Hip and knee arthritis are leading causes of disability, ultimately resulting in persistent pain and limitations in day-to-day activities for people suffering from 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,” says Dr. Christian Eccles, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with CMC Orthopaedics. “If you’ve exhausted all conservative treatments and your pain is preventing you from achieving your ideal level of activity, it may be time to have a conversation about whether or not you are a candidate for joint replacement surgery.”
What is Joint Replacement Surgery?
“In the human body, a joint is where two or more bones are joined together to allow for movement,” explains Dr. Eccles. “We have joints all over our body. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other soft tissue structures surround the joints and aid with normal motion.”
Over time, the cartilage or soft tissue coverings on the ends of the bones can become damaged and worn down. “Once this begins, the bone ends can rub on each other and this is very painful as the joint moves,” describes Dr. Eccles. “It’s a snowball effect, the damage and pain worsens over time and causes swelling and stiffness of the joint.”
Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which these damaged and worn out parts of the joint are removed and replaced with artificial prostheses. “The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the normal functioning of your joint and help you resume normal activities.”
Reasons to consider Joint Replacement Surgery
Some of the most common reasons to consider joint replacement surgery include the following:
- Treatment of arthritic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis of the joints
- Severe joint pain that limits your daily activities (such as walking, getting up from a chair, or climbing stairs)
- Pain that occurs during rest or awakens you at night
- Chronic joint inflammation and swelling that is not relieved with rest or medications
- Weakness and/or loss of joint motion
- Severe joint fracture or trauma
- Failure to obtain pain relief from medications, injections, physical therapy or other conservative treatments
Should I have joint replacement surgery?
Everyone has their own tolerance level for joint pain. If you’re an avid cyclist, hiker, or sports player and pain is keeping you from those activities, you may turn to surgery sooner than someone whose pastimes include reading or scrapbooking. If you’ve tried other treatments and you’re still experiencing significant pain, it may be time to consider joint replacement.
“Joint replacement is a big decision,” stresses Dr. Eccles, “but it might be the answer if significant joint pain is preventing you from living a healthy, enjoyable life. Thanks to advances in medicine, joint replacement is safer and more effective than ever before. If it’s something you’re seriously considering, I’m happy to sit and discuss your options and the process with you. Ultimately, my goal is to get you back to doing the things you like to do, pain free.”
Still wondering if joint replacement is right for you?
Answering some of the questions below may make it clearer for you. And if you’d like to talk through your pain management and surgical options with one of our experts at CMC Orthopaedics, submit this form with your information and we’ll be happy to reach out to you with an appointment.
Fellowship trained in Hip and Knee orthopaedic surgery at Indiana University Health
Dr. Christian J. Eccles completed his undergraduate education at Weber State University in his hometown of Ogden, Utah. He graduated summa cum laude and was able to dissect cadavers and teach other students anatomy in the lab for two years. He went on to earn his medical degree from Texas Tech University Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Following medical school, he completed a 5-year Orthopaedic Surgery residency at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Dr. Eccles specializes in hip and knee replacements, including complex primary and revision joint replacements.