Joint Replacement

Is it time for joint replacement?

Even when your knee or hip is in chronic pain, it’s not always easy to decide whether it’s time to seek joint replacement surgery. Are you giving in too soon? Are you holding out too long? If you’re in your mid-50s to early 60s, it may seem way too early to take the step, even to ease the pain of arthritis. But when your pain keeps getting worse, and you’ve exhausted other options, postponing surgery might feel like torture. Ultimately, when it comes to having a knee or hip replaced, it all boils down to how much it hurts and how much it is affecting your life.

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon or call our orthopedic coordinator at 470-BONE to discuss your options and get back to living.

These are six signs that it’s time for surgery:

  1. You can no longer complete routine daily tasks without help.
  2. You have osteoarthritis and feel the disease is wearing you down physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  3. You have significant pain, like pain that keeps you awake at night despite the use of medications, pain that keeps you from being able to walk or bend over, pain that isn’t relieved by rest, or pain that isn’t helped by non-surgical approaches.
  4. Your doctor says that less-complicated surgical procedures are unlikely to help.
  5. You are suffering severe side effects from the medications for your painful knee or hip.
  6. Tests show advanced arthritis or significant joint damage.

Every year, more than one million Americans replace a hip or knee, according to National Institutes of Health statistics. Most outcomes are very positive with the recipient usually feeling like they have a new lease on life. However, before you make up your mind, consult one of our physicians, carefully consider the benefits and risks, and get a second opinion. It’s your decision, so feel good about it!

FAQs regarding joint replacement surgery

Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: Typically 1 or 2 nights

Q: When do I return to work? Activities?
A: Typically 4-6 weeks, depending on your level of activity prior

Q: Where do I go after surgery?
A: After your hospital stay, your surgeon will determine if you are a candidate for outpatient physical therapy or home health.

Q: What equipment will I need for home?
A: Most hip and knee replacements require a rolling    walker and a bedside commode for home use. Case management makes these arrangements.

Q: Will I have pain after surgery?

A: Yes, but we will keep you comfortable with appropriate medication. Generally most patients are able to stop very strong medication within one day. The day of surgery, most patients control their own medicine with a special pump that delivers the drug directly into their IV. Your surgeon will discuss with you what pain control option is best for you.

Arthritis or Injury? Know the Symptoms

If you’ve taken a fall, bumped a joint or engaged in activity that’s left you feeling sore, it’s possible you have sustained an injury. Persistent pain could also indicate arthritis—take note of your symptoms and speak to a doctor. If you notice any of the symptoms listed to the right, you could be experiencing arthritis pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common 
type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which involves 
wear-and-tear damage to joint cartilage. This 
causes bone to grind against bone, resulting in 
pain and restricted movement.

In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks joint capsule lining, which encases joint parts. This disease can eventually destroy cartilage and bone.