Restoring Joints and Renewing Lives
As people age, they sometimes experience aching, inflamed joints that affect their ability to enjoy activities they did in the past. Orthopedic specialists are trained physicians that can determine how much damage has occurred in the joints and what treatments will help to relieve pain and restore mobility.
Overuse, injury and degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can attack knees and hips causing inflammation and pain. Joint pain can be either mild or severe, and may be intermittent or chronic. Orthopedic specialists use many methods to treat joint disease, such as NSAIDs medications, cox-2 inhibitor drugs, steroid medications, hyaluranon injections, and physical therapy. Heat, massage, acupuncture and supplements are also used to treat joint diseases.
When the damage caused by injury or disease becomes severe, the orthopedic specialist may determine that joint surgery is required. For some patients, the surgeon can remove damaged tissue within the joint to restore mobility. Other patients may have too much damage to the joint. The surgeon may then advise joint replacement surgery to restore movement and eliminate pain.
Knee Replacement Surgery
More minor types of knee surgery can often help to keep patients mobile and pain-free for a time, but degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis can continue making joint replacement necessary. In this procedure, the ends of the bone are prepared to receive the metal components that make up the new knee. These parts are then press-fit or cemented onto the bone ends. The kneecap is then cut and resurfaced with a plastic button, and plastic spacers are put into place to providing a gliding surface for the new knees’ smooth movement. A period of physical therapy is required to achieve full movement in the new knee.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip joint surgery may be done to restore movement and eliminate pain in hip joints that are severely damaged. In hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the head of the femur and replaces it with a metal stem. This stem is either cemented or press-fit into position. A ceramic or metal ball is then placed on the upper part of this stem to replace the damaged femoral head. A metal socket is put in to replace the damaged cartilage, held in place by screws or cement. Finally, a smooth plastic, metal or ceramic spacer is placed between the ball and socket to provide smooth movement of the hip.