Generally when you think about someone who is having a hip or knee replaced, most likely you think of an elderly person. In the past that would have been true because most often these procedures were primarily for those people over the age of 60.

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Now, younger people, usually in their forties or maybe even their thirties, are choosing to have their joint replaced as soon as they notice increased pain that with time has caused them difficulty engaging in their daily activities, instead of waiting until 20 more years down the road.

Times have changed and now with new technology and continuing advances in medicine, doctors have come to realize that placing artificial joints can also be very successful in the younger population as well!

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Currently the artificial parts that are placed during a joint replacement last approximately 20 years which means in upwards of 20 years the person may require a revision if their joint begins to decline in function again and cause them pain that cannot be relieved.

That is where the dilemma comes to the surface, “If a 45 year old patient is having debilitating pain and loss of function of their knee, are they asked to wait as long as possible before they have a total knee replacement so the need for a revision is less likely, or should the surgeon go ahead and do the procedure to get the person back to leading a productive life knowing that a revision may be needed in 20 years?”

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Of course physicians should encourage non-invasive measures to all their patients with joint pain with the goal of relieving any pain and restoring normal function before recommending them to go under the knife. Physicians could recommend that their patients:

  • Lose weight to take any increased pressure off the joints.
  • Engage in physical therapy exercises to help restore function.
  • Manage pain and inflammation with medications.
  • Try corticosteroid injections into the joint to relieve inflammation and pain.

If after the non-invasive interventions are not successful, then the person may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery no matter what their age may be. In addition, if x-rays of the joints show extensive damage surgery most likely will be the best option.

The great relief of pain after a joint replacement is completed makes it all worth it and will show to greatly increase the persons quality of life.

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Younger candidates for joint replacement are also more likely to be in better health than their more elderly counterparts which will allow their recovery process to be even quicker. Whether or not to perform surgery will be up to your physician, the condition of your hip/knee joint, and how it is affecting your daily life.

The goal of any treatment that is prescribed for you will be to decrease your pain and restore your functioning to increase your overall quality of life. Don´t ignore your knee or hip pain if you think you’re too young for a replacement because you never know, you may get that artificial joint and be back to your normal way of life in no time.

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Article ID Number 5732

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