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Millions of us struggle with pain and loss of motion because of joint damage caused by arthritis. If other treatments don’t offer relief, 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 percent of people have good to excellent results and return to normal daily activities, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Joint replacement should be a final step in treatment. More conservative treatments are generally recommended before joint replacement.
Those other treatments include using pain medicine, losing weight to ease stress on the joint and reducing physical activities that cause pain. Orthopedists, like the specialists at Tidelands Waccamaw Orthopaedics and Spine and Tidelands Georgetown Orthopaedics, also may suggest exercises to keep muscles and joints flexible, promote fitness and make the muscles that support a damaged joint stronger.
While most people undergoing joint replacement surgery are in their 60s or older, younger people also undergo joint replacement when conditions warrant. However, younger people may have other choices available to them like changing to a less physically demanding job or having a different type of procedure that realigns or only replaces part of a joint.
X-ray evidence of joint damage is one of the factors used to determine the need for joint replacement surgery. Your pain and other symptoms are the most important things to keep in mind when deciding. This is mostly a quality-of-life decision.
People who are considered for joint replacement surgery should have one of the following: severe pain during activity such as walking or getting up from a chair; pain that prevents them from doing activities; or pain at night that prevents them from sleeping.
Total joint replacement involves a one-day to three-day hospital stay. The majority of hip and knee patients walk the day of surgery using a walker. Many total hip replacement patients go home in one to two days and total knee replacement patients discharge in two to three, but you’ll need time to recover.
At first, you may need items like crutches or a walker after hip replacement. 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 to aid in complete recovery. Tidelands NextStep Rehabilitation Services is available at a dozen locations across the Tidelands to help you regain mobility and reach full recovery.
Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital is recognized by Healthgrades, a leading independent health care review organization, as one of America’s “100 best hospitals for orthopedic surgery” in 2015. If you are wondering about joint replacement, the specialists at Tidelands Waccamaw Orthopaedics and Spine and Tidelands Georgetown Orthopaedics are available by appointment to discuss your treatment options.