Arthritis is a progressively painful condition that often eventually requires joint replacement surgery, especially when the disease impacts the hip or knee joints. Over one million Americans have hip or knee replacements each year.
The surgery is done by an orthopedic surgeon, and although the surgeon generally removes and replaces the whole joint, it is possible to only replace or fix the damaged parts of the joint instead. Research shows that the results of joint replacement surgery, even in older patients, can help alleviate pain and allow individuals to move more freely, which vastly improves quality of life.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgeries can become necessary for a variety of reasons, but the different types of arthritis are leading causes for the procedure. When arthritis affects the knee, it can have a serious impact on the way the entire body moves and may lessen one's ability to perform normal activities comfortably. Joint replacement surgery of the knee can greatly improve mobility, as it alleviates the pain associated with arthritis of the knee, providing individuals with the ability for a fuller and more active lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is a leading cause of both hip and knee replacements. Approximately 250,000 people each year have knee replacement surgeries as a result of this condition. OA generally affects middle-aged and older individuals and is a slow, progressive degenerative disease that wears away the cartilage of the joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) will typically take a toll on both of the sufferer's knees. This inflammatory type of arthritis destroys joint cartilage, making those who have RA prime candidates for knee replacement surgery.
Finally, those who suffer from post-traumatic arthritis may also find themselves good candidates for joint replacement surgery. This type of arthritis develops after an injury to the knee, such as a sports injury, a car accident, or even a slip and fall around the home. Generally, this type of arthritis will develop over time in the knee and not be recognized until years after the injury has occurred.
Hip Replacement Surgery
The hip is one of the largest joints in the body, and when something goes awry with it, the entire body is impacted. Hip problems can seriously impact one's ability to carry out day-to-day activities, affecting balance and mobility. More than 168,000 people have hip replacement surgeries each year in order to get rid of hip pain and improve their quality of daily life.
Those with osteoarthritis are typically the main candidates for a hip replacement. This is because OA tends to take a toll on joints that carry an individual's weight, as the hip does. The "wear and tear" sustained by this joint often develops into OA and many sufferers eventually choose to have the joint replaced.