In last week’s joint pain article, we talked about one woman’s inspiring story about how joint replacement surgery changed her life. This week, we talk about which joints are most commonly replaced and some joints that can be replaced you may not be aware of.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The purpose of a joint replacements is to get rid of joint pain and stiffness, the need for daily medication use, and to help restore your daily functionality. Joint replacements allow people to remain independent in their personal and professional lives. This means not having to rely upon others to live a normal life. The joints that have the greatest influence on independence are the hip and knee, and to a lesser extent, the shoulder. These joints are the most common to be replaced each year worldwide.
The first knee replacement surgeries were performed in 1968. Today, more than 700,000 knee replacements are done each year in the U.S. alone. Most people choose to have knee replacement surgery when exercise, medication, and physical therapy no longer help. Most commonly when the knee is preventing them from doing the activities they enjoy.
Knee replacement surgeries usually take 1 to 2 hours where a surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the knee joint, attaches metal implants that “replace” those damaged areas. It’s important to note that the important muscles and ligaments that support the joint remain intact and can be used immediately after surgery to move the joint and even walk on it within a few hours post-surgery.
Hips were the first joints to be replaced with what are called modern hip replacements. Many of the first hips replacements lasted longer than predicted. During a hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the “ball and socket” that make up the hip joint and replace them with metal or ceramic components. As with knee replacements, hip replacements take 1 to 2 hours and the patient can get up and start physical therapy within a few hours post-surgery.
The first shoulder replacements were performed in the 1950s to relieve pain from severe arthritis or fractures. The early versions did not do much to restore range of motion, strength, or function. That has changed a lot in the intervening 60 years. Now a shoulder replacement surgical patient can expect to get most of their basic shoulder functionality back if physical therapy is utilized post-surgery.
Shoulder surgery is less common than hip or knee surgery but still accounts for about 50,000 surgeries performed in the U.S. each year. There are many different types of shoulder replacements from resurfacing one side of the joint to a “reverse” shoulder replacement where the ball and socket configuration are reversed.
Other Joint Replacements
Ankles, wrists, finger joints, and elbows can all be replaced. These types of surgeries are done less frequently in part because injury or disease in these joints does not threaten independence as much as the hips, knees, and shoulders. Usually these joints are replaced where a disease like rheumatoid arthritis or a severe injury has made the joint very painful or non-functioning.
As technology advances and techniques and materials improve, joint replacements are becoming better at restoring normal function to diseased joints and allowing patients to continue with life in the manner they choose. Click here to see how Avala utilize robotics in joint replacement surgeries.
In next week’s article on joint replacements, we will share information about things you should consider when preparing for a joint replacement.
Do you have questions about Avala Physical Therapy or one of its programs? Call and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Physical Therapist experts today at 985.801.6265.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something useful in this week’s article. Check in next week for more tips and tricks on how to get healthy and stay that way.Paul Jones, Director of Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation Services
Avala Physical Therapy