Thursday, December 6, 2012

Had I Known Then


If I'd Known Then: Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves (What I Know Now)

Coach K Discusses the Impact Delaying Hip Replacement Surgery Had on His Life, and Wishes He Had Undergone Surgery Sooner

WARSAW, IN (December 5, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — Many people delay hip or knee replacement surgery for seven years or more despite debilitating osteoarthritis, due to fear, misinformation or a lack of awareness about treatment options.1 That’s why DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (DePuy) is teaming up with the coach of both the U.S. Olympic Team for Men’s Basketball and Duke University Men’s Basketball team, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, and Ellyn Spragins, author of the best-selling “Letters to My Younger Self®” book series to introduce the “Had I Known Then” booklet on joint health, available at

With baby boomers beginning to hit the years when many are affected by osteoarthritis,2 knowledge of hip and knee joint conditions and treatment options for severe joint pain becomes more important than ever. The booklet features letters from several baby boomers to their younger selves to provide encouragement and advice as they contemplate joint replacement surgery.

Among the patients featured in the booklet is Coach K, the winningest coach in Division I men’s college basketball, who considered an early retirement from the game he loved after suffering from severe hip pain due to osteoarthritis. Coach K consulted with his orthopaedic surgeon and had his left hip replaced in 1999.

“I really came close to retiring from coaching because the pain was getting unbearable both on and off the court, despite daily medications and physical therapy,” said Coach K. “That ‘99 season could very well have been my last if I didn’t get help.” After experiencing similar pain in his right hip, Coach K didn’t wait — he spoke with his surgeon about his treatment options and eventually had his right hip replaced in 2002. To read the “Had I Known Then” booklet, including Coach K’s letter to his younger self, please visit

“With the benefit of hindsight, I realized that, for all those years when I was suffering from osteoarthritis, I was bringing other opponents to the basketball court — pain, fatigue, lack of movement — and that really limited my ability to be a good leader and coach. I was battling a lot of opponents, not just those on the court. I really wish I would have had my hip replaced sooner,” said Coach K. “Today at 65, I feel younger than I did at 52. That’s why I’m eager to share my story with others and encourage people to seek help if they are experiencing severe hip or knee pain.”

Through speaking with Coach K and others who suffered from osteoarthritis, Ellyn Spragins discovered that few people reflect on the impact their health has on their lives, even though physicality is intimately tied to emotional well-being. With this latest collection of letters, she hopes the booklet inspires people to learn from the examples of other joint replacement patients and consider the impact that arthritis pain is having on them and their families now and how treatment could affect the course of their lives.

“For nearly a decade I’ve worked with dozens of people to write letters to their younger selves, reflecting on difficult moments in their lives and sharing the advice they wish they had known at that time,” said Ellyn. “In ‘Had I Known Then’ I’m hoping to inspire those suffering from osteoarthritis to take action and talk to an orthopaedic surgeon about treatment options. I hope these letters provide people with insight on the physical and emotional toll of osteoarthritis — such as our ability to do our jobs and pursue the activities we love — and the profound impact joint replacement can have on a person’s health and enjoyment of life.”

Osteoarthritis: Leading Source of Disability
The most frequent cause of severe hip or knee pain is osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition that begins with pain in the affected joint and does not get better with time. If left untreated, osteoarthritis can cause bone deterioration and pose long-term health issues.2 It is estimated that one in every five people in the United States has some form of arthritis and that osteoarthritis is one of the most common reasons a person will need a joint replacement.3 Hip or knee replacement surgery is an option for people diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis associated with joint damage, serious limitations in physical mobility and an overall reduced quality of life. People suffering from severe hip or knee pain due to osteoarthritis wait, on average, seven to 11 years before undergoing joint replacement surgery.1

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 Orthopaedics, Inc.
DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a global leader in hip, knee and shoulder replacement, is part of DePuy Synthes Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the largest provider of orthopaedic and neurological solutions in the world. For more information, visit

Mike Krzyzewski and Ellyn Spragins are compensated by DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., the sponsor of the “Had I Known Then” booklet on joint health.

The third-party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

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