Don’t Let Hip or Knee Pain Keep You from the Things You Love

Millions of us struggle with pain and loss of mo­tion because of joint damage caused by arthritis. If other treatments don’t help, you may wonder about turning in your worn-out joints for new ones.

Surgery may not be your first choice. But if you are a candidate for total joint re­placement, know that more than 90% of people have good to excellent results. They get relief from pain and can return to normal daily activities.Don't let hip or knee pain keep you from the activities you love - the Methodist Joint Replacement Center can help!

Should you have surgery?

Joint replacement should be a final step in treatment. Other treatments are often suggested before joint re­placement. They are:

  • Using anti-inflammato­ry medication
  • Losing weight to ease stress on the joint
  • Cutting back on activi­ties that cause pain
  • Doing exercises to keep muscles and joints flex­ible, promote fitness, and make muscles stronger that support damaged joints

While most people hav­ing joint replacement sur­gery are in their 60s or older, younger people may have it when their condition sup­ports it. But younger people may have other choices available to them, such as changing to a less physically demanding job or undergo­ing a different type of pro­cedure that realigns or only replaces part of a joint.

The younger you are when you get a new joint, the more likely you are to need surgery to revise the joint replacement in the future. Surgery to fix or re­place artificial joints has a risk of infection and other problems. Because health­care providers shape and remove bone to accept the new joint, repeated surgery also leaves less bone to at­tach to each new joint.

When do you need surgery?

An X-ray showing joint damage is one of the factors used to decide who should have this surgery. Your pain and other symptoms are the main things to keep in mind when deciding. This is most­ly a quality of life decision.

People who are con­sidering joint replacement surgery should have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Severe pain during ac­tivity, such as walking or getting up from a chair
  • Pain that prevents ac­tivities
  • Pain at night that hin­ders sleeping

What can you expect?

To get ready, you should work with your healthcare provider to be sure you can handle anesthesia. Have dental problems fixed before surgery to lower the risk for infection. Any health prob­lems should be addressed before surgery.

Total joint replacement usually involves a a hospi­tal stay of two to three days. Many hip and knee patients can walk the next day using a walker. You’ll likely be re­leased from the hospital on the third or fourth day. But you’ll need time to heal.

At first, you may need items like crutches or a walker. Within a few months, you should be able to return to most of your normal daily activities with­out help. You may still need physical therapy.

Recovery from joint re­placement surgery may in­volve some pain for two to three months. But it’s often a different type of pain and will improve as you get better.

Will a new joint last?

Experts warn against unrealistic expectations for a new joint. You shouldn’t expect it to bear activities that involve jumping or the kind of stress that would be hard on a natural joint. Your healthcare provider will tell you what activities after surgery you should not do. He or she may also tell you to stay away from certain joint positions to prevent dislocation of the joint. The limits given will depend on the joint that is replaced, as well as your situation.

An artificial joint will eventually change from wear and tear, even under normal use and activity con­ditions. It may need to be re­placed at some point. Artifi­cial joints often last 10 to 15 years or more. A person who is younger at the time of the surgery may one day need to have the new joint replaced. The good news is that new materials are giving artificial joints a longer life span.

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