In the past joint replacements were mainly used on older people as worries about wearing out the new joint meant people put off surgery for as long as possible. But massive moves forward in joint technology now mean surgeons are telling patients they don’t need to suffer pain for years – new joints can help them lead a full and active life long into old age.
Surgeons are urging people to seek help sooner rather than later and stress that symptoms rather than age should determine when a replacement joint is necessary.
Mr Habib Rahman, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull said: “People should not worry about modern-day replacement hips wearing out – they will last a very long time – and if you are lucky enough to ‘outlive’ a replacement joint then there is nothing to stop you having another one.”
Mark Allen was only 17 when he was first told he had arthritis.
Now, at just 41-years-old, the father-of-two, from Shard End, Birmingham, has had his second artificial hip fitted and is back being an ‘action dad’ for eight-year-old Ellie and five-year-old Archie.
Mark, a warehouse driver for Carlsberg UK is now telling fellow sufferers that they don’t have to put up with the pain – whatever their age.
“A lot of people think that if they are under 60 years old they are too young for a hip or knee replacement. However, if the alternative is almost constant pain and the inability to get about properly they really should think again,” he said.
“People tell me they are holding back as long as they can from having a replacement joint because they are worried it will wear out and they will have to have another fitted. I tell them to enjoy their lives now, if it does wear out in years to come then have another fitted. Living with pain should not be their chosen option! ”
Mark had been having annual steroid injections to help him cope with the pain caused by his arthritis. But when he reached 35 his consultant, orthopaedic surgeon Mr Habib Rahman, told him his right hip was crumbling and that he needed a replacement.
“I had suffered from arthritis for many years, my mother and my grandparents also suffered, it seems it was a gene running in our family that caused this.
“When Mr Rahman suggested an hip operation it did cross my mind that I was young to be having such a thing but I decided that if it kept me on the move and got rid of the pain then why not?
“Five years later, when the second hip became too much to bear, I didn’t need any convincing – I had it replaced as soon as possible.”
Both operations were carried out at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull by Mr Rahman who said: “People should not worry about modern-day replacement hips wearing out – they will last a long time – and if you are lucky enough to ‘outlive’ a replacement joint then there is nothing to stop you having another one.
“When your hip or knee is affecting your quality of life then that is the time to act. Stop telling yourself you are too young. If your joint is stopping you from doing the things you want to do then that is the right age for a replacement.”