When is a Knee Replacement Needed?
Did you know? Every year, more than a half-million Americans choose to get a knee replacement. Those with osteoarthritis, a condition when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint wears away, are more likely to have knee replacements. Osteoarthritis results in bone rubbing against bone, which is very painful. Other people may need a knee replacement because they have rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes chronic joint inflammation.
If you’re noticing pain in your knee joint and have not tried less invasive procedures, we’d recommend you’d speak with your doctor. Our non-surgical treatments have less risk and often provide much relief.
Most patients request a knee replacement when they have severe arthritis and their quality of life begins to deteriorate. If you’re unable to perform simple activities like going up and down stairs or rising from a couch without significant trouble, a knee replacement may be what’s right for you.
There are several signs that may tell you now is the right time for a knee replacement:
- Medications are no longer working. The strong anti-inflammatory drugs no longer help or ease the pain.
- The less invasive treatment options aren’t effectively reducing the pain. This may include cortisone injections, lubricating injections, rest and physical therapy.
- Your everyday tasks are becoming difficult and painful. This includes dressing, bathing, getting out of bed or climbing the stairs.
- You need a cane or walker to get around
- The pain is severe day and night. The pain is there even when you aren’t using your knee, such as sitting still or lying down.
- Your knee has become deformed from injury or arthritis. If you feel deformity, such as your knee bowing in or out. It’s important to talk to your doctor because this can make surgery more difficult.
- You are between 50 and 80 years old. Age is not necessarily a deciding factor, but most people who get knees replaced are in this age range.
It’s not always easy to know when knee replacement surgery is necessary. Speak with your doctor to consider the several factors in deciding if joint replacement is right for you. These factors include your X-ray or MRI results, pain level, physical function, personal health history and weight. Be sure to speak with your doctor about the possible risks of surgery. These can include infection, loosening of the knee replacement parts and movement limitations. You should talk about any health conditions you may have, which could make the operation or recovery more difficult.
It is also important to have realistic expectations for how quickly you will recover from the surgery. Recovery may take several weeks or months and commitment to physical therapy and exercise is a must.
The clinic at Ochsner Health Center – Kenner sees patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. From knee pain to shoulder pain, the team has skills and expertise to manage most conditions non-surgically. The team has developed and uses some of the latest innovations to reduce pain and improve outcomes across a variety of conditions. They have internationally recognized programs such as outpatient opioid free surgery.
To learn more about knee replacements or our opioid free surgery program, call our clinic at 504-412-1705.