Orthopedic Joint Replacement
Joint issues are common, especially for those who participate in sports or are involved in repetitive, manual labor. The constant strain of certain activities can slowly break down the cartilage, causing swelling and pain in the joints.
The strain in these areas can become too painful to perform daily activities. This is why joint replacement might be the best option. This procedure involves removing some or all of a damaged joint and replacing it with a prosthetic made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.
Joint replacement can help relieve stiffness, severe pain, and limited mobility. The prosthesis is designed to replicate a healthy joint's mobility so you can move with ease and comfort.
Treatment Options Before Joint Replacement
There are many less invasive treatments to try before jumping into surgery. These treatments can minimize or erase the pain so daily activities are achievable.
Working with a physical therapist is a wonderful way to reduce joint pain. Learning different ways to exercise and keep in shape while reducing the pressure on your joints can significantly reduce your symptoms.
Specific low-impact exercises include cycling, walking, swimming, and yoga. These activities will keep you moving while being gentle on your injured joints.
Building the muscle groups surrounding the troubled area will also help to support the joint. These exercises can improve the joint's flexibility and improve fluid flow, which helps lubricate the joints.
A brace's support can help reduce the strain on your joints. It takes the pressure off of damaged portions of your joints and stabilizes the area. A brace can help with activities such as walking and lifting.
Pairing a brace with a cane or crutches is also sometimes recommended. These devices can help spread weight distribution and reduce the swelling in the joint.
Injections are used to either reduce inflammation or lubricate the joints. There are two types of injections that are most commonly used for joint pain.
Steroid Injections are used to reduce inflammation and mimic cortisol which is naturally produced by the body. Although the steroid shot offers pain relief, it is a temporary solution that typically lasts for three to six months. The pain relief can initially happen anywhere from 24 hours to seven days.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections are used to lubricate the joints, which helps with wear and tear. Injecting this acid helps boost your body's natural supply. These injections can offer significant pain relief, however, it requires multiple injections over the course of a few weeks before relief is felt.
Over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce joint swelling and pain. Your doctor can also prescribe you a higher dose of pain medication if the pain persists.
It is important to remember that some pain medications can be dangerous to the body if too much is used. Please get in touch with a doctor before taking medication to reduce significant pain.
When to Consider Joint Replacement
Sometimes less invasive techniques can only help so much if the joint has suffered significant damage. A more comprehensive solution is sometimes required if pain and swelling hinder your daily activities.
It is also possible to develop Osteoarthritis, which damages the cartilage that helps joints move smoothly, impeding a person's life. To improve someone's quality of life, it is easier to replace the joint to reduce pain.
One of the most significant indicators that joint replacement might be necessary is if there is persistent pain even when the injured joint is resting. If pain and inflammation occurs when not engaged in physical activities, this could indicate that there may be bone-on-bone contact occurring or a significant amount of damage.
Preparations of Joint Replacement Surgery
Understanding the steps you must take before and after joint replacement surgery is essential. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare will make your healing journey smoother.
Before Joint Surgery
It is important to try and organize your home to be as accessible as possible. This means cleaning to reduce tripping hazards and moving furniture around so there is minimal need to strain the body when moving around your home.
It is also essential to listen to and follow your doctor's orders 24 hours before the appointment. These instructions generally include not eating solid foods after midnight and only drinking clear liquids up to 2 hours before arrival for surgery.
You can learn more about preparing your home and yourself before your joint surgery. Awareness of the different steps associated with joint replacement will help the healing process.
Tips for Recovery
While recovery times have shortened with the advances made possible by several new surgical approaches, such as anterior hip replacement, Joint replacement is still an extensive process. Your body will need time to recover. You will be tired and it might take several weeks to return to your old routine. Allowing your body to rest will help you recover faster.
Doing the exercises your doctor, nurse, or therapist suggests is also essential. The activities will strengthen the muscles and help your new joint function properly. Don't get frustrated if your joint is weak. It takes time to build that strength back up, and it is important to go easy on your body.
Lastly, there is no shame in asking for some help. As stated above, your body is recovering and might not be able to function to its full potential for a few weeks. Keep friends' and family members' numbers handy in case you need some help with your daily routine.
For more tips on promoting a speedy and effective recovery, visit our "Joint Surgery Recovery Tips" page on our website.
Let Arnot Health Help You Today
If you feel like you have tried everything and your joint pain is still impacting your life, reach out to Arnot Health for a consultation. We want everyone to live a comfortable and happy life without crippling or activity-limiting pain in their joints. Make the decision to improve your well-being by contacting us and learning more about Joint Treatment.
Contact us at (607) 734-4110 to schedule an appointment with Arnot Health. Relieving joint pain and getting you back to the things you love. It's what we do.