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Don’t put off a joint replacement–get back to living your best life

 Are you avoiding a needed hip or knee replacement out of fear of losing the ability to do the things you love? If so, I have a question for you: Are you still able to do those things with the ease that you could in past years, or is the pain that comes with your arthritic joints catching up to you and getting in the way? Many of my patients are pleasantly surprised to learn that a hip or knee joint surgery does not have to mark the end of their activity. In fact, in many instances, it allows patients to more easily get out and do the things that they enjoy the most.

A recent first-person article in the New York Times highlighted a woman who had a knee replacement and decided to get back into skiing, a favorite activity that she had mostly given up on thanks to joint issues and muscle damage. The piece is a great glimpse into life post-joint replacement. While on the slopes, the author meets several individuals who have also had joint surgery and aren’t letting it stop them from their beloved activity. This is definitely reflective of the patients that I treat, too. Most of them have passions, like gardening, dancing, hiking, or just playing with grandchildren, that they are worried about sacrificing between recovery time and long-term effects. Yes, a joint replacement is a serious procedure and the decision to have one should not be taken lightly, but what they don’t always understand is that modern joint replacements are incredibly efficient and have reasonably quick healing times.

The author also reflects on age and wonders if a knee replacement before turning 60 is too soon. What she learns is that getting a procedure earlier in life is no longer that uncommon, especially as baby boomers continue to stay active well beyond retirement years.

If you are also questioning whether you should wait longer for a surgery, keep in mind that there are options beyond a full replacement. This includes partial knee replacement surgery, where only one compartment or area of the knee needs repair, keeping key ligaments and optimal balancing and function preserved. In hips, this could mean joint resurfacing, where a metal cap is fitted onto the existing bone, preserving it and allowing for continued natural range of motion while still permitting full loading and vigorous activity.

A joint replacement surgery does not mean that you will be sent to an early retirement in your rocking chair. On the contrary, it can open the doors back up to worlds that you thought were now far beyond your reach. If you’re on the fence about booking a procedure, call or make an appointment with me to discuss your options. You might be surprised by what is possible!

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