Did your sister, brother, mother or father have a knee or hip joint replacement? Then, read on.
“Studies have shown a hereditary linkage among people who suffer the pain of osteoarthritis (caused by wear and tear among people 45 and above) and the ultimate need for a total joint replacement,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Michael Sutton, MD. “Although there is some genetic component, it’s not a foregone conclusion that you’ll need a joint replacement if your parents or siblings had one.”
The knowledge of family playing a role in your risk of osteoarthritis (OA) isn’t new. The earliest findings examinations pointing to a relationship were published before 1890. Research conducted in England revealed that OA in multiple joints was more than twice as common in relatives as in the general population. The strongest links appeared in women and older relatives.
Australian researchers found people with one parent, who underwent knee joint replacement, were at increased risk. For a person with a family history of OA, 74% are likely to experience significant knee pain 10 years after appearance of OA, compared to 54% of the general population.
Family “clusters” of OA surfaced in a 2000 study of patients with total hip replacement. Brothers and sisters of a person with OA seem to be at most risk of the disease and eventual joint replacement.
A family history of OA is not the only factor in the overall equation of your personal risk.
People who are overweight – whose knees and hips have to bear a heavier burden – have a greater risk. Overuse is another factor, especially among athletes or workers, who stand for long periods of time, handle repetitive motions or heavy lifting. Injuries to the knee or hip can also trigger OA.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, meaning it won’t improve on its own. However, not all cases require surgery. You can be treated with medication, physical therapy or a lifestyle adjustment.
With today’s surgical techniques, along with design and materials of the metal/ceramic replacements, those who need a hip or knee replacement can return to a very active life with a new joint that lasts anywhere from 15-30 years.
Sources include: McLeod Health, Annals of Rheumatic Disease, Arthritis Foundation, The Journal of Rheumatology, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthritis Research UK, National Institutes of Health