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Deciding to have a knee replacement is a big decision. While it may be your best option to regain your mobility, there can be a lot involved in the surgery and recovery. So, if you get one, your top priority should be to keep it functioning well for as long as possible.

Thomas Calton, MD, at Utah Orthopedics in Ogden, Utah, has practiced orthopedic surgery for more than 30 years. Among his specialties is performing outpatient knee replacements. In this blog he shares how you can keep your knee replacement working well for as long as possible.

A few facts on knee replacements

Surgeons perform more than 600,000 knee replacements each year in the United States. And for those who get them, it often means a new lease on life. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee how long a new joint will last.

Even though Dr. Calton can’t predict the lifespan of your new knee, new techniques, better materials, and more effective rehabilitation programs are making artificial joints last significantly longer than they did in the 1980s and 90s. These days, many hip and knee replacements continue functioning properly in 90% of patients 20 years after their surgery.

There are also proactive ways you can help your new knee last, as you’ll read below.

Increasing the life of your knee replacement

When getting or considering a knee replacement, thinking over the following points may help you extend the life of your replacement:

Watch your weight

Maintaining a healthy weight plays an essential role in all aspects of your health, including the health of your knees. In fact, the more you weigh, the more stress it puts on your weight-bearing joints.

If possible, try to lose any excess weight before your knee replacement surgery. Not only will it help in your recovery, but reaching a healthy weight will help reduce unnecessary stress on your new joint in the days ahead.

Avoid certain activities

Having your knee replaced can leave you feeling like new again. But that doesn’t mean you should act like nothing happened.

Most activities are generally OK, such as cycling, swimming, hiking, and walking. You can even participate in gentle aerobics and low-resistance activities, such as weightlifting and rowing. However, certain sports and exercises can put your knee replacement at risk, such as:

  • Jogging
  • High-impact aerobics
  • Gymnastics
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Powerlifting

You should also be careful when golfing, because swinging a club can actually put more force on your knee than jogging.

Consider your age

Most Americans opt to have knee replacements around age 65. However, more and more people are choosing to undergo these procedures at younger ages each year.

While there are several advantages to replacing your knee in your 40s or 50s  — such as possible quicker recovery times — the replacement may not last as long as someone who gets one at an older age. That’s because younger patients are often more active, which can increase the wear and tear on a joint replacement.

Plus, patients who get a replacement at a younger age may outlive the life of the new joint and need another one in the future. Do know that you shouldn’t let your age hold you back if you need a knee replacement. But do know that it could increase your chances of needing a second procedure later in life.

Are you considering getting a knee replacement? We can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Utah Orthopedics today.

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