Living with knee pain can become part of a daily routine for many, and some resign themselves to thinking it's just part of the aging process. Often, people live with the pain for years and delay having important conversations with their doctors.
According to a recent survey of more than 500 U.S. women ages 45-65, including those who have had joint replacement surgery and those planning to have joint replacement surgery, 58% of respondents who had yet to have joint replacement surgery experienced pain for more than five years and an average of six days a week.
Dr. Anna Kulidjian, an orthopaedic surgeon at Scripps Clinic-Green Hospital in San Diego, CA, has seen firsthand how knee pain can affect patients' lives beyond their own daily routine.
"Pain is a terrible thing. It changes your personal relationships, your ability to work, ability to interact with friends, colleagues and family."
This was no different for Barb Crawford, a former elementary school teacher, wife and grandmother who lived for years with the burden of knee pain prior to considering surgery.
"I was miserable. It affected not just my duties as a teacher, but the activities I knew and loved to do with my husband Ted," Barb recalls.
Barb, like many others who have suffered through countless years with knee pain, felt like she had run out of options.
"I had tried a lot of different things, whether it was injections or physical therapy. Nothing seemed to work to treat the pain," Barb recounts.
Having conversations with a loved one about their knee pain can be difficult, but support can come in a variety of ways. With her pain mounting, Barb remembers getting the confidence to consult a surgeon from her fellow teachers. All it took was a nudge.
"No one really spoke up, but when I told my fellow teachers I was considering surgery their encouragement helped me take the next step."
For Barb, that step was having the right conversation with her surgeon. It was important for her to understand what to expect before and after surgery, and to ensure that her husband was involved throughout the process.
"Although knee replacement surgery is performed more than 760,000 times each year in the U.S. alone1, the decision to proceed is tough and l emphasize to patients the importance of a strong support system. We encourage friends and loved ones to participate in the process any way they can," comments Dr. Kulidjian.
"It was really hard for me to watch Barb suffer for years," recalls Ted. "She would come home at night and just sit around because the pain had taken all her energy during the day." In fact, the same survey mentioned above showed that 52% of respondents say their knee and/or hip pain makes it difficult to be a part of their family.
After Barb and her surgeon discussed options, they decided having both of her knees replaced with the ATTUNE® Knee System was the right choice for her.
And Ted was her biggest supporter.
"Barb approached rehabilitation with the right attitude. We went to physical therapy together and I was there to watch her do her exercises and witness her success," Ted recalls.
With her dedication to rehab, Barb was able to return to the things she loved and the people she loved with a renewed outlook on life.
Now, nearly five years since Barb's knee surgery and full recovery, Ted and Barb reflect positively on how they've been able to get back to living their lives.
"We did it together," says Ted. "It changed my life just as much as it changed hers."
"It was the best decision I ever made, and for me it was so worth it," Barb concludes.
It's important to remember that the performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have these surgeries. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if knee replacement is necessary based on an individual patient's condition.
For more information and to hear more stories from people who have received the ATTUNE Knee, visit www.ATTUNEKnee.com.
About the Survey
DePuy Synthes commissioned the survey which was conducted online by Edelman Intelligence between June 4 - 15, 2018 in the United States among 253 women 45-65 years old who had knee and/or hip replacement surgery in the last five years and 271 women 45-65 years old who are planning to have knee and/or hip replacement surgery in the next two years.
© DePuy Synthes 2018. All rights reserved.