Chronic knee pain is a common discomfort experienced by one in four adults. In fact, research revealed that knee problems accounted for almost four million primary care visits yearly since 2018.
Although a common medical problem, pain in the knees may pertain to several different diseases and injuries. If left unaddressed, these conditions can begin to limit one’s ability to function and live a quality life.
Doctors treat knee disorders using either: 1. non-surgical treatment options; and surgical treatment options. The second category includes knee replacement surgery. But the million-dollar question for most patients is this: when is the right time to consider knee replacement surgery? Is it right for you?
Read on below to learn more about knee replacement surgery and the right time to do it.
What is knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement or arthroplasty refers to a surgical procedure to treat damaged knee joints. It involves removing the defective bone and cartilage surface of the knee joints and then replacing it with artificial implants. Your orthopedic surgeon will position the metal implants on the surface of the femur and tibia, recreating the knee joint.
Generally, doctors recommend knee replacement surgeries to patients with severe or chronic knee conditions, such as:
- Degenerative disorders like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Trauma resulting in cartilage tears
- Ligament injury
- Fracture in the knee
The main goal of knee replacement surgery in Spring Hill is to relieve knee pain and other symptoms, restore alignment, and improve the patient’s mobility.
5 reasons to consider knee arthroplasty
Choosing whether or not to move forward with a knee replacement procedure can be a tough decision. It is usually a discussion that includes your doctor, orthopedic specialist, other healthcare professionals, and loved ones who will help you through recovery.
Your doctor or orthopedic surgeon will recommend a knee replacement surgery when:
- All conservative treatment options have been exhausted
Most doctors opt for non-invasive techniques first in treating degenerative knee disorders, such as osteoarthritis. This includes the following:
- Medications – doctors can prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce knee pain and swelling. Painkilling medications may also come in the form of creams and ointments.
- Therapeutic knee injections – cortisone injections can help relieve knee joint pain and swelling for up to several months. Another example is hyaluronic injections that can help lubricate the knee joints, thus relieving pain and preventing further damage.
In some cases, doctors may also use stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to help repair the damaged joint.
- Physical therapy and exercise – physiotherapy help patients strengthen their knee joints and the surrounding muscles without overusing or worsening their condition. Therapeutic exercises can also help patients maintain a healthy weight, which can help lessen the stress and pressure on the knees.
Your physician may create a treatment plan that involves a combination of these non-surgical remedies. These treatment options may work better for some patients than others. So, if your knee problems still persist despite these conservative methods, then maybe it’s time to consider knee arthroplasty.
- There is moderate to severe knee pain and other symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of injuries and conditions affecting the knees are pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. This may usually get relieved through rest, home remedies, or OTC medications.
But when your knee aches become frequent and severe by the day, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about getting knee replacement surgery. Some other signs that your condition is worsening include the following:
- Severe pain even while resting.
- Knee pain that disrupts your everyday activities
- Knee inflammation that lasts for more than a week.
- Knee discomfort that does not get better with medications and other treatments.
- Mobility and day-to-day activities become drastically affected
Chronic knee conditions tend to disrupt and limit one’s ability to perform activities of daily living. For example, intense knee pain can cause you to take days off work or require assistance in doing household tasks.
Over time, this might drastically affect your health since your condition’s symptoms may also disrupt your sleeping pattern, proper hygiene, and regular exercise. As we know, the more stagnant your lifestyle becomes, the more vulnerable your knee joints will be to arthritic damage or wear and tear.
- There’s an increased risk of developing other conditions or life-altering injuries
If left untreated, a worsening degenerative knee disorder can also make you vulnerable to other hazards and health risks. This includes:
- Increased risk of accidents and falls
Knee conditions tend to weaken the joints and their surrounding muscles, thus increasing your risk of falling. This can then lead to life-threatening conditions, such as concussion or brain injury.
- Increased risk of developing other joint problems
As the wear and tears in the cartilage progress, the knee joint may give out and assume a bow-legged position. Another example is the hip joint problem that may develop gradually as you change your gait to cope with the increasing knee pain during movement.
- Increased risk of developing bone damage
Arthritis will eat away your knee cartilages over time, thus exposing the top of the shinbone and bottom of the thigh bone. Since these bones are now exposed, friction will occur as they rub against each other whenever you move.
Besides bone deterioration, arthritis can also damage the connective tissues that attach the surrounding muscles to the bone.
- Knee deformity can be observed
Knee conditions, especially osteoarthritis, can increase one’s risk of developing knee deformities or malalignments. Some examples include genu valgum or “knock knees” and varum or “bow-legs”.
Furthermore, knee problems may also limit your ability to fully extend, straighten, or bend your knees. So, when you’re already observing some signs of impairment in your gait or posture, it may be time to discuss knee surgery with your physician.
Where to find the best orthopedic specialists in Brooksville, FL?
If you are currently experiencing one or more of the above-mentioned problems, then it’s time to find a trusted specialist, like Dr. Tarabishy, to talk more about your surgical options.
Dr. Imad Tarabishy, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, has been treating different types of orthopedic conditions for over 30 years. He provides quality patient care and top-tier treatment services to bring patients back on their feet.
Whether you need knee replacement surgery or a knee arthroscopy in Spring Hill, we’ve got you covered! Contact us now so we can discuss your treatment options and help you make an informed decision regarding your healthcare.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.