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What happens when you delay a joint replacement?

I understand that getting a hip or knee replacement can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Joint replacements are a major surgery, and they should not be taken lightly. You might feel concerned about how it will impact your life or the amount of recovery time it will require. Maybe you have heard concerning stories from family, friends, and even strangers online or in articles. I always want to make sure that my patients are comfortable with a procedure before we move forward. That’s why I take time to explain both exactly what will happen during any surgery, and the level of experience I have in the field. Many individuals take comfort when they realize the positive reputation I have in the New York area and beyond.

Of course, sometimes a procedure must be delayed for reasons beyond human control. Perhaps you want to wait until after retirement or a special family event. Maybe you need to lose a little weight before moving forward with surgery. In some cases, it’s possible to delay the joint replacement for a time. However, putting it off for a significant period can have frustrating and even damaging effects. Here are a few reasons why you should not delay the surgery for longer than needed.

It throws off the rest of your body

When one part of your body is damaged or otherwise weak, other parts have to work overtime to keep up. If your hip or knee is bothering you, you might find yourself placing more weight on  other joints. This can cause those other parts to be more strained and possibly succumb to injury. For example, if you have hip issues, you might experience back pain. If your left knee aches, you’re right one might start to, too. Furthermore, if problem joints keep you from exercising and moving how you normally do, you are more susceptible to weight gain and the complications that come with it, like heart disease, low endurance, cardiac issues, and diabetes.

Your can strength decline

If arthritis is the cause of your hip or knee woes, the muscle that surrounds your joints might also begin to weaken. This can cause issues with rehabilitation after your joint replacement, and in some cases, muscle never gets back to its original level of strength. You can overcome this by continuing to move in normal ways, but that will likely come with excessive pain.

Things might get worse

Waiting a few months or even a couple of years for a joint replacement won’t get you into too much trouble, but waiting too long can put you at an increased risk for developing more-deformed joints. This can be as minor as increased pain or as severe as knocked knees and shorter leg length. The more complicated the deformity, the more complicated your inevitable surgery will be.

A joint replacement might sound frustrating, but the results are life-changing. If you have concerns about a potential surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out. We would never recommend a treatment that we don’t feel it’s in your best interest.

Posted in: Joint Replacement

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