If you have osteoarthritis (OA), which is the most common form of knee arthritis, and are experiencing significant pain that makes it difficult to perform your daily activities, you may want to consider knee replacement surgery.
Total knee replacement is a very common surgery with more than one million performed annually, slightly more frequently in women and in individuals aged 45 to 64 years and 65 to 84.
How Bad Does a Knee Have to Be Before Considering Replacement?
For the majority of patients with knee pain that’s infringing on their ability to go on walks and enjoy other recreational activities, most doctors will try more conservative treatments before recommending surgery. Some of these conservative treatments include exercise, physical therapy, injections, medications, and other non-surgical procedures. Losing weight is also recommended before considering knee replacement.
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When You Should Consider Knee Replacement
Consult your doctor about knee replacement if you’re experiencing any or all of the following:
- Your long-lasting pain isn’t improving. If you’ve tried the more conservative treatments and your pain isn’t getting better, knee replacement could be a good option.
- Your arthritis is interfering with your life. If simple, necessary activities such as walking, sleeping, and working are becoming difficult due to knee pain, knee replacement might be the answer.
- Your knees are swollen and stiff. A painful, stiff, and swollen knee can be improved dramatically with knee replacement surgery, which removes the damaged, inflamed tissue that causes stiffness and swelling.
- Your knee’s been injured. If you’ve suffered an injury that deforms your knee, or if you were born with a knee deformity, you may want to look into knee replacement.
- Your knee hurts when you’re at rest. Knee pain typically gets worse when it’s being used while walking, running, or exercising. On the other hand, if it hurts when you’re not using it, you may need surgery to help with the pain.
- Your legs are bowed. If your knee bows in or out, knee replacement surgery will replace damaged portions with an artificial joint that can correct the bowing.
- You want to remain active. If your knee is preventing you from enjoying physical activities like running and skiing, you may want to consider knee replacement.
- You want lasting relief. The average knee replacement lasts for 20-25 years and a little less for those who are more physically active. Overall, artificial joints provide long-term improvement.
Benefits of Knee Replacement Surgery
There are several different types of knee surgery, some of which are full- and partial-knee replacements. Here are the main benefits you can expect from knee replacement surgery:
- Pain relief. Probably the biggest benefit you’ll notice after surgery is not experiencing pain during your daily activities and when you’re at rest.
- Improved mobility. Knee replacement surgery will make it easier to climb stairs, walk, and exercise, which is important in helping to maintain a healthy weight.
- Better treatment response. If your knee pain, inflammation, and swelling doesn’t get better with rest, medication, or other treatments, knee surgery can be a good option. Long-term use of certain medications, including NSAIDs and opioid pain relievers, can cause complications. Getting knee replacement surgery reduces your need for medications and other treatments.
- High success and satisfaction rates. More than 90% of those who undergo knee replacement surgery, most of whom have OA, say that it improves their pain and that they’re satisfied with the results one year after the procedure.
Learn More About Total Knee Replacement
If you think that knee replacement surgery might be right for you, make sure to do research and also consult with your doctor. Visit Baptist Health to learn more about what to expect when preparing for total knee replacement surgery.