One of the most impressive healthcare developments in history is the humble joint replacement. Many people are able to take a joint that is extremely painful and dysfunctional and give it a whole new lease on life.
The improvements in this surgery over the last few decades have meant that success rates for joint replacement surgery, particularly hip and knee replacements are even higher than ever. If you are struggling with joint pain related to arthritis, it can be difficult to know when to make the move. Here are a few things to consider before going for that surgical consult.
Don’t assume pain is permanent once you hear the word arthritis
Pain is a complex beast and is usually never caused by one single thing. Most people will have some amount of arthritis in their joints past the age of 50, whether or not this is what is causing your pain will be unclear without first seeking physiotherapy treatment.
Many people have some level of degeneration in their joints without experiencing much discomfort at all. It’s possible that an analysis of biomechanics, strengthening and manual therapy could all improve your symptoms significantly, even if osteoarthritis is present. A trial of physiotherapy treatment is recommended before surgery in most cases.
Pre-surgical strength and fitness are important
This means two things, first of all, your strength or exercise program before surgery will set you up for much better results. The second thing is that choosing when to have the surgery means not necessarily waiting until the pain is unbearable before going ahead, as time spent in significant pain can reduce your overall strength and fitness while also putting more stress on other joints.
Research the risks and side effects
While surgical outcomes are continually improving, no surgery comes without risks and some people will have ongoing pain and stiffness even after their surgery. It is important to make an informed decision about when and if you should have a joint replacement.
If you are considering a joint replacement, speak to your physiotherapist about all the ways they can support you through your journey and help you come to an informed decision about what is right for you.
None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.
Physio Direct is ACC accredited so you can come to us directly to get an injury registered with ACC without having to go to your GP first, followed by an assessment, treatment and follow up review, to ensure correct care and recovery. Physio Direct can also refer you directly for Cortisone injections, X-Rays and Ultra Sound Scans and on to Specialists if needed.
Please feel free to print out these news letters and put the in the staffroom and hand them out to your team. Understanding more about injuries, gives people the power to prevent an injury from occurring in the first place. Prevention and education is the key!