Is Joint Pain Affecting Your Daily Activities?March 9, 2023 - Daniel Ford
Chronic joint pain can be debilitating. Basic movements, such as walking up a flight of stairs or sitting in a low chair, can become obstacles. Additionally, you may feel discouraged when you're unable to participate in your favorite sports or hobbies.
If your ability to do what you love is affected by joint pain, it may be time to see a specialist. "Hip or knee replacement surgery can offer pain relief, better mobility and an improved quality of life — but it's important that you have a conversation with your doctor to make sure it's right for you," says Dr. J. Sawyer Croley, a Houston Methodist orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement.
How do you know when it's time to consider a joint replacement? Consider this:
10 signs it might be time to consider joint replacement surgery
Sign 1: You have frequent or intense joint pain with activity.
Sign 2: You have difficulty walking, sitting down or standing up.
Sign 3: You suffer pain while at rest (day or night), or you experience pain that interferes with sleep.
Sign 4: You have stiffness and swelling in the joint.
Sign 5: Your symptoms have been long-lasting or progressively getting worse.
Sign 6: You've tried rest and medications, but they haven't worked.
Sign 7: Tests show that osteoarthritis is causing wear-and-tear damage to your joints.
Sign 8: Steroid injections and medications no longer provide adequate pain relief.
Sign 9: You're suffering side effects from pain medications.
Sign 10: Joint pain is taking a toll on you physically and mentally.
Other factors to consider with joint replacement surgery
If pain is interfering with your daily life and your symptoms haven't responded to conservative treatments, surgery may be recommended as a next step. (Related: What to Do If Your Joint Pain Isn't Responding to Medication)
We also take your age, the condition of your joints and other health factors into consideration when evaluating you as a candidate for joint replacement surgery.
"Having a hip or knee replacement can change your life, but it's not something you want to rush into," Dr. Croley cautions. "The timing is important, because planning for joint replacement surgery requires thinking about how your recovery may affect your ability to work or perform tasks at home."
To achieve your best recovery, you'll need to follow through on your doctor's instructions and do daily exercises as part of a rehabilitation program.