There’s no one factor that ensures joint replacement surgery is necessary. For some people, joint pain is completely debilitating. For others, pain manifests itself as an achy joint when it’s raining. Joint replacement is only appropriate for patients with certain disease states, bony deformities, or specific injuries. The first step to find out if joint replacement is right for you is to see a doctor who can analyze the cause of your joint pain. Joint pain can be caused by soft tissue injuries for which joint replacement is not an appropriate treatment.
Whether you’ve suffered from joint pain for years or just days, here are a few signs that it may be time to start a conversation with your doctor:
Always getting in the way, your joint pain has no respect for your social life. Grandkids’ birthday parties. Sunday barbecues. Your annual guys-weekend-golf-extravaganza. They’re all victims of your aching joint. It rains… your joint hurts. You sleep… your joint hurts. What used to be a minor annoyance seems to have gotten worse. Sometimes you wonder if the pain’s ever going to end. If pain is interfering with your daily activities, talk to your doctor about your options and associated risks. Sometimes, medication or physical therapy can offer enough support to get you comfortable again. If not, your pain could be due to bone and cartilage deterioration and it may be time to consider joint replacement surgery.
Ah, yes… stairs. You used to bound up and down them like a nimble
kangaroo, but lately you feel more like a three-toed sloth. Bathtubs,
chairs, and car seats all present a new and unfriendly challenge.
Remember the remote control you dropped behind the sofa this morning?
Yep, it’s still there waiting to be rescued. But your leg just doesn’t
bend that low anymore. If your movement is becoming more and more
restricted, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
One day you’re sewing a button back on your favorite shirt, the next
day your fingers look like sausage links. While joint swelling could
be a symptom of multiple ailments, it could be a sign it’s time to
talk to your doctor about joint replacement surgery or other
treatments that may be right for you.
At the time, it was your badge of honor. The keeper was no
competition for your game-winning penalty. It was that right-back who
slide-tackled you two seconds too late causing you to tear your ACL.
Over time, old injuries can cause uneven wear on your joint that leads
to pain. If you suffered a previous injury or trauma, it might be time
to discuss its progression with your doctor.
While genetics don’t play a sole
role in determining whether or not
you will struggle with arthritis, they can predisposition you to
certain types. If arthritis runs in your family, talk to your doctor
about your risks and whether or not your joint pain could be caused
If any of these scenarios resonate with you, talk to your doctor about your options. Your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who will help you determine if you’re a candidate for joint replacement surgery and can discuss any associated risks. They may first suggest alternative, less invasive treatments depending on the condition of your joint. Joint replacement surgery may not be appropriate if you have an infection, if you don't have a bone condition (such as arthritis), do not have enough bone, or the bone is not strong enough to support an artificial joint.