Common Causes Leading to Joint Replacement
20 Sep
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Common Causes Leading to Joint Replacement

In joint replacement surgery, an orthopedic surgeon takes out all or part of a diseased or damaged joint, usually the knee or hip, and replaces it with a prosthetic. The goals of this procedure are to reduce patients’ long-term pain and make them more mobile. In most cases, these goals are met. Many things can hurt joints and cause them to need to be replaced, but some of them happen more often than others.

Total joint replacement is only considered if you have tried less invasive treatments and they haven’t helped, but you still have a lot of pain, stiffness, or problems with how your joint works. Usually, this is the hip or knee. If lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and mobility aids don’t help anymore, joint replacement surgery may be the next step to think about.

Most joint replacements are commonly done on the hip and knee, but surgery can also be done on the ankle, wrist, shoulder, and elbow. If you’re wondering if it’s time to do something about your bad joint, here are some of the many important reasons people go to an orthopedic surgeon to talk about a joint replacement:

Joint Pain

Pain, especially from severe arthritis, is the main reason why people say “enough” and go to the doctor. All other reasons are also based on pain.

Fractures or Injuries

A previous injury may have caused a joint to wear out so much that it needs to be replaced. For example, when someone breaks their hip, the joint is often replaced. 

Joint Destruction from Arthritis

Inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis, and more can also lead to joint replacement. The patient can buy some time with medicine, but eventually the joint will be too damaged to function properly in daily activities.

Osteoarthritis, which is the form of arthritis caused by wear and tear, is the most common reason for knee replacements and the cause of the damage that leads to many hip replacements. It happens when the cartilage that cushions joints wears down over time, causing swelling, pain, stiffness, and a loss of joint function. In the later stages, cartilage can wear away in some places, letting bones rub against each other. This causes more pain and often makes it impossible to work.

Brittle Bone Disease

Osteoporosis, also called “brittle bone disease,” is a disease that causes bones to lose strength and density over time, making them weak and brittle. As people with osteoporosis lose bone, their risk of breaking a bone goes up. These injuries, called fragility fractures, can happen from small bumps or falls that don’t cause enough force to break strong, healthy bones. The hip is one of the most common places where these fractures happen, and often a hip replacement is needed to fix the damage.

Degeneration Caused by Wear and Tear

A joint may wear out over time because of demands of a job, stress, or strain from a regular activity or sport, or just due to age.

Difficulty Enjoying an Activity

This could be a work-related movement, something you do every day, like putting on socks or sweeping the floor, or something you enjoy, like golfing, playing ball, hiking, or swimming. The key is to need or like the activity so much that you don’t want to stop doing it.

When is Joint Replacement Recommended?

Several conditions and symptoms, like the ones reviewed above, can cause pain and weakness in the joints, which can make a person think about getting a joint replacement. Joint pain is often caused by damage to the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones, which can be caused by arthritis, a broken bone, or something else.

If medicines, physical therapy, and changes to the way you do things don’t help relieve your pain and lack of mobility, your doctor may suggest a total joint replacement. If you choose to do the surgery, there are many things you can do to get ready; talk to and ask your doctor questions, and get your body ready by eating right and working out.

After Joint Replacement

A joint can never get so bad that it can’t be fixed, and people of all ages get their joints replaced. If the pain has gotten to the point where you don’t want to deal with it anymore and you want to get back to a needed or favorite activity, make an appointment with us here at Orthopedic Health of Kansas City.

Healing and getting back to normal after a joint replacement takes time. It will also take intensive rehabilitation therapy to learn how to use the new joint and get back to full mobility. Even with these problems, most people who have these surgeries are happy with the results, which include less pain, more mobility, and a better quality of life.

Joint Replacement Outcome

After surgery to replace a joint, most people find it easier to do things they do every day. Most people can expect their joint replacement to last for many years. This gives them a better quality of life, with less pain and more mobility and strength than they would have had before the surgery.

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