If your knee hurts, you are not alone. In the United States, there are nearly 600,000 knee replacements a year. That figure has just about doubled in the past decade. In fact, more Americans have had knee or hip replacement surgery than suffer from heart failure. Approximately 10% of people aged 80 through 89 have had a knee replacement. All of this knee replacement surgery means orthopaedics is one of the fastest growing fields in medicine.
But you can take steps to avoid needing a knee replacement. While the technology is good, the artificial knee will not last you the rest of your life. Their lifespan is about 15 or 20 years and then people often need another one. You can avoid a visit to an orthopedic surgeon by making some simple changes in your lifestyle.
These steps include exercises to increase the strength of the quadriceps. This can also help you avoid sports injuries. Studies in orthopaedics have shown that people with stronger thighs experience far less knee pain. Some exercises that help strengthen these muscles are biking, swimming and Pilates. The best part of these exercises is they are low impact so not only do people who participate in these sports lower their risk for a total knee replacement, they lower the chances they will need arthroscopic knee surgery or ACL repair surgery.
Losing weight can also lower the chances that orthopedics will become a word you use a lot. People who weigh less put less stress on the knee joint.
Some people benefit from Hyaluronic acid (HA) injections. This was actually not initially used in orthopaedics but in plastic surgery. These injections help reduce inflammation, which can be a big cause of pain. The substance also provides a cushion in the knee. This works best for people suffering from mild to moderate arthritis.
To prevent needing to see a sports medicine specialist, some athletes have turned to platlet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. This helps your body make the most of its own regenerative abilities so that it can heal any damage that has already been done by the rigors of some sports.
For an even more powerful boost to to help the body heal some turn to bone marrow injections. Some of the body?s most powerful healing agents are found in bone marrow. This is usually reserved for people with severe arthritis.
Physical therapy can also be a powerful tool to keep away the need to have any kind of surgery. At the first sign of a sports (or other) injury, physical therapists can design a workout routine to help you build back the muscles and prevent further injury. People used to say you should ?play through the pain? but now that theory is seen as not only outdated but pretty foolish as you risk making an injury worse or causing a new one.
No one wants to think too much about orthopaedics until they suffer an injury.