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Medically reviewed by Dr. Rodney Alan, McLeod Orthopaedics

The trend toward younger people seeking hip and knee joint replacements is pretty clear.  But who are the people seeking them and just how “young” are they? Here’s a brief look at these questions.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Sutton, McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

Total Joint Replacement  for Knees and Hips can reduce pain, increase mobility and enhance overall quality of life. So, why do people wait…and wait…delay…put off…find excuses to avoid the surgery?  For many, it’s anxiety over the pain they’ll have while recovering from the surgery. “There will be pain, as there is with any surgery,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton. “Yet, remember two things.  One: Unlike the pain from your knee before surgery, this pain will ease and eventually vanish as you complete your rehab.  Two: New developments continue to improve post-surgical pain management.” 

Is Shoulder Surgery in Your Future?

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically Reviewed by David Lukowski, MD McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast

If you look at the statistics, shoulder problems are not as great a problem as knee and hip joint issues.  Annually, total shoulder joint replacements number only about 1/20th as many as total knee joint replacements.

Medically Reviewed by Pat Denton, MD - Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

Although it is not generally used for total joint replacement surgery, arthroscopy is very commonly performed on the knee and other joints for diagnosing and treating problems.  One source claims more than 4 million are performed worldwide annually. In this article, we’ll focus on the knee arthroscopy, because 17 out of 20 of the procedures are performed on this joint.

When Two Joint Replacements are Better Than One

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically reviewed by Michael Sutton, MD McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

Not only was Darth Vader the father of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but all that light saber fighting took its toll. Darth – in real life, actor Dave Prowse – needed a hip replacement. And not just one hip – but both. Like many people (even those who don’t fight with light sabers) Vader (AKA Prowse) had to decide whether to have BOTH hip joints replaced in one surgery…or first have one hip replaced, recover, then have the second replaced, also called staged replacement. He decided on doing both at the same time, also called bilateral joint replacement.  

Medically reviewed by Rodney Alan, MD

For many folks, arthritis equals pain. And pain leads to limited activity. Years ago, doctors might even suggest that arthritis patients “be sure to rest their joints.” “More recently, we’ve come to understand that moderate exercise can offer many benefits, even for those with osteoarthritis in their knees, hips and back,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan, MD. “Physical activity should be a priority to improve your symptoms and prevent or delay limitations if you combine aerobic, balance, range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.”

When Baseball Hurts Your Child

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically Reviewed by Pat Denton, M.D. Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

While parents and grandparents might be struggling with the signs of aging (bad knee and hip joints, painful shoulders) orthopedic youth injuries are increasing at an alarming rate, especially in baseball. One researcher estimated that serious throwing injuries are occurring 16 times more often than just 30 years ago – even though orthopedic surgeon organizations have issued guidelines. According to the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, 20% of youth ages 8-12 and 45% of youth aged 13-14 will have arm pain during baseball season.

Gardening for Beginners & Others To Avoid Injury
Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Michael Sutton McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

It’s no surprise that lawnmowers – with sharp, whirling blades -- top the list of causes for accidents in the yard. However, coming in second is the helpless little flowerpot – causing falls, cuts, and lifting injuries.“Gardening, like any physical activity, can lead to an orthopedic problem,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Michael Sutton. “For gardeners, knees are a prime source of aches and pains.  Improper bending. Heavy lifting. And digging with your wrist at strange angles can also cause difficulties.”

Medically review by Eric Heimberger, MD

South Carolina plays a pivotal role in hip joint replacements. In September 1940, Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Austin Moore performed the United States’ first metal hip joint replacement in Columbia, SC.  “In the last 70 years, orthopedic specialists have introduced many improvements and developments to benefit hip replacement patients,” says Dr. Eric Heimberger of McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast. “Most hip replacements include 2 pieces: a cup that fits into the hip socket and a stem that inserts into the leg bone (femur) and fits into the cup.”

“I’ve seen patients who are relieved to find a specialist to handle the total knee joint replacement,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Barry Clark of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Yet, they often don’t realize that their job was only 1/3 done.  The weeks before and after surgery are also vitally important to a person’s ultimate recovery.” 

Here are some tips to help you plan:

First, a few facts.  Feel free to use these at your next cookout or family dinner.

The knee is the largest joint in the body. With good reason. Walking and running.  Turning, crouching, climbing stairs and jumping. Or, simply standing around. In nearly every activity we undertake, the knee plays a key role.  

Medically Reviewed by Rodney Alan, MD

Anyone researching hip joint replacements will eventually turn up the question of “Metal-on-Metal” (MOM) implants. In short, a hip replacement involves a ball-and-joint.  The ball being the part placed in the leg and the joint or socket placed in the hip.  For more information, see “9 Things You Should Know about Total Joint Replacement.” 

Healthcare Ratings: How They Stack Up.

Posted on in Orthopedics

Over the years, most people have relied on recommendations from friends and family when choosing a doctor or hospitals. With the rise of the Internet, easily and often accessed by health consumers, ratings and rankings boomed. To be an informed consumer, it’s good to understand what information each rating uses and how it is compiled. Here’s a brief overview.

Organizations compile their ratings with different information, from different sources with different formulas to make the data consumer-friendly. Here are the most common ways in which ratings are generated:

Hip Joint Replacement: Getting You Back to Normal

Posted on in Orthopedics

Total Joint Replacement is one of the safest and most reliable treatments in medicine.

Our hip joints are incredibly designed to serve us well.  However, wear and tear, disease or injury can lead to medical treatment and even surgery.

Here’s a quick multiple-choice quiz. Given the topic of the article, we’re expecting a perfect score.

Question:  Which of the following is the greatest cause of the extraordinary increase in hip and knee replacement surgeries:

Young Women Beware of an ACL Tear

Posted on in Orthopedics

A pop! The sound of cracking! A feeling of glass breaking!  Descriptions may differ. But each represents the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee joint – a problem that is 8 times more likely to affect teenage females than males.

What is an ACL Tear?  The ACL is one of four ligaments that stabilize the knee.  It’s a rubber band-like fiber about the size of your little finger that runs through the knee joint, attaching the thigh to the shin.

Finding the right surgeon for knee or hip joint replacement is much the same as finding any other doctor or specialist. Ask your other physicians. Find people who have had total joint replacement surgery. 

Yet, ironically, the sources that may be in question – according to the Harvard Medical School Publications – are third-party rating sites.

Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – watched their parent’s age and decided that an inactive middle age wasn’t for them.  Golfing, biking, tennis, basketball, running, skiing – 50 became the new 40, 60 became the new 50...or was it the new 40? Those Boomers just wouldn’t stop moving -- until their knees and hips started aching. Now hitting 60+, the joints are aching more and the body parts are wearing out. 

Arthritis, compounded by wear-and-tear on knees and hips, has sparked a sharp jump in the number of total joint replacements.  Osteoarthritis is the most common reason that joints fail.  It is a degenerative disease that deteriorates the cushioning cartilage in joints, leaving bone grinding on bone. Ironically, the repetitive motion of exercise by Boomers trying to stay fit can actually trigger the arthritis. 

Total knee joint replacement surgery has been performed for about 30 years. Over those years, incremental improvements in materials and designs have raised the expected life of the “new” knees to 10 to 20 years. 

Two developments are causing a noteworthy change in patients and expectations. Where knee replacements had been reserved for patients over 65, because of the limited life of the replacements, now younger, more active patients are seeking relief from pain and limited mobility. Secondly, the FDA has approved a replacement that claims a 30-year lifetime of use.

Annually, more than 600,000 knee joint replacement surgeries are performed in the United States.  With 150 possible device choices for each surgery, every manufacturer is looking for ways to differentiate their product. Some have introduced new materials. Others try refinements in shape.  Better fit of an implanted knee joint usually translates into better function and less pain and discomfort for the patient.  So, it’s no surprise that some manufacturers would try to differentiate their product by creating and marketing a knee joint designed specifically for women.

“Women do have anatomical differences from men that affect the knee joint,” says Dr. Pat Denton, of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Size is obviously one difference, but there are other gender variations, such as shape and how much pressure is exerted. Since knee joint replacements already come in a range of sizes, the real question is: Will a device designed specifically for women perform better than the unisex models?”

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