MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Registration is now available for West Virginia residents suffering from debilitating hip or knee pain to be considered for free joint replacement this December at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital through Operation Walk USA.

“We are proud to be able to participate in Operation Walk USA again this year,” Benjamin Frye, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon and director of the Operation Walk USA program at WVU Medicine, said. “Joint replacements can be life-changing surgeries, and it is an honor to be able to provide them for patients who may not have been able to afford it otherwise.”

To be considered, prospective patients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, uninsured, 18 years of age or older, and be at or below 30 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Potential patients may not have Medicare or Medicaid.

Patients can apply to Operation Walk starting this month and will be matched to a participating hospital close to them later this year.

“We’re recruiting patients earlier this year in the hopes that we will be able to provide surgeries for more eligible patients,” Dr. Frye said. 

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 46 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating end stages of hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working or completing even the simplest of daily tasks – lifting a child, getting into the car, running errands, or traveling on business – exceedingly difficult and challenging.

For more information on the criteria for joint replacement through Operation Walk USA, contact Cynthia Drummond, R.N., B.S.N., WVU Medicine orthopaedic nurse clinician, at 304-598-6720 or drummondcy@wvumedicine.org. To register as a prospective patient, visit http://operationwalkusa.org/patients/.