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5 Reasons You May Need a Joint Replacement

By: Dr. Zackary Byrd

Every year, more than 1 million Americans have a joint replacement due to joint pain — a number that is expected to grow to nearly 4 million by 2030.

If you struggle with joint pain related to conditions such as arthritis, it can be hard to tell whether your symptoms mean that surgery is on the horizon. Knowing what to watch for can help you understand if a joint replacement is right for you.

Osteoarthritis: The Leading Cause

Not only is osteoarthritis extremely common, affecting over 32 million adults in the United States, it is also the most common reason why people seek joint replacement.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage in your joints begins to degenerate, leading to inflammation. The combination of degeneration and inflammation that occurs from osteoarthritis is what causes joints to become painful.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain in the knees, hips, hands, wrists, shoulders, elbows, ankles and lower back
  • Stiffness, swelling and tenderness in the joints
  • Loss of flexibility and range of motion in the joints
  • Crackling sounds or a grating sensation in the joints

Because osteoarthritis gets worse over time and can’t be reversed, people with this disease may reach a point where joint pain and other symptoms interfere with their ability to perform everyday activities.

If these symptoms can’t be managed with non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, weight loss, medication, or injections, it may be time to consider surgery.joint replacement surgery

Other Reasons for Joint Pain

While osteoarthritis is the biggest reason why a person might need a joint replaced, it’s far from the only one. Other conditions or circumstances that may necessitate joint replacement include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine
  • Joint injuries caused by trauma (car accidents, falls, etc.)
  • Congenital joint deformities

Whatever the reason, if a joint is causing you pain to the point that you’re unable to live your life the way you want to, you may be a good candidate.

Life After a Joint Replacement: What to Expect

When considering joint replacement, many people wonder about whether they’ll have to give up activities they enjoy. Fortunately, technology and science around joint replacement have advanced to the point that most people can return to everything they loved doing before surgery, from gardening to swimming to running — without severe joint pain.

Technological advances have also alleviated concerns about how long a replacement joint will last. Back in the 1990s and the early 2000s, orthopedic specialists didn’t have the material technology that we’re currently using, meaning some replaced joints would wear out and need to be replaced at some point. Thanks to newer materials, joint replacements are lasting longer. The goal is to give you a joint that will last a lifetime.

When Joint Pain Is Worth A Doctor Visit

Whether caused by arthritis or other conditions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chalking joint pain up as a given — something that comes with the territory of aging and must therefore be tolerated.

But if joint pain is holding you back from the things you need and want to do, you don’t have to live with it. Schedule a consultation with a joint replacement expert at JIS Orthopedics today to live without limits!

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