Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, offering a host of potential mental and physical health benefits. Unfortunately, pain in the joints involved in walking can sidetrack even the most determined walker's routine.
Although many injuries and conditions can impair your ability to walk, osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes as we age – affecting more than 21 million Americans. Often called “wear and tear arthritis,” osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage, usually in the large, weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Results are stiffness and joint pain as well as decreased range of motion – making walking and everyday activities difficult.
If your hip or knee pain is severe and hasn't responded to traditional treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, consult with your primary care doctor or an orthopaedic surgeon who can assess your health concerns and determine if joint replacement is appropriate for you.
What Can I Expect?
Joint replacement involves removing the damaged bone and cartilage and replacing these surfaces with new parts made of metal, plastic and/or ceramic. There are many different styles and techniques that can be used to place the implants, and your surgeon will recommend what method is best for you. In addition to traditional joint replacement surgery, some innovative variations for joint replacement are available at Holland Hospital for appropriate candidates:
After joint replacement surgery, patients typically stay in the hospital for two or three days and begin their rehabilitation in the hospital setting. Rehabilitation continues at home or on an outpatient basis after the patient leaves the hospital to strengthen muscles and maintain range of movement. Once recovered, patients notice an improvement in mobility and are typically pain-free when doing normal daily activities.