Joint Replacements: An Answer to Aging Joints
Arthritic joints no longer mean you have to stop being active. Learn about the great advances in joint replacements.
Contributor: Brett William McCoy
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It’s a great time to be a baby boomer. Arthritic joints no longer mean you have to stop being active. Even though arthritis is the leading cause of disability in this country — affecting more than half of all 60-year-olds — today’s artificial joints are meeting and exceeding people’s expectations for a full return to regular activities.
This is good news for an active generation that has no intention of slowing down – especially because by 2030, Americans 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population.
When patients with arthritic hips and knees no longer respond to conservative care such as medications and physical therapy, orthopaedic surgeons can replace these joints.
Hip and knee replacements, in particular, are among the most successful and satisfying surgical procedures for patients. We can often relieve pain and restore function, with great attention to safely and accuracy so we can minimize complications.
There have been many advances in joint replacement since the 1960s, when these procedures were first performed. They include:
It’s important to think of surgery as the last resort once all other rehabilitative options are exhausted. However, if you do need joint replacement, the good news is that the innovations have made these procedures safer and the rehabilitation time quicker than ever before — often allowing people to return to high levels of activity.