Life with debilitating hip or knee pain interferes with your overall quality of life. Hip and knee arthritis are a leading cause of disability, ultimately resulting in persistent pain and decreased activity level for patients with these problems. When non-surgical treatments for these conditions fail, partial joint replacement or total joint replacement surgery may be an option for you. Historically, joint replacement surgery has been incredibly successful for the many patients that have undergone the procedure. The procedure is so successful, that in the United States alone, nearly a million people a year choose to have joint replacement surgery.
What is Joint Damage?
In the human body, a joint is where two bones are joined together to allow for movement. We have joints all over our body. Joint degeneration occurs when the cartilage on the end of the bones becomes damage and this may result from a variety of causes. In degenerative joint disease, x-rays may show a narrowing of the space between the two bones, angulation of the bones, bone spurs and bone cysts.
Once this begins, a snow ball effect occurs where the bone on bone rubbing causes more joint damage and more soft tissue damage and more pain! Joint replacement surgery is used to remove the damaged bone and cartilage from the bone and replace it with wear resistant prosthetic parts.
Pain Related Decline in Activity Level
In general, patients with degenerative hip or knee arthritis experience a general decline in their overall activity level due to pain and deformity. Activities that are routine or generally painless become increasingly difficult or may not be able to be performed at all. For example, individuals that may be used to going on long walks may no longer be able to walk similar distances due to pain. Simple activities such as stair climbing, tying shoes or putting on socks may become more taxing. Additionally, some patients may complain of stiffness or pain with prolonged sitting or standing and others may have difficulty with sleeping at night.
We all have varying activity levels, while some may be high level athletes others may be recreational athletes or just people interested in having the ability to walk. Regardless of what your activity level may be, joint replacement surgery may be able to help you return to your ideal activity level.
When hip or knee pain is preventing you from achieving your ideal level of activity level, a consultation with an expert in hip and knee problems is wise to pursue.
Nothing else works for pain control!
In the early stages, pain from hip or knee arthritis can be successfully managed with conservative treatments. Options include over-the-counter pain medications, assistive walking devices such as a cane, steroid or gel injections and bracing to name a few. However, when you come to understand that the underlying cause of hip or knee pain from degenerative disease is due to damaged cartilage and bone in the joint, it’s clear to see that none of these conservative treatment measures will dramatically change the ultimate cause of the pain. If you have gotten to the point where conservative treatment options no longer help, it may be time to seek the consultation of an expert in hip and knee care.
Do I really need a consultation from an expert in Joint Replacement surgery?
Hip and knee pain can be due to many problems that may not even be hip or knee related. For example, hip arthritis, is actually common cause of knee pain! Depending on where your pain is and what exacerbating factors are associated with it, diagnosing the true culprit of hip or knee pain can be a challenge.
Consultation with an expert in hip and knee pain can help you sort out the precise problem area. In fact, since this is an area of expertise, diagnosis may also be done without unnecessary tests, both expediting and decreasing the overall cost of care to the patient. Therefore, it is a good idea to seek an evaluation by a doctor that is fellowship trained in hip and knee surgery in order to determine the underlying cause of your pain and develop a patient-centered treatment plan for you.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!
Dr. Ugo Ihekweazu, is an orthopedic surgeon and an expert in Hip and Knee Replacement surgery in the Greater Houston Area. Dr. Ihekweazu is a member of the Fondren Orthopedic Group with offices in the Texas Medical Center, Sugar Land, and Willowbrook/Cypress. Dr. Ihekweazu has particular expertise in minimally invasive anterior and posterior total hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing, partial knee replacement, minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery, computer navigation, robotic-assisted surgery, complex joint replacement and revision joint replacement surgery. If you have further questions about any of these surgical options please contact us today to make an appointment.