When to get a joint replacement

Health

Most people struggling with Osteoarthritis in their hips and knees are able to manage the condition with weight loss, medication, cortisone injections, and physical therapy.

But if those options aren’t working, how do you decide if, and when, replacement is the right move for you?

63-year old Kristine Hoffman has the energy of a woman half her age. But a lifetime of running, gymnastics and dancing took a toll on kris’s hips.

Lisa Kristine Hoffman said, “I couldn’t cross my leg, my right leg over my left side anymore. There were just a lot of things little by little that I was losing.”

Orthopedic Surgeon Kamala Littleton specializes in hip and knee replacements. Here are the three questions to ask yourself if you think it’s time for new joints. First, is pain ruining your mood most of the time?

Do you need constant medication to relieve joint pain? Have you stopped doing the things you love?

Kamala Littleton, MD, “You don’t want to go to a movie because you know it’s going to be so miserable when you get up after the movie – or fly on an airplane or go on a vacation.”

Doctor Littleton says hip replacement surgery is less invasive these days making recovery easier and faster. Knee replacement recovery is tougher and requires pre-planning. Will you have to navigate the steps? Who will drive you to physical therapy?

“You’ve got to do therapy. You’ve got to fight like a little marine through this process. And, if you do that, you can be very, very successful,” said Doctor Littleton.

Kris Hoffman had her right hip replaced in 2005 and her left one done last year.

“I’m just not ready to hang it up. I’m not. I can fix this.,” said Hoffman.

On her feet and ready for another adventure.

Doctors say because the artificial joints commonly last about 20 years, you really don’t want to replace too early.

On the other hand, if you wait so long that you are not mobile, you’ll lose strength and endurance, making recovery more difficult.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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