"Richard Diana, M.D., author (with Sheila Curry Oakes) of Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon's Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery and Get Moving Again (Harlequin trade paperback, 352 pages, illustrations, appendixes, index, $17.95) is unique in the history of both pro football and medicine: He's the only board certified surgeon to have played in Super Bowl XVII. He was a running back and special teams player for the Miami Dolphins under legendary Coach Don Shula.

Diana's book is fun to read – something I never expected from a health and medicine book-- as well as informative and potentially life saving because of his anecdotes of his playing days for one of the best coaches in NFL history. His patients want to know everything about a real college student athlete who was drafted by the NFL and played for the legendary Ohio native Don Shula.

Now 84 and retired, Shula was renowned for his no-excuses approach to football, and life in general, Diana writes. From what I gleaned from reading this very accessible book, the good doctor has adopted Shula's philosophy whole hog.

Dr. Diana's eight-week plan for treating for treating joint pain and arthritis is unusual for a surgeon because it relies on exercise and especially diet modification to make life more comfortable for joint pain sufferers. In my experience, surgeons think about surgery 24/7, so it's refreshing to find one who believes it's best to try non-surgical approaches, leaving the surgery as a last resort.

Based on cutting-edge research that has clarified the crucial role of a molecule known as NFkB in regulating inflammation, Dr. Diana's proven eight-week program teaches you to harness the power of this research to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and rejuvenate your joints. Dr. Diana explains in scientific detail:

  • Which delicious foods reduce inflammation

  • Simple exercises tailored to your ability

  • The right supplements to help increase your mobility

  • Dr. Diana explains the science behind joint pain and tells us what foods to avoid. I wasn't surprised to find an emphasis on healthy foods like wild salmon and colorful vegetables. Avoid what I call the South of the Mason-Dixon Line Diet, where everything you can imagine – and somethings you couldn't imagine – is fried and you're well on your way to reducing the inflammation behind joint pain. Drink green tea instead of coffee (ouch! I love coffee, but I know I drink too much of it), cut out sugar, increase your fiber and reduce your carbs, etc. etc. Dr. Diana tells all!

    I must be either lucky or doing the right things all along -- or both -- because in my mid-70s I have no joint pain. When everybody was running, I said 'No, thanks' and walked a lot, something Diana says is good for you. I more or less (more now, less in the past!) watched my diet. On the advice of my cardiologist, I've dropped about 30 pounds and have kept those pounds off for nine months now.

    When I lived in Wisconsin, California and West Virginia, I would cross country ski whenever I had a chance. The original form of skiing, cross country or Nordic avoids the joint stress of Alpine or downhill skiing. It's to walking what Alpine skiing is to running, I like to say. Nordic skiing is probably the most aerobic exercise you can do and you can get exercise equipment to simulate that exercise in your home – but only if you consult your doctor.

    Joint pain strikes people of all ages, so get your hands on Healthy Joints for Life and practice the exercises and dietary recommendations the 'Jock Doc' provides in this fun-to-read book."

    -David Kinchen, February, 2014 (posted on, &

    "Orthopedic surgeon Diana, a former running back for the Miami Dolphins, explains the science behind joint inflammation and what can go wrong in the knee and other joints due to injury, impact, or overuse. According to Diana, when the inflammation cycle is halted via a nonsurgical, drug-free treatment plan (diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise), patients can recover and prevent pain and further degradation of joints. With clearly rendered illustration throughout and a straightforward, engaging narrative enlivened by stories from his football career, medical training, and current surgical practice, Diana ably presents the basics of joint physiology, as well as explaining the role of inflammation. He offers "the Eleven Nutritional Commandments for Joint Health" as well as: lists of high-fiber, low-fat, and low-sugar foods that reduce pain flare-ups; tables of vitamin and mineral supplements that bolster joint health; and suggested exercises. The second half details "The Healthy Joints for Life Program," an eight-week diet and exercise regimen. Each of the eight chapters aims to help readers eat properly, gain strength and range of movement, and eradicate inflammation. Boxes and sidebars with anecdotes, facts, and charts abound. Male readers especially will find Diana's conversational tone, sports analogies, and guy-to-guy approach as appealing as his solid program. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford Greenburger Associates."

    -Publishers Weekly, January 20, 2014

    "Rich Diana's Healthy Joints for Life is a must read for every athlete, whether a professional or a weekend warrior. It is a comprehensive, scientific yet highly readable book that I wish I had available to me during my 13-year professional football career. I could have minimized a lot of pain and loss time. I am recommending that all athletes regardless of their level of competition add this important book to their required reading. Kudos to my fellow NFL and Yale brother for sharing such important information."

    -Calvin Hill, retired NFL veteran

    "This is a must read for anyone looking to reduce pain and inflammation. I highly recommend it to the retired professional athletic community. A well reasoned program from one of our own."

    -Kellen Winslow, retired NFL veteran, NFL Hall of Fame

    "Thirteen years of MLB pitching left me with joint pain. Dr Diana's program was my solution. No surgery, no side effects, just relief."

    -Ron Darling, Emmy Award-winning MLB broadcaster and NY Met 1986 World Series champion

    "A thorough, well reasoned and well presented book. Congratulations to Dr. Diana for his efforts to help those of us with joint pain. It can help all of us, athlete or not."

    -George Grande, ESPN, N.Y. Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds play by play announcer

    "My long time student, friend and colleague, Dr. Richard Diana, has written a classic text that provides advice about exercise and life styles to protect aging joints. As a former cardiac and vascular surgeon, and now someone whose coronary arteries need all the help they can get, I can attest to the applicability of Dr. Diana's expert recommendations on diet that apply equally to joint health and to coronary artery disease as well. This is a masterful treatise that is also an entertaining read, full of vignettes from Dr. Diana's life as a scholar, family man, physician, and athlete."

    -John E. Fenn, M.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, Yale University

    "Dr. Diana's book Healthy Joints for Life promotes a completely different approach to deal with joint pain. It's a safe, scientific approach without side effects and unlike so many other programs it's good for your overall health. Certainly, those with osteoarthritis can benefit, but as a coach I can see application of the concepts of the book to younger high school and collegiate athletes or even professionals who train aggressively and need to rebound quickly. Fighting inflammation without the risks of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories is of obvious benefit. Every coach should read this book, especially the supplement and diet sections, to see if they feel if it might help their athletes deal with aggressive training."

    -Steve Addazio, Boston College Head football coach, former coach Notre Dame, Florida (National champions 2006, 2008), Temple, Indiana