When you’re healthy and moving well, you may not give your joints much thought. Your shoulders and elbows lift and reach, your hips swivel and sway and your knees and ankles carry you up the stairs and down sidewalks.
But when arthritis, injury or another illness or condition affects these important structures, you may find your life limited. The activities you love — from gardening to cradling a child to just getting into a bath or shower — grow difficult.
And while you might have felt you had to put some health concerns on hold for a while, we want you to know we are here to heal and keep you safe whenever you’re ready.
If you’re experiencing joint pain, our orthopedic specialists are here to offer solutions. While they often aim to use conservative treatment first, there are times when partial or full joint replacement represents the best option.
When Joints Break Down
Normally, joints allow you to travel through your day with fluid motion. But wear and tear over years of use, diseases like osteoarthritis or injuries can increase pain, swelling and stiffness.
Your orthopedic specialist may first try conservative treatments. These can include:
Braces, canes or other aids
Medications and vitamin supplements
From there, your orthopedic specialist might recommend a minimally invasive procedure to realign your joints, fix them in place or reconstruct them.
But sometimes, these measures aren’t enough to get you moving freely again and your physician may recommend joint replacement surgery.
How Joint Replacement Surgery Works
With joint replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon removes a damaged joint and puts in a new one made of plastic, metal or ceramic parts.
Hip replacement surgeries are the most common, but other joint replacements include:
Ankle replacement surgery
Elbow joint replacement, or elbow arthroplasty
Knee replacement implants
Shoulder joint replacement
Wrist replacement surgery
During these procedures, you’ll typically come to the hospital and receive medicine so you don’t feel pain. Then, your orthopedic surgeon will replace your painful joint with a new, man-made one through a surgical procedure.
Then, you’ll begin your recovery and begin rehabilitation and physical therapy at home or in a clinic. Often, physical therapy will begin the day after your operation. Depending on your condition and procedure, you might even move or begin exercising again, with guidance, the same day of your surgery.
How to Know When Joint Replacement is for You
Working closely with your health care team is the best way to know if joint replacement surgery is a solution for your joint pain. To assess your condition, your orthopedic specialist may first recommend a serious of diagnostic tests or procedures to examine your joint health, including:
Placing an arthroscope — a small, lighted tube — into your joint
Testing a small sample of your tissue
Using X-ray or another technique to look at your joints
Your orthopedic specialist is there to answer all your questions about managing your pain and choosing a treatment. If your physician suggests joint replacement, he or she believes this offers you the best chance to reduce your pain and increase your comfort and mobility.
Your medical team will work with you to schedule your surgery. In most cases, there’s no need to delay. In fact, waiting on surgery may prolong your pain and make everyday activities increasingly challenging.
Easing Your Concerns About the Safety of Medical Care
You might feel concerned about coming into the hospital for surgery — and we understand. So, we want you to know your health and safety matter more to us than anything else.
With that in mind, we’ve made some changes to our hospital policies and procedures to keep you safe. You’ll notice them when you come into your physician’s office, undergo diagnostic testing or arrive at the hospital for surgery. These include:
Appropriate protection. Every person involved in your care — from the receptionist who greets you to the orthopedic surgeon who operates — will wear the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). You, and any visitor permitted, will also be asked to wear a mask.
Safe, separate care. You’ll have your surgery — and any preparation, follow-up or recovery care — in a treatment area separate from anyone who has symptoms of respiratory infection.
Social distancing practices. We’ve spaced out our chairs to allow space between you and other patients in our waiting and common areas. You’ll also see stickers on the floor marking a safe social distance.
Thorough screening. Everyone who enters the building will have their temperature checked. In addition, all our team members are screened for symptoms of infection, every day.
Visitor limitations. Visitation policies vary by hospital and facility. But in most cases, you can still have one friend or family member come to see you. By limiting visitors, we’re keeping everyone safer.
We’re Here for You When You’re Ready
If you’re experiencing joint pain, it could be time to consider healing. And when you’re ready to trust our leading orthopedic experts, they will be here for you with a compassionate spirit, pioneering surgery options and safe facilities and practices.
Learn more about our Orthopedic Care and how we can help you restore your vibrant, active life.