Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has a little bit of a history lesson for you concerning knee replacements, their evolution, and the future of surgeries. Nearly everyone in the modern world knows someone who has had a knee replacement. Over the years, the surgery has become quite streamlined. With a good surgeon and physical therapist, recovery from a knee replacement is much easier than it was in the past; considering it is such a traumatic surgery. It might make you wonder what knee surgery and recovery was like in earlier years.
When John N. Insall, MD, became the chief of the HSS Knee Clinic in 1969, there was no reliable knee implant on the market. The best relief for patients with debilitating knee arthritis was the temporary relief provided by pain medicine. Dr. Insall worked with fellow surgeons and biomechanical engineers to develop the modern total knee implant.
Although the first hip replacement came more than 25 years before knee replacements, there was still some fine tuning required concerning materials and design. Today, knee replacement implants are often made of cobalt-chromium and titanium (fancy), with a bearing portion made of high-grade. Wear resistant plastic that was not available in the early years of knee replacement surgery. There are other types of materials used in knee replacement surgery; however they are all proven, and much better than the materials being used in early knee replacement surgeries.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, in 1993 there were 195,684 total knee replacements in the U.S. Dr. Thomas Muzzonigo, a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, says “There are a total of more than 600,000 knee replacements, and that number is expected to rise 600 percent (by 2030)”.
600%!? Why such a big increase?
There may be several reasons. People are living longer, there is an epidemic of morbid obesity that stresses weight-bearing joints, improved implant materials, and people unwilling to give up active lifestyles. “Thirty years ago, people were not getting a total joint replacement until their mid-70s, now the age could be 55.” said Dr. Douglas P. Kirkpatrick, an orthopedic surgeon at North County Orthopedics in Queensbury.
So, you or someone close to you has scheduled a knee replacement surgery. Have you and your doctor discussed a recovery plan? The European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine published a report concerning total knee replacement that concluded “outpatient physical therapy performed in a clinic under the supervision of a trained physical therapist may provide the best long-term outcomes after the surgery”.
At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to work with your surgeon to develop a plan for rehabilitation for post-operation knee replacement therapy. We look at the “whole person” when treating pain to provide insight as to why one might be experiencing excess strain on their knees, but also in the hips, ankles and even a weak “Core”. We also look at our patients Body Mass Index as well as the daily activities demand.
We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment. Call us at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss out program in detail.
If you do have knee pain related to arthritis, feel free to review our blog post Entry-Level Excercises for Knee Arthritis.
Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center
1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1
Orange, CA 92868