The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Progress and Innovation in Podiatry: Arthritis Joint Replacement Has Come a Long Way

Posted by on Thursday, May 29th, 2014


Arthritis joint replacement used to be a desperate move for people enduring severe pain. Sometimes the replacement joints didn’t move naturally or exhibit full range-of-motion. Other times, the replacement worked great for five years, but then individuals required a new replacement as the artificial parts became worn out. Nowadays, arthritis joint replacements work with the body’s natural processes to encourage regeneration. The next generation implants truly represent a whole new class of functionality and durability. Ankle replacements are one of the many procedures we can do here at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NYC.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative arthritis, commonly occurring in 80% of all arthritis cases.

The Story of a 60-Year-Old Woman’s Arthritis Joint Replacement

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tells the story of 60-year-old Deborah Cole Thomas of Plum, PA, who had been limping around since her 2002 osteoarthritis diagnosis. Over the course of 15 years, her condition kept worsening. She underwent two mid-foot joint fusion surgeries in both feet, as well as a total ankle replacement on her left side. A stabbing pain afflicted her right knee, as her body tried to compensate for the shift in biomechanics. She relied upon pain medication, taken round-the-clock, to get through the day. “I try not to let it affect me,” she says. “There’s always something I can do just to keep moving,” she adds. Every day, she tries to walk 10,000 steps. In the meantime, researchers are coming up with better ways to repair aging joints.

3d printer joints
A 3-D printer like this one shows promise in the science of joint repair and cartilage reconstruction.

New Arthritis Joint Replacement Technology Shows Promise

A team of Pittsburgh scientists at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering is working to understand exactly how enzymes, proteins, and genes contribute to the destruction of joint cartilage. Team leader Rocky S. Tuan says they are using 3-D printers to make new joints using a stem cell solution, growth factors, and scaffolding material. These artificial biological joints have already been successfully transplanted into large animals, such as  dogs. Tuan believes these new joints will replace metal and plastic joints, especially in younger patients who are at high risk of needing revision surgeries.

Osteoarthritis Remains a Formidable Foe

The Albuquerque Journal reports the following troubling statistics from the Arthritis Foundation:

– 80% of arthritis cases are osteoarthritis, rather than the autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (1% of all cases).

– 27 million Americans suffer from arthritis, which is the #1 physical disability in America.

– 1 in 2 people over the age of 65 have at least one joint impaired by arthritis.

– Every year, there are 632,000 joint replacement surgeries used to treat osteoarthritis.

– Osteoarthritis cost society an estimated $128 billion in 2012 for medical care, lost wages, and lost productivity.

– Half of Americans develop symptoms of osteoarthritis in their knees at some point in life.

– 2 in 3 obese American adults have osteoarthritis of the knee.

– Women over 50 are more likely to have osteoarthritis, with onset typically beginning after age 40.

Given these grim statistics, The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine is fully committed to exploring the best treatments and scientific advances being developed to continue offering top-of-the-line care to our patients.

arthritis pain management
Ask us about advanced arthritis pain management options.

Arthritis Treatment in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine offers advanced treatment for osteoarthritis, from stem cell therapy to total ankle replacements. Our board-certified podiatrists and podiatric surgeons attend national conferences and training sessions to learn about the latest advancements in the field. We offer full rehabilitation and physical therapy programs to help you maintain range-of-motion and flexibility. Your acute pain relief is our number one priority! Book an appointment in Manhattan or Westchester today.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.