With spring just around the corner, millions of Americans are looking forward to getting back outdoors – from the garden to the golf course. But for many, the forecast isn’t always sunny as chronic knee pain limits the mobility and quality of life for the 27 million suffers of osteoarthritis.
Arthritis affects people of all ages. Fifty percent of people 65 years and older have arthritis. Younger people have a lower risk, yet still make up half of all people affected. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a condition that causes “wear and tear” to your joint cartilage. Joints are the critical parts of the body that allow us to be active. Osteoarthritis develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the cartilage continues to wear away, the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, what can you do to ease your pain as you get back into the swing of outdoor the activities you enjoy? Treatment options such as medication, physical therapy and lifestyle changes like losing weight can help ease the discomfort. When these options fail to provide long-term relief, it may be time to consider knee replacement.
In knee replacement surgery, surgeons resurface the damaged bone and cartilage of the joint and insert an artificial joint called a prosthesis, or implant. You may qualify for joint replacement if you have proven severe arthritis or failure of non-operative treatments.
For professional golfer Peter Jacobsen, knee pain began to threaten his game and active lifestyle. After years of therapy that provided limited relief, Jacobsen decided to find out all he could about knee replacement. With more than 581,000 knee-replacement operations performed annually, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, knee replacement is one of the most successful surgical procedures.
“I knew knee replacement was going to ease the pain and get me back on the course, but it was important to me to make sure my new knee would feature proven technology, not simply the latest gimmick. I wanted a knee that was backed by the medical community and vetted by scientific journals,” Jacobsen says. Jacobsen chose a surgeon who uses the Optetrak knee system by Exactech. Built on more than three decades of research and clinical success, Optetrak is known for providing excellent, long-term results.
“I was back on the golf course just six weeks after my surgery,” Jacobsen says. “My knee feels so natural – it’s like I was born with it.”
Don’t let knee pain sideline you
Today, prospective patients can access a plethora of information designed to help them make informed decisions. Exactech’s patient education center at www.exac.com features the latest information and research. There is also a surgeon locator at www.exac.com/locator/surgeon-locator that provides a directory of qualified surgeons who can help relieve your knee pain and restore function.
The most important decisions about knee replacement will be determined by you and your physician with one goal in mind: providing you the best possible long-term results so you can return to the activities you enjoy. Your surgeon will consider a wide variety of variables when selecting the knee implant that’s right for you. Your age, height, weight, lifestyle and your general health are among the most important factors. The Optetrak total knee system is designed to accommodate these and other variations in anatomy to provide you the best possible results.
If knee pain has you out of the game, you should consider joint replacement which has allowed millions of people return to more active lifestyles.