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Alternatives to surgery

When surgery isn’t the answer

If you have serious health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes, your doctor may decide that a total joint replacement would put too much stress on your body.

In some instances, your age or your weight may make the surgery too risky for you.

There are many nonsurgical alternatives that can relieve joint pain. For instance, your doctor may suggest:

  • Pain medication.
  • Dietary supplements that promote joint health.
  • Losing weight to ease stress on the joint.
  • Reducing physical activities that cause pain.
  • Exercises that keep muscles and joints flexible, promote fitness, and strengthen the muscles that support damaged joints.
  • Braces or a cane to help you walk.
  • Physical therapy.

While most people undergoing joint replacement surgery are over 60, younger people may have a joint replacement procedure when their condition warrants it.

However, younger people may have other options available to them, such as changing to a less physically demanding job, or having a different type of procedure that realigns or only partially replaces a joint.

Rehabilitation Services


Most patients try physical therapy before resorting to joint replacement. Ask your doctor if PT could help you.