Knee joint replacement surgery is a term you hear a lot about in the news. This surgery is an option available, and many seniors, the baby boomer generation, living today are opting for this choice. The advantages are ease of pain from arthritis, increased mobility and flexibility, and it gives one the ability to get about and be more sociable once again.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 332,000 hip replacements are done each year and the number of knee replacements has increased to about 719,000.
So there is a trend in the US toward opting for knee joint replacement surgery; the surgery is no longer seen as a last resort.
Michael Bronson, MD, chief of joint replacement surgery at Mt. Sinai notes in a newsletter, "Healthy Aging," that because new replacements can wear out over time, using the more conservative method of waiting longer before having the surgery may be the best option, especially if there are other good treatments at hand.
One of the lifestyle choices recommended to go along with the more conservative approach, is to lose weight. Losing weight allows for greater ease of motion for those with chronic arthritis of the knees. It is estimated that about one half of all knee replacements could be avoided if losing weight were an effective measure employed.
Obesity is the main risk factor for osteoarthritis. Losing as little as five percent may be beneficial in terms of diminishment of pain and increase in mobility.
Nutrition is important in weight loss as well. Finding a plan that works for you---usually involves eating more fruits and veggies, generally five or six a day, and more healthy protein. Today it is often recommended to eat more frequent smaller meals.
Staying active is key also to maintaining pain management and mobility. Yoga, pilates, zumba, water aerobics--all have their place. Resistance training is recommended.
In addition, greater use of pain meds to ease discomfort in the knees and physical therapy may allow for a wait on the surgery. Then when surgery is done, the corrected knee will last longer.
Current trends are leaning away from over-reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs and Tylenol is often given for pain. Massage, ice, and heat, all may help with increasing blood flow, and improve flexibility.