Joints are formed at the ends of two or more bones, which are connected by tissue called cartilage. Healthy cartilage serves as a protective cushion, allowing smooth, low-friction movement of the joint. If the cartilage becomes damaged by disease or injury, the tissues around the joint may become inflamed, causing pain. With time, the cartilage may wear away, allowing the rough edges of bone to rub against each other, causing more pain.
When only part of the joint is damaged, a surgeon may be able to repair or replace just the damaged areas. When the entire joint is damaged, a total joint replacement is performed. To replace a hip or knee joint, a surgeon removes the diseased or damaged parts and inserts artificial parts, called prostheses or implants.
Hip and knee replacements are helping people live active lives without pain.