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.
“When joint pain starts, you’ll notice that it becomes much more difficult to perform daily tasks or participate in your hobbies,” said Stephen King, MD, of AdventHealth Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. “That’s when it’s time to visit an orthopedic specialist.”
If you’re experiencing joint pain, the specialists at AdventHealth Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine 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
- Physical therapy
From there, your orthopedic specialist might recommend a minimally invasive procedure to realign your joints, fix them in place or reconstruct them.
“It’s important to try conservative methods first,” said Dr. King. “But sometimes, these measures aren’t enough, and a joint replacement surgery might be necessary.”
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:
- Knee replacement
- Shoulder replacement
- Ankle replacement
- Elbow replacement or elbow arthroplasty
- Wrist replacement
During these procedures, your orthopedic surgeon will replace your painful joint with a new, man-made one. 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 series 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.
“Don’t delay your surgery if you’ve been recommended to have a joint replacement,” said Dr. King. “Waiting on surgery may prolong your pain and make everyday activities increasingly challenging.”
Find Healing for Your Joint Pain
If you’re experiencing joint pain, it could be time to consider healing. And when you’re ready, trust the leading orthopedic experts at AdventHealth Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to be there for you with compassionate spirit, pioneering surgery options and safe facilities and practices.
Learn more about orthopedic care and how you can restore your vibrant, active life at AdventHealthGordon.com/ortho.
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