Joint Replacement Surgery - Getting Back To Life Again
Do you experience knee pain when climbing stairs or getting up from the couch? Many different conditions can lead to painful joints including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, sprains, strains, and other injuries. Some of these may go away after a few weeks, while others can last for several weeks, months, or even years.
Joint pain is very common. In a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, approximately one-third of adults reported that they had experienced joint pain within the previous 30 days. Knee pain was the most common, followed by shoulder and hip pain. As we age, painful joints become increasingly common. Arthritis or simply years of repetitive use may cause the joint to wear away.
Usually, treatments for joint pain start with non-surgical methods. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may help. Using a cane or avoiding tasks that hurt may give relief. At first, you may only have pain or stiffness when walking a long distance. As your condition worsens, routines like taking short walks, putting on shoes, or even getting dressed may cause pain. Only a physician, specifically an orthopedic surgeon, can determine if you need to have a joint replaced. He or she will first try to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your joint pain. Many times, the discomfort can be managed with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments. If joint pain becomes more severe and chronic, joint replacement surgery is usually recommended.
Patricia Bain and Alfredo Robles both feel “restored” after undergoing joint replacement surgeries at San Antonio Regional Hospital’s Orthopedic Institute. Patricia, 59, a kindergarten teacher, suffered with debilitating pain for three to four years before she finally decided to have knee replacement surgery.
In fact, she even had to take an absence from teaching because her work days were too painful. She credits San Antonio pre-surgery education and physical therapy for contributing to her successful outcome. “They prepared me really well. It’s a night and day difference from before surgery.” Alfredo Robles shared a similar experience. “I am retired, and I would say I had a miserable quality of life,” he says. “My hips and knees were so bad I had to use crutches just to hold myself up.” Mr. Robles underwent two hip replacements and a left knee replacement in the span of a year. “After my surgeries I have a whole new life. The doctors thought I would at least need a cane, but I’m walking with no assistance. My neighbors can’t believe I’m up and walking.”
Joint replacements are becoming more and more common. In fact, more than 1 million Americans have a hip, knee, or shoulder joint replaced each year.
The world of joint replacement surgery is continually advancing, providing exciting new options for patients. Joint replacements are no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. New techniques are allowing surgeons to customize and tailor treatments to each patient’s specific needs. These advancements have led to less pain and shorter hospital stays for patients (typically now only 1-2 days). It takes time to heal afterward, but many people return to an active, pain-free life. Less pain usually leads to better mobility, and a full life again.
San Antonio Regional Hospital has a dedicated orthopedic surgery unit in the new Vineyard Tower. Patients benefit from highly skilled orthopedic surgeons and specially trained orthopedic nurses and physical therapists who help them heal and recover as soon as possible. A physical therapy gym is also located right on the unit.
To learn more about joint replacement surgery, please attend our upcoming community lecture series.
Download original .pdf of the 909 Magazine layout
Thursday, April 13
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Kenneth Jahng, MD
Tuesday, May 9
6:00 -7:30 pm
Sachin Patel, MD
Tuesday, June 13
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Michelle Ward, MD
999 San Bernardino Rd.
Upland, CA 91786
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