Don’t let joint pain hold you back

James Smith 1Consultant orthopaedic surgeon James Smith discusses treatment options available for arthritis.

Hip and knee pain can affect people of any age, but it is typically in the over 50s that the pain caused by arthritis in the joint becomes an ongoing issue, especially at night. Once the options for non-invasive procedures have been exhausted, your specialist may suggest you consider a joint replacement. So when is the best time to consider surgery and how do you prepare for it.

Arthritis pain in joints can also cause pain elsewhere – frequently in the groin, the leg and it can cause a strain on other areas of the body as the person adapts their movements to ease the pain. Pain can be worse at night but many people find when they are up and walking around it does decrease slightly. It is however constant pain and it doesn’t go away.

Preparing for any type of surgery is important and it is vital to get specialist advice. Many patients will be referred by their GP, but you can also choose to contact a specialist surgeon directly to arrange a consultation.

The initial consultation will be non invasive and we will take an x-ray in order to diagnose an arthritic joint. They will discuss with the patient any further non-invasive procedures open to them as well as the option of joint replacement if all other options are exhausted.

The technology used now in replacement joints is very advanced and the procedure is straightforward for many patients, with a speedy recovery.

If you choose to come to KIMS Hospital, you can choose when the surgery takes place and typically your stay will be between one and four nights in length.

On the day of surgery, you will be assessed to ensure you are fit for surgery. Typically a spinal anaesthetic will be administered with sedation to make you sleep, instead of a general anaesthetic, which is better for pain relief and less risky for some patients.

Once a hip replacement has taken place, the patient will feel better almost immediately as the arthritis pain will be gone, you will have physiotherapy on the ward and this will be continued at our outpatient clinic. It is really important to stick to the programme set out to help your recovery. Within six weeks almost all patients will be walking without aids, driving and back to work in many cases.

Knees will tend to still feel painful by the nature of the procedure for a few weeks after surgery, but within two to three months, that will be gone and the patient will be feeling much improved.

There is no upper age limit for this type of surgery, as long as you are medically fit, so if joint pain is limiting your enjoyment of hobbies, mobility or has just worsened over time, get in touch for a consultation.

For more information, call us on 01622 237 726 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk