Baby Boomers Suffering From “Boomeritis”

Bad knees, worn-out hips and sore shoulders are common aliments of elderly people but in recent years these aliments have become an issue with Baby Boomers (47-65 year olds), spawning a boom in operations to fix them. According to recent news reports, knee replacement surgeries have doubled over the last decade and more than tripled with the Boomer generation and hip surgeries are trending that way too.

The rise of joint replacement surgeries may not all be due to obesity, as some people believe. Surprisingly, Boomers trying to stay fit and avoid extra pounds are suffering and this generation often believes bad joints can be swapped out like old tires on a car.

“It’s the mindset of ‘fix me at any cost, turn back the clock’,” said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, an adviser to several professional athletic groups and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Boomers are the first generation trying to stay active in droves on an aging frame.” Coining these aliments as “Boomeritis,” DiNubile claims that Boomers are less willing to use a cane and put up with pain/stiffness as their grandparents did.

Joint replacement surgeries have enabled millions of people to lead better lives, and surgeons are increasingly comfortable offering them to younger people. Unfortunately, no one really knows how well these implants will last in physically active Baby Boomers getting them now. Most studies were done in older people whose expectations were to be able to go watch a grandchild’s soccer game – not to play the game themselves.

Studies presented at a recent orthopedics conference found that knee replacements are lasting 20 years but this statistic is for older people who were not stressing their new joints by running marathons, skiing or playing tennis.

Besides the usual risks of infections, blood clots and anesthesia complications, specialists also say replacing joints in younger people increases the odds they’ll need future operations when these wear out. If you are considering have a joint replacement surgery, be sure to discuss the pros and cons in detail with your Orthopedic Surgeon and understand what you can and can’t do with an artificial joint.


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