Four Signs You May Need a Joint Replacement
BY HANNAH ROPP
Living with chronic joint pain can certainly affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the things you love. But, it doesn’t have to. There are several treatment options available for chronic joint pain, including joint replacements.
Orthopedic surgeon Tom Meade, MD, with Coordinated Health, part of Lehigh Valley Health Network says joint replacement procedures can help eliminate joint pain and restore your quality of life. “Joint replacements are one of the most common elective surgeries performed in the United States and have a very high success rate. I’ve had patients who could barely walk return to everything from walking with their spouses and playing with their grandkids to skydiving and skiing after having knee replacements,” Meade says.
While joint replacements are common, they are not the first course of action when it comes to treating joint pain. According to Eric Lebby, MD, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at LVHN and orthopedic surgeon with LVPG Orthopedics, other more conservative treatment options are considered before a joint replacement.
“If you come in with chronic joint pain, we rarely recommend a joint replacement without trying more conservative treatment options first. Some of those options include natural supplements, exercise therapy, medications, and injection therapy. When all of those fail to relieve the issue, it may be time to consider a joint replacement,” Lebby says.
Do you think that you could be a candidate for a joint replacement, but aren’t sure? Check out Lebby’s and Meade’s signs that you could be ready for a joint replacement.
You need help completing daily tasks
If you need help completing daily tasks because of joint pain, you may be a good candidate for a joint replacement. These tasks may include anything from walking up and down stairs to taking out the garbage.
Your joint pain keeps you awake
Significant joint pain that keeps you awake at night despite the use of medication is a good indication that it may be time to consider a joint replacement. Also, if you have joint pain that isn’t relieved by rest, you may want to talk to an orthopedic surgeon.
You’ve exhausted other treatment options
There are a variety of non-surgical options when it comes to treating your joint pain including rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections. If you have already tried these options, or spoken to your doctor and he/she said these options are unlikely to help, a joint replacement may be a good option.
You have advanced osteoarthritis or joint damage
Lebby says that if you have had imaging studies that show advanced osteoarthritis or significant joint damage that you feel is wearing you down physically, emotionally and mentally, you should talk to your orthopedic surgeon about the benefits of a joint replacement.
Now is the time to manage your joint pain. To request an appointment, call 888-402-LVHN or visit LVHN.org/jointpainappointment.