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Fargo-Moorhead Joint Health with Dr. Phil Johnson

Dr. Philip Johnson MD, Orthopedic Sport Medicine Specialists of Fargo

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Photo by Geneva Nodland

Dr. Phil Johnson, MD & Orthopedic Surgeon, has been in practice since 1991. Returning to Fargo after schooling, he spent the next couple of decades working with local athletics, including West Fargo High School, Concordia College, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks; and the since-disbanded local professional athletic teams, including the Fargo-Moorhead Beez and the Fargo-Moorhead Fever. He also practiced orthopedic care locally. In addition, for the last 22 years, he has been the team physician for USA Hockey, along with Dr. Mike Stewart, and has spent 17 years with the United States men’s national junior ice hockey team.

In 2018, Dr. Johnson was the team doctor for the US hockey team at the Olympics! At the end of this year, he will be retiring from his position as a physician, but will continue work with the International Ice Hockey Federation, where he will do medical supervision at the tournaments!

Why is it important?
“The musculoskeletal system invigorates or keeps the other systems healthy.”

“[You can think of] the musculoskeletal system as a communication tower. It’s like the main structural support and all the little wires are all the other systems that help make everything else work properly.”

You Might Know

“Specific exercises are needed to improve the overall strength and flexibility one needs to remain active. Everyday activity and work are often not enough to reach that goal.”

Misconceptions of Joint Health

1. My work is enough for my exercise. (Wrong)

“People come in with shoulder pain… We say ‘we need to work on this exercise.’ The first thing out of their mouth oftentimes is, ‘well, I use my arms a lot at work,’ and I say, ‘but that’s why you’re here.'”

2. I’m too young to have arthritis (Wrong)

Dr. Johnson explained that people often think arthritis only happens in your older years, but it can happen as early as your 30s or 40s. “The primary [care] there is, are simple little things like weight reduction, activity modification from high impact activities and occasional use of anti-inflammatories.”

Local Solutions

Dr. Johnson will recommend low-impact activity for someone who visits him in need of help, or for someone who just can’t move like they used to. A great way to get that movement in is in a pool!

He recommends three facilities:
• Family Wellness
• Touchmark Health & Fitness Club

This is located at the Touchmark Retirement Home in south Fargo. They have a great facility, offering adult water exercise classes and more. They are open to the public, by the way of monthly membership or guest passes—which can be bought 1 at a time or in a pack of 10!

Dr. Johnson’s biggest piece of advice for someone looking for an exercise facility— go somewhere convenient. You are far more likely to follow through with your routine and goals if going to a place is easy to schedule in and not out of your way! Luckily, there are tons of different workout facilities around the FM area!

Q. You recommend daily walking for joint health. Where do you recommend going?

A. The favorite place I have is my frontage road and out in front of my townhouse. I’ll go in all types of weather. In fact, you actually expend more calories in cold weather, which is a benefit for you. I don’t think it matters so much where you walk… I would say the safest is to go out in the country.

Written by Geneva Nodland

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