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What Is a Joint Replacement?

Joint Replacement Cyclist

Posted on: Dec 4 2018

Lingering joint pain is a frustrating experience felt by millions of Americans. It is a debilitating condition that limits your everyday activities and often requires seeking out treatment. If you are undergoing pain that limits your quality of life, it may be time to consider arthroplasty, also known as a joint replacement.

Joint replacement is most frequent in the hip and knee. Other joints that may require replacement include the ankle, elbow, parts of the hand and feet, spine, and wrists. Along with this, there are two major types of joint replacement patients undergo: partial and total.

What is Partial Joint Replacement?

Occasionally, most of your joint may appear to be fine despite another part being damaged. In this circumstance, it’s only necessary to replace the damaged part of the joint. For example, the knee is divided into three sections: the medial (inside), the lateral (outside), and the patella (knee cap). A partial knee replacement occurs when one of these three sections are replaced. In hip and shoulder replacements, the ball joint is typically the part that gets replaced.

What is Total Joint Replacement?

When a joint requires completely new parts, each compartment is replaced. This procedure is called a total joint replacement. In our previous example with the knee, all three sections of the knee – medial, lateral, and patella – would be replaced. For a total shoulder or hip replacement, both the socket and ball joint are replaced.

What to Expect from Joint Replacement:

Joint replacement is performed to return function to the joint and help the patient get back to a higher quality of life. Typically, joint replacements take six weeks to heal fully and last for many years. Research into longevity rates suggests that 95% knee replacements are expected to last ten years and most will last up to 15-17 years. To maximize your joint replacement’s lifespan, follow your doctor and physical therapist’s instructions and stray from high impact activities.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • A joint replacement may not relieve pain caused by nerve or muscle damage.
  • Joint replacement will not give you a “young” joint, rather it will function at a higher quality than it did before.
  • Not all recoveries are the same. Speak with your doctor about your limitations following joint replacement.

Why Joint Replacement?

If you are suffering from debilitating joint pain caused by arthritis, fracture, genetics, or any other condition, it may be time to consider joint replacement.

Elite is home to some of the leading joint replacement physicians in Tennessee. We specialize in total joint replacements in the knee, hip, shoulder, and ankle. Learn more about these physicians here.

Posted in: Joint Replacement

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