You likely remember the first time it happened. You were trying to keep up with the new hires at an aggressive sand volleyball game at the company picnic. You remember your right ankle sliding and the popping sound that came from your right knee. Just like that, you were out of the game and scheduling an arthroscopic knee surgery for the following Monday. And that time you were only a young 22-year-old.
Now that it has happened again, to your left knee this time, you are a little anxious about returning to the surgeon. It has been 30 years, and granted, this injury was a little less dramatic. It appears to be a result of repetitive motion on the golf course. But the results are the same–arthroscopic knee surgery again
You might be surprised to know how much the ACL reconstruction and the ACL repair process and their recovery have changed. What may have been a week of keeping weight off your knee thirty years ago has progressed to a process of shorter recovery time, with less time on crutches than you might imagine. In fact, the number of knee replacements in the U.S. has almost doubled in the just the past decade to 600,000 a year. And the good news is that while artificial knees don’t last forever, you can expect at least 15 or 20 years of good use before you might need surgery again.
ACL surgery is just one of the many common surgeries active people may need in order to live a full life. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), 2.5 million Americans have undergone total hip arthroplasty (THA) procedures. In fact, in adults ages 80 to 89 years, about 6% have had total hip replacement, and 10% have a history of knee replacement. Shoulder surgery is also fairly common and it might surprise you to know that shoulder injuries are the fifth most common injury among high school athletes. When you realize that the youngest of athletes have sports injuries requiring orthopaedic care, it certainly should come as no shock that there are approximately 1.5 times more Americans living with a knee or hip replacement, as there are people living with heart failure.
There is no guarantee that your two knees repaired by arthroscopic knee surgery will allow you to play volleyball against the youngest employees for the next 30 years, but it is likely that they will hold out through many more years of repetitive golf motions.