Treatment for Arthritis and Total Joint Replacement

Total joint replacement is one option for people who are struggling with activities of daily living due to advanced arthritis. This is something more common among seniors and typically considered when a person experiences severe joint pain due to damaged cartilage.

During joint replacement surgery, the arthritic joint is removed and replaced by a new metallic prosthesis.  Joint replacements are most often made out of metal alloys like titanium or cobalt chrome.  The cushioning between the metal components is constructed from a strong plastic similar to the type used to make airplanes and boats.

Typically joint replacements can two up to two decades. Over time, the prosthesis starts to loosen when the plastic part of the joint begins to wear out.

If you are considering joint replacement surgery, you might want to know what your activity level will be following the procedure.  While you might experience some pain after the joint replacement surgery as your body’s tissue heals and your weakened muscles strengthen, this generally lasts for a brief period of time.

While people who have hip replacement surgery or knee replacement are typically able to return to sports activity, it is noteworthy that increased activity may have some negative consequences, especially high impact activity.  Research suggests that joints wear out faster among more active people when compared to those who lead less active lives. High impact activities like backpacking, basketball, and competitive tennis, tend to increase the risk of wear on replaced joints while lower impact activities like golf, walking, swimming, and bicycling have less of a deleterious effect.

The benefits of physical activity following joint replacement are widely recognized, since physical activity reduces the incidence of weight gain and heart disease, while keeping muscles strong. Low impact activity may be ideal since it minimizes strain on the joints.

If you or someone you love is in pain and is seeking treatment for arthritis, you should consult a board certified orthopedic surgeon for an examination like Louisville Orthopaedic Specialists.  X-rays and other lab testing will be required in order to identify the severity of the joint damage and to determine next steps in terms of treatment options.

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