COVID-19 and pandemic restrictions remain important issues in our daily lives. As we continue to adapt to changes at home and work, the holidays are nonetheless approaching. This year, travel may be lighter and more shopping completed online. Families may also opt to gather in virtual chats for the big dinners and gift exchanges.
Despite these changes, we may still be faced with crucial decisions — the prospect of undergoing joint surgery being one for people who deal with chronic pain. Patients opt for such a procedure in order to improve range of motion in shoulders, knees, or other joints. Depending on one’s needs, an orthopaedic surgeon may recommend a joint resurfacing — in which cartilage defects are treated with small implants — or a full replacement.
If a visit with family is a possibility for Thanksgiving or Christmas, however, the question of when to have a joint procedure requires serious consideration. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to research everything about your condition and the treatment, namely:
How bad is the pain? Does the stiffness in the affected joint mildly irritate you, or is the pain too intense to ignore? Consult with your physician to determine the deterioration of your joints, as it may help you to prioritize your procedure.
How long will recovery take? This answer will differ patient to patient, and will vary depending on the type of surgery as well. Following a knee replacement, for example, a patient may be able to walk without assistance after 1-2 months, but swelling could take longer to pass. A shoulder replacement patient may need to wait six weeks or longer before driving again.
What are my limitations during recovery? Again, this depends on the procedure, your current state of health, and other factors. If you decide to have surgery before or during the holidays, your activities may be limited. Your tolerance for joint pain will help determine if you can wait until the new year.
The physicians at Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Specialists are here to help you determine your best course in action in the treatment of your joint pain. Contact us today to learn more about our care options and to schedule an appointment.