PTD0515_JoggingDoes it seem as though everyone is having a total joint replacement? Well, not only are older Americans taking advantage of total knee or hip replacement but younger patients—especially the athletically driven baby-boomer generation—are opting to have the surgery as well.
Total joint replacement involves surgically removing parts of an arthritic or damaged joint and replacing them with a metal, plastic or ceramic device designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint. Hip and knee replacements are the most commonly performed joint surgeries, but other joints, including the ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow, can be candidates for the procedure.

This uptick in total joint replacement results from a higher incidence of osteoarthritis in exceptionally active mature individuals. Telling a 65-year-old marathon runner to live with knee pain and reduced activity is quite different from telling a relatively sedentary person to do the same thing. In the past, patients were advised to put off joint replacement surgery until the age of 60. Today, stronger, more durable parts, along with a patient’s overall health and fitness, are more important in making the decision to undergo surgery.

When thinking about having a total joint replacement, here are a few things to consider:

  • No surgery is without risk, although the risk of major complications from total joint replacement is low.
  • The younger you are when your joint is replaced, the more likely you are to need a second replacement in the future. The artificial joints currently in use only last for around 15 to 20 years, and the more active you are, the more wear and tear you’ll put on your new joint.

If you opt for surgery, working with us during recovery is extremely important. We can design a program to help you resume normal activities and enjoy your new pain-free life. We can also help restore movement and strengthen the joint, along with teaching you ways to reduce any damage so your new joint will last as long as possible.

And if you decide to skip the surgery, we are still here for you. Some people can achieve a reduction in discomfort without surgery with physical therapy alone; it depends on the severity and cause of your joint pain. Whatever you and your physician choose, the ultimate goal is to have you active and comfortable for many years to come. A personalized course of physical therapy can help you achieve that goal.

May PTEDigest Includes:

Get Hip (and Knee) to Total Joint Replacement Surgery
A Multifaceted Approach to Facet Syndrome
Artificial Cervical Disc: An Alternative to Spinal Fusion
Rehabbing a Torn Medial Collateral Ligament
Managing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Download PTD May 2015