Harvard Women's Health Watch

How to avoid joint surgery

Try these tips to get more life out of your own joints.

In the 1970s TV series The Bionic Woman, secret agent Jaime Sommers' legs and right arm were rebuilt with bionic parts after she was injured during a skydiving accident. The new parts came in handy when she needed to, say, outrun a pack of vicious dogs or jump rivers.

While science hasn't progressed far enough to outfit us all with superhero-like bionic parts, it has enabled us to surgically replace a hip, knee, shoulder, or other joint that's been damaged by overuse or arthritis. Replacement joints today are made from plastic, metal, or a combination of the two materials. And although they won't enable us to leap rivers or scale buildings, they can help us move more easily and with less pain.

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