The place where the ends of two or more bones reach each other is called a joint. There are almost 300 joints in an adult body. Some joints allow movement, like bending an elbow or a knee; others restrain motion, like the ones that join the bones of the skull; and the third kind of joint allows a slight movement, like vertebrae.
Patients with reduced mobility and joint pain significantly decrease their quality of life. There could be many causes of advanced joint disease, either due to injury or rheumatoid arthritis; the damage caused to the cartilage in the joint may lead to stiffness, swelling, and severe pain.
Most physicians recommend more conservative approaches to treat osteoarthritis or other joint diseases, like weight control, physical therapy, medication, or cortisone injections. But if the symptoms do not improve with these strategies, it means that the deterioration of the joint has reached a late stage, and surgery should be the option for long-term relief.
Nearly every joint in the body could be replaced with a prosthesis, but the most commonly replaced joints are those designed for unrestricted movement. They are called synovial joints, partly because they lubricate with synovial fluid to reduce bone friction and make moving smoother.
With surgery, two major types of joints can be replaced:
Hinge joints. Like doors, they bend and straighten in one direction—for example, the elbow and knee.
Ball and socket joints. They can move in multiple directions—for example, the shoulder and the hip. The rounded end of a bone fits inside a cuplike area of another bone.
When medications and non-surgical methods do not ease the pain and improve mobility, your physician may opt for a total joint replacement. This surgical procedure is called arthroplasty, where a surgeon removes the damaged joint tissues and replaces them with a prosthesis made of plastic, ceramic, or metal.
This procedure does not carry as many health or life risks as regular surgery. However, it is up to the doctor or specialist to evaluate the patient’s general medical condition, especially for them to undergo anesthesia.
Recovery is different for every patient, but doctors should encourage you to use the new joint as soon as possible. Although many patients could experience pain and discomfort, these are symptoms of improvement because muscles and the body are adjusting to the new helper, and the surrounding tissues are healing. Time should reduce such discomfort and pain within a few months. Here are some actions to take to help the recovery and face rehabilitation:
Take time to rest, according to medical prescription.
Go on with physical therapy or home exercises.
Follow the doctor’s instructions about surgery site hygiene.
A licensed specialist should conduct every physical therapy session. Although patients with joint replacements usually start walking shortly after surgery, there could still be some fears and restraints.
At Signature, we have the experience and resources to provide the best support for the patient and the family. Also, our registered nurses may help with early recovery assistance and could support the rehabilitation process.
For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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