Reporter: Mary Nickles
Producer: Carla Roberts Pruitt
(KUTV) - An estimated 43 million Americans have arthritis. And anyone with arthritis will tell you the pain is debilitating. Mike Bachman knows this to be true. He is a very active as a skier and as a guide. But years of working as a plumber finally took its toll on his knees. "It got so bad that last year, I didnt guide because I couldnt stand in the rivers anymore." Bachman also survived a small plane crash. The impact of the crash did even more damage to his knees. So earlier this year, he opted to have knee replacement surgery.
Knee replacement surgery is the last resort for many people with arthritis. Doctors will try medication and even physical therapy. However, for many people like Mike, it is an easy decision to make. "When that cartilage wears out, we typically call that bone-on-bone arthritis." Doctor Thomas Colton is a surgeon who specializes in joint replacement surgery at McKay-Dee Hospital. "That technically gives the joint no cushion and that sets up inflammation and that leads to swelling in the joint."
Joint replacement surgery has evolved over the years and so has the technology. "Patients return to normal lives," said Dr. Colton. "Patients who cant exercise now can exercise again. Those who work around the house, play ball, take vacations with their families can return to those activities."
Doctor Colton says there are things you can do now to maybe prevent having joint problems later in life. You need to avoid injuries, exercise regularly, and try to keep your weight down.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcast Group)