Joint replacement surgery is usually the last step in the treatment process for those who have not responded well to physical therapy and/or medications; severe joint pain, stiffness, deformities due to arthritic conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA or Osteoarthritis (OA) are all factors that can lead to joint replacement surgery. With newer technologies, knuckle replacements that was spearheaded in the 1950’s, can also help those who suffer from hand deformities, pain and loss of movement due to RA.
You may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery if you:
· Have difficulty putting on shoes and socks
· Find yourself limping making walking difficult
· Have muscle weakness and stiffness
· Have trouble getting in and out of the car or climbing the stairs
· Cannot participate or are severely limited in engaging in your daily activities due to pain
· Find sleeping in a lounge chair is the only way to get comfortable
The surgery is only as good as the patient’s willingness to follow the rehab program post surgery—doing the prescribed exercises two times per day, moving around as much as possible. This includes not just the days that follow but the weeks and month afterwards; this all contributes to a better long-term outlook.
Generally, people who work are back at their jobs within 3 months of the surgery. Full recovery usually takes place within a year, though no two cases are the same, therefore, recovery varies by individual.
Fortunately, advanced treatments with people with RA have been productive, and, in fact, surgeries have dropped by 19% and hip replacements, 40% for those in the middle age ranges suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)’about 10% of 400,000 of the total hip and knee replacements in the U.S. each year need additional surgery to remove the first implant and insert another.’ Because RA develops earlier in life, joint replacement occurs sooner, upping the chances of future joint replacement—joints can last as long as 15 years according to experts with some as long as 25 years.
Sources: Health.com, Clevelandclinic.org
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