What could be causing Lady Gaga's joint inflammation?
—Angela, New Mexico, via Twitter
You speak of the chronic pain and torn hip that forced Lady Gaga to postpone four of her shows before finally throwing in the towel and canceling the whole ball. If you're looking for me to reveal some exotic disease, well, you're about to--kinda--get what you want:
But even if Gaga did not suffer from that condition, she just might have the same symptoms. Doctors tell me that joint swelling (or synovitis) is a hidden plague among musicians. In fact, your favorite singer-dancer just might be suffering from it...right...now.
But let's start with Gaga's medical condition.
"You know, lupus is in my family and it is genetic," she told King in 2010.
"The truth is, I don't show any signs, any symptoms of lupus, but I have tested borderline positive for the disease, so as of right now I don't have it. But I have to take good care of myself."
Cut to 2013, and Gaga is on tour...the kind of activity that is not, for the record, conducive to taking care of oneself.
There's a lot of leaping around, especially for an act like Gaga, and that, too, can cause joint inflammation or vulnerability to injury.
According to orthopedic specialists, pop stars dance as much as they sing, jumping about as much as some athletes. And if a musician isn't a particularly leapy person, and then takes a high-energy show on the road, all sudden-like, that's when the joints can go into a kind of shock.
"It can be common for dancers," orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert in Dr. Derek Ochiai tells me. "It's usually brought on by a big increase in level of activity over a short period of time where the joints get overloaded, because of rapid change in pressure that they are seeing.
"Think of a high school couch potato who then goes to boot camp, marching with a 40 pound rucksack on the back for miles at a time."
Now, let's be clear: We are not calling Lady Gaga a couch potato or a spud of any type. Even if she's an active person all the time, this can happen.
"I've seen this a lot in musicians," says Dr. Robert Klapper, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the host of "Weekend Warrior" on ESPN radio. "We see it a lot behind the scenes."
Let's just hope that Gaga recovers soon!