Patrick A. Meere, M.D.

Signs you’ll need a joint replacement

As knee and hip joint replacements become more and more common in the New York area and across the nation, we are starting to understand some of the reasons a person might need one to begin with. Although there are no guarantees that person will or will not at some point need a joint replacement surgery, there are some signs that might indicate one will take place down the line. If any of the following conditions fit your situation, you might be a future candidate.

You’re already showing signs of arthritis

One of the most common reasons a person needs a hip or knee replacement is bad arthritis, which progressively wears away at healthy cartilage. While arthritis is just a natural part of aging, some people seem to have it worse than others. Arthritis develops slowly over time, but when it appears, it can be quite painful. Common activities, like standing after sitting in a chair, ascending stairs, or even just sitting down, might trigger the pain. You may also noticed swelling, buckling, or excessive cracking and popping coming from your joint. These early stages of arthritis are an indicator that it could worsen with time.

You are overweight

Weight does not always determine whether a patient will need a knee or hip replacement, but those who are obese or overweight put more pressure on their joints. Over time, this pressure can strain a hip or knee, weakening it enough that a replacement would be a great relief. Unfortunately, sore joints generally make exercise painful and thus complicate workout routines that could alleviate the problem. If you are in this situation, working with a professional trainer or physician might be a way to take off some pounds and better preserve your joints.

Your job or fitness routine requires a lot of joint movements

Sudden jolts, abrupt movements, and strenuous lifts can take a toll on your body–and your joints in particular–as time passes. If you are in a profession where prolonged standing, carrying heavy objects, or other rigorous movement is an everyday environmental hazard, you might be putting yourself at risk for developing joint issues down the line.

You’ve had a partial replacement or previous arthroscopy work in the past

Partial knee replacements and arthroscopic work such as meniscal or cartilage repair are a perfect solution for my patients who have just a little bit of damage in their joint and want to keep as much of its natural components as possible during the procedure. Partial jobs are not perfect, however.  Nor are they intended to provide long term solutions. If you get one early enough in your life, chances are likely that you will need a more complex full replacement down the line. This has less to do with the partial replacement itself, and more to do with the general state of your knee, which will still be susceptible to conditions like arthritis and physical injuries.

There’s no perfect predictor to determine whether or not you will need a joint replacement surgery. The best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and adapt your lifestyle to better accommodate your knees and hips. If you have any questions about the joint replacement procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out.