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Common Knee Conditions
Although arthritis can run in families, most arthritis is due to a lifetime of wear and tear on the knees. The reasons that some people get severe arthritis and others do not, or even why an individual will have arthritis in one joint while their other joints are not affected is not known. Some known causes are previous injuries or obesity.
Knee arthritis leads to joint pain that is often associated with activity but can occur at rest. Patients often find it difficult to go up or down stairs, walk distances or get up from low seats. There can be associated swelling, stiffness or a feeling of instability.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery, also called knee arthroplasty, is one of the most successful elective surgeries practiced today. The surgery replaces severely damaged cartilage tissue with a prosthesis made of metal and plastic that duplicates the function of the knee joint. Since the 1970s, the technology and long-term success of knee replacement surgery has improved dramatically, providing relief to people with chronic, debilitating knee pain.
Today, more than 265,000 total knee replacements are performed annually in the United States, according to the
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons . Although most patients are elderly, the age of patients has dropped in recent years. Now, it is not unusual for 50-year-olds to have this surgery. The results of knee replacement surgery are predictable, and the implants are durable. Among patients having knee replacement surgery, 90 to 95 percent enjoy freedom from pain and improved mobility up to 15-years post-surgery.
Knees wear out for a variety of reasons, including inflammation from arthritis, injury or simple wear and tear. A knee replacement is typically done through an incision down the center of the knee. Knee arthroplasty is a way of performing the surgery through an incision that is only four to six inches in length, with potentially less damage to the tissue around the knee.
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