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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

There’s More to Joint Replacement Than Just Hips and Knees

Posted By: Advancing Care

Medically reviewed by Landon Brown, MD

Are you struggling with chronic joint pain and considering undergoing joint replacement surgery? You're not alone.

Every year in the U.S., about 790,000 people get knee replacements and 544,000 get hip replacements, according to the American College of Rheumatology. As our country ages, these numbers keep going up.

Joint replacement, which lessens pain and boosts mobility for people with many conditions, is one of the safest, most reliable surgical treatments. While hip and knee replacements are the most common, surgeries can also replace ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow joints.

expanding scope of joint replacement surgeries

Types of joint replacement surgeries include:

  • Ankle replacement: For severe ankle arthritis from wear and tear, injury or rheumatoid arthritis, aiming to improve function and reduce pain.
  • Wrist replacement: For significant wrist arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, to restore hand and wrist use.
  • Shoulder replacement: Suitable for various arthritis types, including after injury.
  • Elbow replacement: For severe elbow damage from arthritis or injury, helping with pain and mobility issues.
  • Finger and toe joint replacements: For severe arthritis in small joints to ease pain and enhance function for detailed tasks.

Candidates for these surgeries are generally diagnosed with conditions like:

  • Osteoarthritis: Common arthritis from cartilage wear over time.
  • Autoimmune arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid, psoriatic, etc.): Autoimmune disease-causing joint inflammation and damage.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: Arthritis following a joint injury.
  • Severe fractures or injuries: Major damage that may require joint replacement.
  • Avascular necrosis: Bone tissue death from poor blood supply, which can put you at risk of joint collapse.

When It's Time to Replace a Joint

Joint replacement surgery can mark the beginning of a pain-free, more active lifestyle. However, the decision to undergo a joint replacement is significant and should be made in collaboration with your healthcare providers. Joint replacement is usually an option when other treatments such as medications, physical therapy or minor surgeries don’t provide adequate relief, and persistent pain and reduced mobility significantly interfere with your daily life.

If you're grappling with joint pain, consult with your doctor to explore your options or visit WMCHealth Physicians or Bon Secours Medical Group to learn more about the Joint Replacement Program within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.