Frequently Asked Questions about Joints and Pain

What is osteoarthritis and why does my hip/knee hurt?

Joint cartilage is a tough, smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones where joints are located. It helps cushion the bones during movement, and because it’s smooth and slippery, it allows for motion with minimal friction. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage. Sometimes, as the result of trauma, repetitive movement or for no apparent reason, the cartilage wears down, exposing bone ends. This can occur quickly over months or may take years to occur. Cartilage destruction can result in painful bone-on-bone contact, along with swelling and loss of motion. Osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life and may affect only one joint or many joints.

What is a total hip replacement?

A total hip replacement is an operation that removes the arthritic ball of the upper femur (thighbone) along with damaged bone and cartilage from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with a metal ball that is fixed solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner, usually fixed inside a metal shell to create a smoothly functioning joint.

What is hip resurfacing?

Hip resurfacing is an operation that preserves the femoral head and neck. The surgeon removes a small amount of bone around the head of the femur, shaping it to fit tightly inside the hip resurfacing implant. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner that’s usually fixed inside a metal shell to create a smoothly functioning joint.

What are the results of a hip replacement?

Results will vary depending on the quality of the surrounding tissue, the severity of the arthritis at the time of surgery, the patient’s activity level, and the patient’s adherence to the doctor’s orders.

What is a total knee replacement?

A total knee replacement is really a bone and cartilage replacement with an artificial surface. The knee itself is not replaced, as is commonly thought, but rather an implant is inserted onto the bone ends. This is done with a metal alloy on the femur and plastic spacer on the tibia and patella (kneecap). This creates a new, smooth cushion and a functioning joint that can reduce or eliminate pain.

What is a partial knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement is an operation that repairs only one of the three compartments in the knee. The damaged compartment is removed and an implant inserted on the bone end making it much simpler than a total knee replacement. Partial knee replacement may reduce post-operative pain and lead to a shorter recovery period.

What are the results of total knee replacement?

Results will vary depending on the quality of the surrounding tissue, the severity of the arthritis at the time of surgery, the patient’s activity level, and the patient’s adherence to the doctor’s orders.

How do I find out more?

Simply call the Joint & Spine Center at 252-808-6673.