In This Section      

Johns Hopkins Health - Ode to Joints

Fall 2009
Issue No. 6

Ode to Joints

Date: September 24, 2009

african american man and african american woman jogging

Today’s joint replacements aren’t just for your grandparents—or your great-grandparents. Active lifestyles, changing attitudes and better materials are making younger adults more likely candidates

Joint replacement used to be a last resort, mainly for people over age 60. But boomers and younger adults have been sweating it out in the gym or on the track for years. Those more active lifestyles have had an impact on joints such as knees and hips, causing discomfort and even debilitating pain. That’s prompting younger people to consider joint replacement to help them stay fit and active.

This is not a bad thing, says orthopedic surgeon Tariq Nayfeh, M.D. First, younger patients are concerned about the possible long-term effects of pain medication.

“Many times, these patients are experiencing a lot of pain and nothing seems to get rid of it,” he explains. That pain may be so severe that even routine activities such as walking or going shopping become problematic. Plus, Nayfeh notes, they want to capitalize on the remaining years that they can be active.

Fortunately, technology has kept pace with demands of younger patients, making hip and knee replacement a more viable option. Advances in materials—including metal-on-metal and sophisticated plastics—have resulted in replacement joints that may last up to 25 years. And refined surgical techniques promote better alignment of the joints, spare more muscle tissue and decrease recovery time.

It all adds up to better function and longer wear, Nayfeh says.
“It means these younger folks can get back to the lifestyles they enjoy without having to worry about pain medication or another operation a few years down the road,” he says.?

What’s New in Joint Replacement?

  • Surgical expertise that means better placement, alignment and joint longevity
  • New materials for replacement joints, including refined plastics
  • Hip resurfacing, a technique that removes far less bone than a total hip replacement
  • Options for minimally invasive and muscle-sparing procedures

Learn more about joint replacement options at, or call 877-546-1872 for appointments or consultations.