Joint replacement is often recommended if you have constant pain and have limited range of motion in a joint. Joints can be damaged from disease or injury. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is frequently the cause of joint pain and stiffness. Although osteoarthritis becomes more common with age, younger people can develop it, usually as the result of a joint injury, a joint malformation, or a genetic defect in joint cartilage. Cartilage is the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.
Of course, not every person with joint pain needs joint replacement surgery; only your doctor can tell you that, but it has become increasingly more common. The joints replaced most often tend to be the weight-bearing joints; hips, knees and ankles. Replacing a joint can relieve pain and help you regain mobility.
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Joseph Wilson, MD, feared that his excruciating hip pain might put an end to his long career as a surgeon. It was also putting a damper on activities for his upcoming wedding. Find out how hip replacement surgery changed his life.