The number of knee surgeries is on a steep rise in the past two decades, almost doubling. There has been much discussion into why patients have been opting for surgeries earlier in life and why the number of surgeries has doubled. Some preliminary research has shown that the obesity epidemic and population growth has been the main contributor to these factors. But some researchers are still not convinced that these are the definitive causes.
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Unfortunately, population growth and obesity statistics do not follow the same growth pattern. During a nine-year period between 1999 and 2008 knee surgeries in the USA more than doubled while population growth increased 11 percent and the number of people falling into obese category increased by roughly 20 percent. Therefore, there must be other reasons for the increased number of knee surgeries. One explanation might be the increased injuries sustained by the population and the increased number of patients opting for surgery. Surgeries for the knee have become less invasive explaining to why patients might be opting for surgeries. Surgeries are quicker and healing times are faster.
We are educated on television programs that when your knee is in extreme pain it is time to get tough and persist through the discomfort. Instead of resting, take a pain pill and anti inflammatory to ignore you problem. Well this is completely the contrary. If you are in pain this is a sign to stop and rest. What until your body tells you it is okay to slowly get back into your favourite sport!
Opinions in the medical community are stating that the baby boomer generation is opting for knee surgeries as if they were going to get a coffee at Starbucks. Baby boomers are subjecting their knees to more high-risk activities and at the same time living much longer than their parents. A hundred or more years ago communities were much more involved in labor-intensive daily activities and were subjecting their knees to the same type of stress. However, unlike today the life expectancy was not as long. Several decades ago the leading cause of knee surgeries was rheumatoid arthritis, while today the most common cause has become osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical stress to the knee joint.
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Should we be alarmed or worried that the population is opting for more surgical procedures. Prevention and education may be the key to reducing sky rocketing statistics regarding knee problems and surgical intervention. Call your North Vancouver Chiropractor today to learn how to prevent further injuring yourself.
In comparison, hip surgeries are on the mend. The reason for the decrease in hip surgeries is due to better screening at an earlier age by medical doctors. Screening for such things as hip dysplasia has dramatically improved. Unfortunately, knee surgeries do not have the same luck. While knee surgeries are on the rise the number of orthopedic surgeons is decreasing causing delays in treatment. Medical doctors are opting to do their specialty in spine surgeries as it is more lucrative for them.
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Technology has changed and the ability for new synthetic materials to be used in the knee joint proves very successful long term. As well, with new robotic instruments surgeons can make far less damage to the tissues and speed up healing time. Previously, the quadriceps tendon was incised and the knee joint opened up for surgical purposes. Now with less invasive surgery only a portion of the quadriceps tendon is incised allowing for less scar tissue and pain. Incisions have also gone from 8 – 12 inches to now 4 inches depending on the patient’s anatomy and body fat percentage. In light of this article knee surgeries are on the rise, however we need to clarify that there are many different types of surgeries for specific knee problems.
First of all, it is important to know that the knee joint is the largest joint in the human body. The knee joint supports the entire weight of the human body and is said to be the most intricate of all joints. The different types of knee surgeries include but are not limited to meniscus, ACL reconstruction, knee replacement, lateral release, tendon repair and micro trauma surgery.
As a North Vancouver Chiropractor working with knee pain, it is concerning that people are ignoring warning signs of pain and continuing to engage in activities while suffering from specific sport injuries. Unfortunately, this will lead to damaging cartilage, bone and soft tissues of the joint. The human body was not designed to with stand extreme physical stresses for prolonged periods. Thus, damage ensues to the specific joint and the patient will require surgery.