The ins and outs of joint replacement

Dr. Adam Rothenber is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at EvergreenHealth Orthopedic & Sports Care. Courtesy photo/EvergreenHealth

Dr. Adam Rothenber is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at EvergreenHealth Orthopedic & Sports Care. Courtesy photo/EvergreenHealth

By Dr. Adam Rothenberg

Special to the Reporter

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2013–2015, an estimated 54.4 million U.S. adults were diagnosed each year with some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia. That’s a lot of Americans living with joint pain.

Luckily, a variety of treatment options are available for joint pain— with joint replacement being top of mind for many. But how do you know if joint replacement is right for you? Understanding the different types of joint pain and available treatment options is key to making an informed decision about your care.

Solutions for joint pain

Joint pain comes in many forms. Osteoarthritis, for example, is the most common diagnosis that causes a joint to break down. It can also lead to other issues such as inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and several gout issues. Less common inflammatory conditions exist as well, but all share a similar pathway leading to degradation of the cartilage and the structures around the joint, which work together to lubricate it and allow for range of motion.

When you experience persistent joint pain, keep in mind that there is a first line of defense before arriving at joint replacement. I first recommend to my patients that they remove some of the stressors triggering their pain through low-impact activities, like cycling and swimming. Maintaining a healthy weight and nutritious diet also will help ease pain and inflammation.

If these lifestyle changes don’t offer relief, the next recommendation is physical therapy. Like all other treatments or care regiments, your physical therapist will work with you to tailor your care plan to you and your individual health goals. Depending on your circumstance, I may also prescribe anti-inflammatory injections in conjunction with physical therapy, to further help relieve pain and increase function.

If these approaches haven’t resolved your joint pain and it’s still disrupting your quality of life, it may be time to for us to start a conversation about joint replacement surgery and whether it’s right for you.

Options for joint replacement

Prior to scheduling any type of procedure, I work together with my patients to set goals for what they want as a result of joint replacement. If you lead an active lifestyle, for example, do you want to get back to the same level of activity? Or perhaps you want to keep up with your grandchildren or go on more hikes or walks with the dog.

Your health and wellness goals, bone and joint health, individual anatomy and age are important factors in your surgical plan, as well. The most common age for joint replacement is 65, but some younger patients find that surgery is their best option.

In addition to considering these factors, I’ll evaluate your MRI and CT scans when developing your custom joint replacement plan, as advanced imaging can help precisely identify which part of the joint is damaged. Some individuals may need a partial joint replacement, while others are better suited for a full replacement. No two patients are alike, which is why it’s critical to customize care plans; there is no one-size-fits-all joint replacement.

In fact, state-of-the-art technologies for both knee and hip replacements offer several options for tailoring the procedure to your individual anatomy, while still preserving the structures in and around the joint that do function properly. In other words, we are able to simply replace the parts that are damaged. In some cases, we can even create custom implants to ensure the best fit and function for your anatomy.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Recovery is just as important as the joint replacement procedure itself, and similarly, can be individualized to help you recover comfortably and safely using a multimodal pain regimen. While everyone is different, the general recovery time for a hip or knee replacement is typically six weeks to reach roughly 75% – 80% recovery, with a full recovery taking anywhere from three months to one year.

Most importantly, when you have a joint replaced, you must keep it active to reap the full benefits. Staying active keeps the joint healthy and can help prevent other conditions like arthritis from developing. By staying active and maintaining a healthy diet, your joint replacement will better serve you and your lifestyle for years to come.

Continuing your care

If you want to explore your options for joint pain, EvergreenHealth is here to partner with you in every circumstance. During these unprecedented times, I – along with my team of physicians and providers –

remain dedicated as ever to caring for our community in an environment of absolute safety. To learn more about how we’re ensuring, safe, high-quality care during COVID-19, visit www.evergreenhealth.com/continuing-your-care.

Learn more about EvergreenHealth Orthopedic & Sports Care at www.evergreenhealth.com/ortho-sports-medicine.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

About Adam Rothenberg, MD: Adam Rothenberg, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at EvergreenHealth, specializes in total hip, total knee and partial knee replacement surgery. With extensive training in robotic-assisted techniques, he focuses on using minimally invasive approaches and patient-specific instrumentation to achieve the best results for his patients. Dr. Rothenberg also has advanced training in performing complex hip and knee arthroplasty revisions.

More in Life

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country
Car review: 2021 Chevy Tahoe 4WD High Country

By Larry Lark, contributor Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for short, in the… Continue reading

2021 Lexus NX 300h
Car review: 2021 Lexus NX 300h

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Lexus NX 300h luxury sports utility… Continue reading

2020 Honda Insight. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2020 Honda Insight

By Larry Lark, contributor Honda’s Civic and Accord have been bestsellers for… Continue reading

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE

By Larry Lark, contributor With each passing year Toyota continues to refine… Continue reading

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE

By Larry Lark, contributor Toyota’s venerable Corolla received a bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Atlas. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

By Larry Lark, contributor Volkswagen’s full-size Atlas SUV received a bold refresh… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Blazer. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to certain car models they… Continue reading

2021 Lexus RX 350L. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Lexus RX 350L

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a good day when a Lexus… Continue reading

The Cadillac CT4 is designed to appeal to a new generation of Cadillac buyers with its athletic design and astute driving dynamics. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

By Larry Lark, contributor With apologies to Oldsmobile, “the 2020 CT4 Premium… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor Mercedes-Benz occupies rarified air in the automobile pantheon.… Continue reading

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a call to action when a… Continue reading

Eleanor Knight, 14, and her younger brother, Ivan, then, 9, horse around while waiting to surf a wave on the Class III Wenatchee River. Courtesy photo.
Kayaking kid conquers raging rapids

“Between Two Swims” captures family’s brave adventures on film.