Hip and Knee Pain: When is it Time to Consider Surgery?

As the progression of arthritis cannot be stopped, patients should consider joint replacement surgery when the pain in an arthritic joint is severe and disabling.

Foster Folly News—Florida—April 29, 2010

Chronic joint aches and pains caused by arthritis can interfere with everyday life, limiting mobility and function.

In early stages of arthritis, pain relief can be obtained from acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen or, for some, injections into the joint.

However, when arthritis progresses, the cartilage between the bones disappears, and the joint is "bone on bone." At this stage, these conservative measures may not be enough.

"As the progression of arthritis cannot be stopped, patients should consider joint replacement surgery when the pain in an arthritic joint is severe and disabling," says Alejandro González Della Valle, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The criteria used for recommending joint replacement surgery include disabling pain associated with limp, loss of function and mobility. The best candidates for surgery are people who have seen deterioration in their quality of life or impairment in their activities of daily living due to arthritic pain.

"No one is too young or too old for joint replacement," says Douglas E. Padgett, M.D., chief of the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Every condition can be addressed, even when compounded by other medical conditions."

 

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