The number of working-age Canadians getting hip and knee replacements has more than tripled in the past decade, to the point where one in three of the procedures are now done on people under the age of 65.
Osteoarthritis is traditionally seen as a disease of aging – cartilage wears down over time like rubber on car tires – but it is increasingly affecting younger people who are overweight. Genetics also play a role and vigorous exercise and injuries can also cause arthritis.
Moreover, baby boomers are unwilling to live with the pain and discomfort of creaky joints. Advances in technology and surgery have made the procedure more accessible, and so has the government. Cutting wait times for hip and knee replacements was one of the five priorities identified by government, and that’s another reason the number of surgeries doubled in the last decade. As demand grows, baby boomers will have to keep the pressure up, to make sure these procedures remain at the top of the list.