Your knees play a vital role in supporting your body’s weight. Children, adolescents and adults who partake in sports and highly intense workouts can do damage to parts of the knees. While a complete knee replacement is common to the 50 plus-club, sports, a serious injury caused by an accident or the onset of arthritis can cause a younger person to need the surgery too.
When Surgery is the Only Option
Chronic pain can make it difficult to walk, sleep or function. When this happens to your knees going to work or enjoying your downtime becomes very challenging. Prior to opting for surgery, your doctor will in most cases try other forms of minor surgery or therapy and medication first. The knee is complex and knee replacement surgery is not something that your doctor will want to do prior to trying other things beforehand. Of course, if all else fails to bring relief, the only option left is a full knee replacement.
Age Group that Generally Benefit the Most
As mentioned earlier, it’s not uncommon for a younger person to need a total knee replacement. With the advancements in technology many people that are years away from retirement are simply not as active as the generations before them. Obesity can contribute to serious knee damage, as well as inactivity. Unfortunately, while a total knee replacement is now safer than ever before there are still risks involved, as with any surgery. In addition, a total knee replacement on the average lasts for only 15 to 20 years, leaving someone in their early forties needing a second surgery at around the age 60. People who maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight are the best recipients of the procedure. This can be someone 50ish or someone 75.
Injuries to the Knee Which Affect the Younger Population
In many cases, today’s youth, particularly girls involved in sports such as soccer and basketball, experience knee related injuries. The most common is a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Since it bridges the thighbone and shinbone it can tear due to a hard fall or a sudden twist. Once the tear occurs the tissue around the knee swells and can no longer support the weight. While you will need surgery, there is no hospitalization necessary and the recovery time is pretty quick due in part to the young age of the patient. Many young adolescents can experience chronic knee pain due to the combined development of their body and competitive sports. In these cases, kids 10 to 14 years of age can develop Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease caused by extreme levels of physical activity prior to the full skeletal development. Because these are also common years of growth spurts the pain can become quite severe. Luckily, therapy, a change in routines and as a last resource, a leg splint can allow children to recover completely.
Knee Replacement Success
The good news is that the highest percentage of the population that has a knee replacement, people ages 50 and over, has a high success rate. It allows them to once again walk, run, climb, play golf and dance the night away with limited aggravation to the area. For the active senior, a knee replacement restores life. The downside is that the parts used, metal and plastic, will not last more than 15 to 20 years, leaving the door open for a possible second surgery at around 70 or beyond.
The knees are a valuable part of the anatomy. And, because of this, they take a lot of abuse daily. From wearing the wrong shoes, obesity, excessive sports and slips and falls, having a knee injury is not uncommon. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat your knees, with many requiring little or no surgery.