Healthwatch: Hip and Knee Pain

For far too many people, just one step can be painful. That's because a growing number of Americans are suffering from joint pains in the leg area. It's caused by arthritis or other outside circumstances. A rise in the reports of joint pain is causing the demand for joint replacement surgeries to skyrocket.

"In the year 2007, orthopedic surgeons did about 400,000 total knees, just as an example, and it's projected that there may be as many as 1.2 million by 2010," said Dr. David Pomierski, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush Hospital.

Pomierski said the rise in demand for these type surgeries is largely due to an aging baby boomer generation. To help best address these growing needs there are some new techniques.

One of the newest techniques when it comes to joint replacement for the hip involves metal upon metal. Research has shown that this can extend the life of the replacement to more than 20 years.

This technique has been used for a number of years in Europe. However, here in the U.S. what has been commonly used involves metal against polyethane. It looks a lot like plastic and the replacement using these usually only lasts about 10 years.

"Those advancements are geared towards the longevity of the prosthesis to last longer periods of time," said Pomierski.

Because of the growing demand for these type surgeries, Rush Hospital is preparing to start a series of free informational sessions on joint replacements.

The first session will be Monday, Apr. 14 at 6 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn in Meridian. Dr. Pomierski will be there, along with both physical and occupational therapists.

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