Health Care

When Joints Break Down

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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
  • Injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Activity modification

If these conservative treatments fail and the patient continues to have pain which affects their quality of life, it may be time to consider a joint replacement.

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.

We’re Here for You When You’re Ready
If you’re experiencing joint pain, it could be time to consider healing. Count on our team of orthopedic specialists at AdventHealth North Pinellas to help relieve your pain. With nationally recognized, board-certified experts and the latest minimally invasive orthopedic treatments, we have the tools and the expertise to find long-term solutions for you. Learn more about our orthopedic care and how we can help you restore your vibrant, active life.

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