grain combination that freezes well, too.

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 27th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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