As we age, our risk of falls increases. Sadly, so too does our likelihood of suffering an injury from a fall. However, a new study has found that the key to cutting the risk of falls could be a knee or hip replacement.
Here, we’ll look at what a knee and hip replacement involves and what the new study revealed about their effectiveness at reducing falls.
What is a knee or hip replacement?
A knee or hip replacement involves replacing the damaged joint and replacing it with prosthesis. The procedures are most commonly carried out on older patients with osteoarthritis. However, younger patients may also need to undergo a knee or hip replacement for a variety of reasons.
Knee and hip replacements are known to reduce pain, increase mobility and help patients return to an independent lifestyle. According the recent study, they can also cut the risk of falls.
Hip replacement study
The recent study, published within the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, looked at data from over 500,000 patients suffering from osteoarthritis. All of the patients had undergone either a knee or a hip replacement. The researchers compared the fall rates to those who hadn’t undergone a replacement procedure. It was revealed that those who underwent the procedure, had a much lower fall rate than those who didn’t.
Not only did the study prove joint replacement surgery reduces the risk of falls, but it also found it reduces the fear of falling too. Patients who had undergone a knee or hip replacement were found to be a lot less worried about falling than those who hadn’t.
So, a knee or hip replacement benefits the patient both physically and mentally. The authors of the study also provided tips for patients to prevent their risk of a fall after surgery. The key advice all patients should follow includes:
- Removing any loose rugs
- Covering sharp corners of tables and countertops
- Installing motion sensor night lights
- Installing handrails near stairs and in bathrooms
Patients are also advised to wear a communication device at all times to ensure they can receive help quickly if they do suffer a fall or injury.
Other benefits of knee and hip replacements
As well as preventing the risk of falls, knee and hip replacements also offer a number of other benefits. The main benefit is that a joint replacement can significantly reduce pain.
The damaged areas of the joint are removed during the surgery, completely eliminating the diseased joint. It is this which causes the pain, so once it has been removed, the pain is no longer there. The replacement joint provides pain-free mobility, enabling patients to walk around much easier.
This new study highlights the importance of knee and hip replacements in older patients. Falls are a major risk as we age, and they can cause a lot more damage compared to when we were young. Therefore, undergoing a knee or hip replacement could help patients to reduce their risk of falls, protecting their long-term health.
Call us on 020 8947 9524 to arrange a knee or hip replacement consultation with Mr Simon Bridle.