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If you’re considering replacing those rusty hinges, here’s some new angles on old bones.

When you have hip or knee pain, it can be tough to decide when to walk it off and when to see a doctor. William Montgomery, MD, co-director of the Joint Replacement Center and orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Frisco, says these aches and pains warrant medical attention:

1. An injury where you see a deformity or hear a popping sound
2. Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
3. Pain that recurs with specific activities
4. Continuous pain and swelling

What Is Osteoarthritis?
Most people will develop this common condition at some point in their lives. Osteoarthritis results when a joint begins to wear out. This damage to the cartilage and bones limits movement and may cause pain. The tendency to develop this condition may run in your family, or it may be caused by an injury you had years ago.

Don’t Just Live with It
Sometimes, treatments for joint pain are as simple as rest, over-the-counter or prescription medications, activity modification and physical therapy. Occasionally, surgery is required. Joint replacement can restore people to active, functional and fulfilling lives. After rehabilitation, most patients can return to the activities they enjoyed before their joints became so painful.

Are You a Candidate for Joint Replacement?
When patients experience arthritis, Dr. Montgomery said the criteria he uses to determine whether joint replacement is an option may include some basic questions. Does it interfere with your ability to play with your children or grandchildren? Can you go up and down stairs? Are you having trouble with your daily walk? Does your pain wake you up at night? And if a weight-bearing X-ray of the joint shows bone touching bone, a patient may be a good candidate for joint replacement.

Advances in joint replacement
Thirty years ago, a total knee or hip replacement was likely to last just five to ten years. Now, with advancements in metallurgy and plastic development, they can last much longer. “We are blessed to live in an era where many of the joint replacements I perform in young people today are likely to last 30 years or more,” said John Barrington, MD, co-director of the Joint Replacement Center, and orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Frisco.

In patients 55 and older who have had a total knee replacement, 93 percent still have good function 20 years later; for total hip replacements, 95 percent are still functioning well after 20 years.

One-Day Joint Replacement
For those who do need a joint replacement, there’s another checklist to decide whether they may be a candidate for a “one-day total joint” program offered at Baylor Frisco. The keys include motivation, supportive family members and a willingness to go through a wellness class prior to surgery.

“Specialized techniques in minimally invasive joint replacement, coupled with amazing advances in relieving pain, have allowed more than 90 percent of my patients to return home on the same day, or the day following surgery.” Dr. Barrington said.

Speedy recoveries are not unusual nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that joint replacement surgery should be the first option for people experiencing pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, modifications in exercise regimens and steroid injections are among simple measures that might alleviate pain.  For more information on One-Day Total Joints, click here.

If joint pain is affecting your ability to do the things you love, talk with your physician about whether joint replacement surgery is right for you.

For more information about the Joint Replacement Center at Baylor Medical Center at Frisco, call (214) 407-5054 or click here to find a physician who specializes in Total Joint Replacement.  In addition, you can call 800.4BAYLOR to find a physician near you.