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Published studies show an increased risk of knee OA for people who continually perform certain actions as part of their jobs1


WARSAW,Ind. (Dec. 8, 2015)–Studies show that  some occupational activities such as repeated squatting, kneeling, climbing, lifting, standing and carrying heavy loads can lead to knee osteoarthritis (OA) at a rate several times higher than in sedentary workers, and may accelerate this painful disease in those who already have it.1-9 These actions may be associated with certain occupations such as construction workers, farmers, firefighters, active military and the nursing profession.1-13 One in two adults will develop symptoms of knee OA during their lives.14 

To raise awareness of knee OA and work, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewskiand DePuy Synthes Companies are teaming up to launch Hardest Working Knees. The initiative offers tips for keeping knees healthy and alleviating chronic knee pain, and encourages people to speak with a doctor if their knee pain is affecting their lives. In recognition of those who have found treatment options that enable them to return to work, DePuy Synthes Companies will make a donation to Project Return to Work, Inc., which provides employment services to all active duty service members, veterans and their spouses. Hardest Working Knees is an extension of Getting Back to Giving Back, an educational and philanthropic campaign started by DePuy Synthes Companies in 2014 that celebrates the stories of individuals with hip and knee OA who are committed to actively give back to their communities, despite their conditions.

“OA pain can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to perform their job duties, even when they are doing the jobs they love,” said Dr. David Fisher*, an orthopaedic surgeon at Ortho Indy in Indianapolis. “It is particularly important for people who work in occupations that may place stress on the knees to understand their risks for OA and when to speak with a health care professional about treatment options.”

As someone whose career was once at risk due to pain related to hip OA, Coach K wants people with OA of the hip or knee to know there are treatment options that may enable them to get back to the jobs they love. Being unable to walk or stand for long periods of time interfered with his ability to interact with his players on the court and his ability to fulfill his passion of coaching and mentoring young adults. After consulting with his doctor, he made the decision to undergo joint replacement surgery.

“I am fortunate to work in a profession that, like so many others, brings satisfaction not only to me but also the community,” said Coach K. “However, I know firsthand how the long-term effects of performing physically demanding activities on a daily basis can impede mobility and drain your energy and passion, if not addressed. Thanks to my surgeon and physical therapist, I am still able to coach and love helping young athletes fulfill their dreams.”

Through the campaign, Coach K and DePuy Synthes Companies are also honoring a group of inspiring individuals with “hard working knees” who persevered in their jobs despite having knee pain. For more information about the campaign, or to learn about keeping knees healthy and OA treatment options, visit www.AllAboutKneePain.com .

A Team** of Inspiring Individuals

Ron, 69, is a retired United States Marine Corps Colonel who is an avid runner and enjoys riding his motorcycle. In 2012, Ron began to suffer from pain in his left knee brought on by severe OA. Eventually, the pain became so severe that he had to stop running, and it also started to interfere with his ability to do his job. After speaking with his doctor about treatment options, Ron had his left knee replaced in February 2014, followed by physical therapy. He committed to training and conditioning, and just seven months following his total knee replacement surgery, Ron was able to complete his 54th marathon. Recently, he completed his 55th marathon and is back to doing things he enjoys most, like biking, running, speed-walking, and riding his motorcycle.

Lani, 57, is a small animal veterinarian and equestrian physical therapist who provides chiropractic, therapeutic laser and massage therapy for competition/sport horses. Lani’s knee problems started decades ago after she injured her left knee in a horse riding accident, and over time, she developed OA in both knees. The pain grew progressively worse, making it physically difficult for her to perform her job, and affecting her ability to enjoy her hobbies such as riding horses, hiking and camping. After trying several treatments with no success, Lani and her doctor discussed the option of total knee replacement. In 2013, she had a double knee replacement procedure, followed by physical therapy. Now, Lani is back to working, riding horses and living an active-pain-free life.

Lesa, 54, is a seventh generation dairy farmer who runs a farm her parents started in 1964. Over the years, working physical 12 to 14 hour days put a strain on her knees. Lesa’s knee pain started abruptly and it quickly became difficult for her to perform her daily jobs on the farm. The pain became so severe that her doctor told her she would need to either retire from farming or have knee replacement surgery. In 2003, she underwent her first knee replacement. Later on, she also had her other knee replaced. After completing the procedures and physical therapy following each, Lesa was able to resume work on the farm, and feels like she’s been given a new lease on life.

Vaughan, 54, is a trader and avid exercise enthusiast who enjoys daily workouts and regular squash and tennis matches. Over time, severe knee pain forced her to give up parts of her athletic lifestyle, like running and singles squash. Vaughan even started to walk with a limp. When her doctor suggested knee replacement surgery, Vaughan was worried about the impact it would have on her work and the strain it would place on her colleagues who would need to cover for her as she healed. She considered surgery for five years, deciding to move forward after she lost a doubles squash tournament and realized her mobility was so impaired that squash was no longer an option even for social games.  In July 2014, she had her left knee replaced. Less than a year later, she had her right knee replaced. Now, after both knee replacements and physical therapy, Vaughan is back to enjoying everyday activities and is looking forward to getting back on the squash court.

About Osteoarthritis

OA is a chronic condition, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. With this condition, the normal smooth joint surfaces are worn away, and over time this may result in bone-on-bone contact, pain and stiffness. One in two adults will develop symptoms of knee OA during the course of their lives.14 Although OA becomes more common with age, it can affect adults of all ages, usually as the result of a joint injury or inherited joint defect.15 OA typically affects only certain joints, particularly the knees, hips, hands, low back and neck.14

In 2014, approximately 679,000 total knee replacements were performed in the U.S.16 More than 90 percent of people who had total knee replacement surgery experienced a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in their ability to perform daily activities.17

Important Safety Information

The performance of knee and hip replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have knee or hip replacement surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if knee or hip replacement is required based on an individual patient's condition.

About DePuy Synthes Companies

DePuy Synthes Companies provides the most comprehensive orthopaedic and neurological solutions in the world. The company offers an unparalleled breadth of products, services, programs and research and development capabilities. DePuy Synthes Companies’ solutions in the specialties of joint reconstruction, trauma, neurological, craniomaxillofacial, spinal surgery and sports medicine are designed to advance patient care while delivering clinical and economic value to health care systems worldwide. For more information, visit www.depuysynthes.com .

*Dr. David Fisher is a paid consultant for DePuy Synthes Companies.

** As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. 

©DePuy Synthes 2015. All rights reserved.


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12 Cameron KL, Hsiao MS, Owens BD, Burks R, Svoboda SJ. Incidence of physician diagnosed osteoarthritis among active duty military service members.  Arthritis & Rheumatism.  2011;63:2974-82.

13 Andersen S, Thygesen LC, Davidsen M, Helweg-Larsen K. Cumulative years in occupation and the risk of hip or knee osteoarthritis in men and women: a register-based follow-up study.  Occup Environ Med 2012;69:325-30.

14 Arthritis Foundation. What is Osteoarthritis? http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.php . Accessed August 26, 2015.

15 National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH). Handout on Health: Osteoarthritis. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Osteoarthritis/default.asp . Accessed August 26, 2015.

16 ©2015 GlobalData.

17 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Total Knee Replacement. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/PDFs/A00389.pdf . Accessed August 26, 2015.


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