Hip and knee replacement surgery can significantly reduce pain and disability in older people with arthritis, researchers have said.
Over nine million people in the UK suffer from arthritis, which involves inflammation of the joints and is usually accompanied by pain and mobility problems.
A study presented at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology found that knee and hip replacement surgery brought about an improvement in self-assessed functional ability.
In addition, the study of 483 patients revealed an average 20 per cent reduction in pain a year after surgery.
Dr Eliza Chakravarty, assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, said: "We were surprised that the impact on pain was so impressive, even over that of the change in disability in people who have had a joint replacement.
"This data would not be captured in the nationwide observations of the decline in disability over the past few decades, but is consistent with our clinical observations of the dramatic effect of pain relief associated with total joint replacement," she added.