When is it time for a joint replacement?
by Dr. James Grace, OSMS orthopedic surgeon and owner
Green Bay native and board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Grace has been serving OSMS patients for over 30 years. He is an expert in orthopedic conditions and treatments and has performed thousands of joint replacement surgeries over the years.
Dr. Grace performs surgeries at Bellin Orthopedic Surgery Center, Bellin Hospital and St. Vincent Hospital.
Over the years, total joint replacements have grown in popularity due to technological advancements, high success rates, the baby boomer population getting older, younger individuals living active lifestyles, among other factors.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), total joint replacement procedures are expected to increase even more in the next decade. In fact, total hip and knee replacements alone are expected to grow by 171% and 189% respectively by 2030. In my career, I have performed over 10,000 total hip, knee and shoulder replacements.
Orthopedic physicians determine the best time to have a joint replacement by a number of factors. First, we explore non-surgical treatment options such as injections, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, or physical therapy. Every patient is different and must be treated as such. Although one treatment method may work for one patient, it might not for another.
While many musculoskeletal conditions can be managed without surgery, some patients simply do not find relief with these treatments. If a patient is still experiencing pain in their joint after other methods, I will consider a joint replacement.
Total Hip Replacement
Total hip replacements are typically performed on patients who are between 50-80 years old; however, there is no age or weight restriction for this procedure. Hip replacements have been successfully performed on young and older patients.
Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic hip pain, and patients who experience pain when sitting or sleeping might be candidates for a total hip replacement. If there are limitations in being able to do normal functions like bearing weight on one side, climbing stairs or even simply walking and bending over, I will discuss a total hip replacement with the patient.
Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacements, another popular procedure, are similar to total hip replacements as there are no age or weight restrictions for surgery. The typical demographic also lies between 50-80 years old, but the procedure has been performed on all ages.
Total knee replacement patients might suffer from arthritis or could have sustained an injury to their knee. After nonsurgical options have been explored, I may recommend surgery if the pain limits a patient’s ability to do normal activities ̶ like walking and climbing stairs ̶ or if pain is still present while resting or sleeping.
The shoulder is a very sensitive joint, which is why many people experience terrible pain after a shoulder injury. I encourage anyone who is having frequent, moderate to severe shoulder pain to consult with an orthopedic physician to evaluate the severity of the injury. Some patients will also develop shoulder pain due to age, arthritis or continual wear and tear.
Shoulder arthritis patients will experience pain, stiffness and weakness in their shoulder preceding surgery. It’s be time to consider a shoulder replacement if you are unable to perform normal daily activities, such as dressing yourself or reaching to grab something off of a shelf.
Even if symptoms are not as severe as those mentioned above, I still recommend making an appointment with an orthopedic physician if you are experiencing joint pain. I am always happy to see patients no matter what level of care they need.
Request an appointment with me at our Green Bay clinic here.
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