When the pain of knee arthritis is keeping you from living your life and moderate treatments have not been sufficiently helpful you may consider talking to your doctor about a knee replacement.
These can be very effective for relieving pain in many cases. However, surgery to replace all or part of your knee joint is major surgery and there are risks.
Nothing is as Good as Original Equipment
When you have severe arthritis in your knees nothing is going to make them 16 years old again.
Things will be different
After your knee replacement, you may have too much laxity in the ligaments making your knee feel unstable.
Or, the ligaments around your knee may be too tight causing them to limit the normal motion of your knee.
X-rays can help your doctor decide if a
knee replacement is the best treatment
for your knee arthritis.
Your new knee may not work the way your old one did.
You may not be able to run or jog. It may be difficult for you to walk on uneven ground, such as in the garden or in the forest. Your surgeon can advise you on what to expect after surgery.
You may still have pain.
Your surgeon will do everything that he can to make your knee replacement as perfect as possible. But knee replacements do not always turn out perfect. You need to understand this before surgery and discuss it with your doctor and surgeon.
You can Help make Your Surgery a Success
There are some things that you can do to improve your chances of good outcome following your surgeon. Losing weight, improving your physical fitness, and following the instructions of your therapist and surgeon are all important parts of a successful surgery.
Losing Excess Weight
Before your knee replacement surgery, it is important that you lose any excess weight that you are carrying. If you are very overweight, losing the excess pounds may help you to avoid surgery all together.
Talk to your doctor about what your options are. Calorie restrictions, referral to a nutritionist, an exercise program, and bariatric surgery are all options to be considered.
Improve Your Physical Conditioning
You may have knee pain from the knee arthritis but there are still exercises that you can do. Improving your physical fitness will make your physical therapy exercises easier after surgery.
Pool exercises can be helpful because the buoyancy of the water takes pressure off of your knees. Cycling can be effective because it is low impact while still strengthening muscles and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
Follow the Instructions of Your Surgeon
Your surgeon who want you to get up and walk the day after surgery. This is important to prevent stiffness and reduce the risk of blood clots.
After the first few days you will be given a detailed exercise program for stretching and strengthening your knee. Most surgeons will prescribe pain medicine for the first few weeks after surgery. You should take this as prescribed to help you perform the required exercises.
Risks of Surgery
Along with the risk that your knee replacement may not turn out perfectly you need to consider the risks of surgery and discuss them with your doctor as well.
There is a risk of infection. There is a risk of bleeding. There is a risk of damage to nerves and other structures.
When a well-trained surgeon performs your surgery, in a modern facility, they will do everything possible to minimize the risks but there are still risks.
You can learn more about knee replacements at:
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
You Must Think about and accept the Risks
All of this is not to try and talk you out of having your knee replaced. I bring all this up only to inform and help you understand the risks of having your knee replaced.
Most people have wonderful outcomes with less pain and improved mobility and hopefully that is how your surgery will turn out.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
Think about the risks and discuss them with your doctor who knows your health history.
Consider your knee arthritis and how much it limits you from doing the things that you want to do.
Then you can make an informed decision about whether you want to have a knee replacement.