Researchers believe that the rising number of knee replacements in the younger generation (the 50 somethings) is in part due to the rise in obesity.
This is interesting for me as, whilst I am not classed as obese but over-weight, I have knee problems. Knee problems run in my family – my grandmother always had one swollen knee and my mother, aged 69 at the time and never even over-weight, had a knee replacement last year. Both my sister and I (sister has always been a small size 8-10) both have knee problems too.
When, a few years ago, I’d lost weight I did lots of road running plus a couple of half marathons thrown in for good measure. Little did I know I’d be compounding my genetic knee problems. Now, in my mid 40’s, and 2 stone over-weight, my knees are bad. They click lots when I walk up the stairs, and on cold days like today can be sore. If I kneel for too long my knee ‘gives-out’ as I try to stand up. So I’m guessing that whilst my knee problem is largely genetic, being 2 stone lighter is likely to help.
The life of a knee replacement is largely unknown as most patients have their knees replaced in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but the best estimate is about 15 years. If a more active 50-something has a knee replacement, experts are unclear as to how long such a replacement will last.
Arthritis Research UK is currently investigating the success rate of knee replacement surgery in this younger 50-something age group. The charity wants to ensure that the artificial knees being implanted today can last 30 years or more.
Professor Alan Silman says knee replacement operations carried out in the UK now outnumber hip replacements, with almost 90,000 operations performed in 2010 – this is an increase of 5.7% on the previous year. He went on to say “More knee replacements are being performed because the population is getting older and more obese – two of the main causes of knee osteoarthritis – but also because they are increasingly being carried out on younger people, under the age of 50.”
So, do I have knee replacement surgery to look forward to in my 50’s or will the loss of 2 stone mean I can avoid an operation even though I have a genetic disposition to bad knees? Let’s see as I continue to lose weight!!