knee replacement

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Total Knee Replacement Guide Australia

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of chronic arthritis. The condition affects approximately 1.4 million Australians, or approximately 7.3% of the population. The cause of osteoarthritis (OA) is not completely understood.  Being overweight or obese can contribute to OA, particularly in females. Obesity is more strongly associated with OA of the knee than the hip.  Individuals with a history of joint trauma or injury are more likely to develop OA. Joint injuries include dislocation, fracture, and tears of the cartilage or ligaments.  Congenital abnormalities (conditions that are present at birth) can cause abnormal joint alignment, which may lead to OA. The alignment of a joint affects the load across the cartilage and other tissues. Areas of cartilage under high load or pressure can degrade faster or be damaged by joint movement. This may lead to early-onset OA. OA may run in families. A person is more likely to develop OA if their parents have OA that is early in onset or involves more than one joint.

 

Approximately 97% of total knee replacements performed in Australia are due to OA. The disease is uncommon before the age of 45 years and mostly affects people aged 65 years or over. It is more common in females than in males.

 

Osteoarthritis usually progresses slowly and may produce non-specific local symptoms that impair health-related quality of life, such as pain with joint use, stiffness, loss of joint mobility and function and alteration in the shape of the joint. The knee is most commonly involved, followed by the hip. The spine, foot and joints of the hand can also be affected.

Information about Knee Replacements

The knee is the largest joint in your body. In a normal, healthy knee, the bone surfaces that come together at the joint are smooth and hard. A cushioning layer of tissue (called articular cartilage) prevents contact between these bones. This tough layer of tissue allows the joint to move without creating friction or wear on the bone surfaces. As the cartilage breaks down, the underlying bone is often left exposed and unprotected, producing bony spurs called osteophytes. In addition, soft tissues around the joint (such as the synovium, ligaments and tendons) can become inflamed and swollen. As these changes occur, the joint loses its smooth movement, becoming stiff and painful. Reduced use of the painful joint causes the muscles to weaken and lose bulk. This in turn increases the load and damage to the cartilage, bone and soft tissues. In advanced stages of OA, the space between the bones is reduced and bones can be in direct contact during movement. This results in increased pain and further joint damage and a deterioration in the quality of life. 

 

For further information please refer to Dr Parminder J Singh’s: 

Knee replacement guide

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