Five Conditions That May Lead to Joint Replacement

Your joints are designed to carry you through life, but there can come a time when one presents more of a liability than an asset. In fact, 1 million joint replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States and this number is expected to rise to a whopping 4 million by the year 2030, thanks to an aging population and the overwhelming success of this approach to joint health.

Our orthopaedic specialists at Western Orthopaedics have extensive experience with joint replacement surgeries, and we’ve helped scores of patients regain pain-free movement.

To give you an idea of the many conditions under which joint replacement surgery is called for, we review five of the more common here.

1. Osteoarthritis

There are many different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis (OA) is at the top of the list, affecting 32.5 million adults in the United States. OA is a degenerative form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage in your joints breaks down, leaving you with pain and inflammation as your bones rub together. 

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for OA, and once your cartilage breaks down, it doesn’t regenerate itself readily. OA is also progressive, which means that the pain and inflammation can start out as periodic, but soon it can limit your life in significant ways. In these cases, joint replacement surgery is an excellent solution.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammatory form of the disease. As your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, it can irreparably damage the soft tissues, leaving you with a joint that’s not only incredibly painful, but also doesn’t function well.

If the damage is great, joint replacement surgery may provide your best path forward to relieving your pain and restoring movement in your joint.

3. Post-traumatic arthritis

If you’ve injured one of your major joints, you’re at risk for developing post-traumatic arthritis, which affects about 5.6 million people in the US. Like OA, post-traumatic arthritis is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in your joint.

4. Injury

If you sustain an injury that severely damages your joint, our goal is to help the existing soft and hard tissues heal on their own. There are times, however, when the damage can be too great, such as with a complex fracture, and joint replacement surgery may be your best option.

5. Revision joint replacement surgery

Rounding out our list of conditions in which joint replacement surgery is a viable option is a revision surgery of your original joint replacement. While the materials we use are designed to last for two or more decades, the parts can wear down and you may outlive your original replacement, at which point we can go in and replace the worn components.

If you want to explore whether joint replacement surgery is right for you, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to set up an appointment with one of our surgical experts. 

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