Florida is setting up plans to reopen hospitals for elective surgeries such as total joint replacements. How can you tell if you are ready for the surgical option? These 5 signs can help you determine if it’s time to start thinking about surgery.
If your joint pain has steadily been getting worse and you have pain even at rest- surgery could be an option. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that commonly leads to joint replacements, and cartilage breakdown can not regenerate. Therefore, if your joint pain is consistent whether you are active or at rest, there is a high probability you have significant damage to the cartilage surrounding the joint.
Any feeling of instability or balance problems due to joint function is an indicator that you might need a total joint replacement. Several factors can lead to these issues including bone spurs, increased pain, ligament damage, and muscle weakness due to inactivity. Often times instability due to prior ligament damage can even increase the damage from osteoarthritis. Stability issues can also increase falls risk- adding more problems with the possibility of fracture with falls.
If you are no longer able to perform your normal activities of daily life or normal physical activities for your age that joint replacement might be an option. Joint pain can keep you from exercising adequately and cause you to live a sedentary lifestyle. With lack of activity, secondary conditions can develop from an increase in cortisol levels and decreased in aerobic activity. Reducing pain with joint replacement surgery help you prevent other conditions such as obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes.
Joint replacements typically last 10-15 years. There are some cases with complications where the joint would need to be revised, but other cases have been known to last over 20 years. Because the surgery replaces the damaged components of the joint with a new smooth surface, pain does not come back quickly. Pain and swelling is relieved and typically does not become an issue long term.
Although total joint replacement can provide life-changing benefits for many patients, it should not be the first option. Patients suffering from joint pain should try conservative treatments first to see if they can provide relief. Treatments such as physical therapy, injections, medications can be helpful for many patients. That being said, if conservative treatments have been tried without much success- it could be time for a joint replacement.
It’s important to consult with an experience joint replacement surgeon to determine if surgery is right for you. Right now the Heekin Clinic is open for appointments within the social distancing guidelines as well as TELEHEALTH visits with our orthopedic professionals. Contact the Heekin Clinic today to schedule.