Regardless of how difficult severe knee or hip pain is making their lives, many of my patients remain reluctant about the idea of having a joint replacement. Perhaps they think that the procedure makes them “officially old” or that the hassle of a surgery is not worth the result. It’s regrettable, because a hip or knee replacement can have a big impact on the way patients are able to function on a day-to-day basis. It many cases, a new joint can be life changing.
Knee and hip replacements are no longer just for those in their “golden years.” If you’re one of those “stubborn New Yorkers” still debating getting a joint replacement, it might help to know that they are growing in popularity — including among adults under the age of 65 — and that surgical techniques have vastly improved to get you moving pain free in a matter of months. As technology has changed around us, so have replacement joints. Today’s models are built stronger and made to last longer — often 20 or more years. Compare that to earlier models whose lifetimes were closer to 15 years and would sometimes need to be removed and replaced before a patient was done with them. So if you’re thinking that waiting longer will save you the pain of a revision surgery down the line, think again. You might be waiting in vain and missing out on activity in the present because of worries about the future.
Here are a few ideal candidates for the surgeries. Are you one of them?
It’s so fun to watch your adult children have little ones of their own! Seeing them hit milestones, helping them with school projects, attending sporting events, and bragging about it all to friends can be incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately, hip and knee joint pain can sometimes limit interactions with active kids. For many of my patients, a joint replacement is a way to get back to doting on grandchildren without added aches.
You’re officially retired. Congratulations! But these days, retirement doesn’t mean just kicking back and relaxing. Many retirees are instead launching their dream businesses — the ones they thought up while working nine to five and now have time to invest energy in. If you fall under this category, you won’t want something like sore joints holding you back.
Thanks to rec leagues, corporate cultures that encourage work-life balance through physical activity, 24-hour gyms, video-streamed workouts, and companies devoted to the concept of athleisure-wear, maintaining a life full of fitness has never been easier. Unfortunately, all that movement can cause havoc in your joints, especially if workouts have always been a part of your routine and your joints are beginning to naturally deteriorate. Joint replacements are a way to get back into the game, whether that means pick-up basketball, ballroom dancing, hiking, or something else. Implant surgery is not longer salvage surgery but rather quality of life surgery.
A joint replacement is no walk in the park, but the way we approach hip and knee replacement surgeries is more researched and successful than ever before. Don’t just deal with the problems that can arise from joint pain. Instead, tackle them head on.