No matter how much progress is made in promoting gender equality, there are certain fundamental differences between women and men that affect how both sexes live-and how healthy those lives are.
For example, women are disproportionately affected and disabled by joint diseases such as arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia, according to a report in Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. In fact, women suffer from severe arthritis at three times the rate of men, and according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, are twice as likely to need total joint replacements.
Cindy Goodfellow from Temple, Texas, experienced this inequality firsthand. An active senior with six grandchildren, Goodfellow’s arthritis affected her so severely in her knees that she had trouble performing routine activities.
“Every time I climbed, stood or even sat in one place for a while, the pain was excruciating,” said Goodfellow. “I felt like I was living a part-time life.” She knew that she needed to take action before her pain forced her to miss the things she enjoyed most.
But hundreds of thousands of women are not seeking the treatment they require. While the need for total joint replacement may be greater for women, studies show they are less likely to receive treatment. There are a number of theories why, from relentless schedules to uncertainty about joint replacements themselves.
After consulting with her physician on possible treatments, Goodfellow decided to undergo surgery and receive a Stryker Triathlon® knee replacement, the first knee system designed with women in mind. Based on years of research, the Triathlon Knee System has a more narrow design than traditional knee implants, helping to provide improved fit and function for the female anatomy.
Dr. Kirby Hitt, a leading orthopaedist from Temple, Texas, performed the surgery on Goodfellow and is one of the first surgeons in the world to use the Triathlon Knee System at his practice.
“With the demand for joint replacement treatment increasing, I want to be sure my patients receive a knee system that has the potential to meet their specific needs, regardless of their gender,” said Dr. Hitt. “With the Triathlon, my patients are consistently surprised with the shorter length of the recovery period and how quickly they recover their range of motion and perform activities that were difficult prior to surgery.”
One of the key components of a knee system is its bearing technology. Not only does the Triathlon system provide an improved fit for women, but its Stryker bearing-surface technology will give ease of mind to patients like Goodfellow for many years to come.
“At first, knee replacement surgery seemed like a scary procedure,” said Goodfellow. “But after receiving the Triathlon and having the ability to do things like kneeling in the garden and playing with my grandkids, I can’t envision my life any other way.”