Chronic knee pain caused by arthritis – especially when walking, hiking, climbing stairs, and even when you’re seated or lying down – is difficult to endure. If conservative treatments such as over-the-counter medication, exercise, physical therapy, or steroid injections fail to alleviate your pain, you may be asked to consider a surgical solution.
Total knee arthroplasty – also known as knee replacement – is a procedure that more than one in 10 Americans undergo by the age of 80. So, how do you know when it’s time for you to resort to this option?
8 Signs That It’s Time to Consider Knee Replacement Surgery
You may be a good candidate for a total knee arthroplasty (knee replacement) if you are having a hard time walking despite trying non-surgical treatments first. You should consider knee replacement if:
- Your chronic pain isn’t getting better. Knee replacement is an effective solution that has brought relief to most patients. As many as 90 percent of patients who have knee arthroplasty still function well 15 to 20 years after their surgery.
- Your pain is making it difficult to perform normal tasks. If you find it hard to walk, sleep, or perform your job efficiently because of your arthritis, it is definitely time to discuss knee replacement surgery with a qualified orthopedist.
- You are experiencing stiffness and swelling in your knees. If this is the case, a total knee arthroplasty will resurface and replace much of the inflamed and damaged tissue in your knee that is causing these symptoms.
- You’ve sustained a knee injury. Arthritis isn’t the only cause of chronic knee pain. A traumatic knee injury may require surgery to relieve pain by repairing the knee joint and helping it function normally once again.
- Your knee hurts even when you’re resting. Although most knee pain worsens when you use the joint while walking, running, or exercising, the fact that you experience moderate or severe pain when you’re not using it a sign that surgery may be necessary.
- Your leg bows in or out. Removal of all or part of your knee joint and replacement of the damaged portions with an artificial joint surface can correct this condition.
- You want to stay physically active despite your pain. Chronic knee pain can make it difficult for you to enjoy walking, hiking, skiing, and many other physical activities or sports. An artificial knee joint can potentially restore your mobility and endurance that was previously lost.
- You want long-term relief from your chronic knee pain. Although your age and level of physical activity may affect the longevity of your artificial knee joint, these prosthetics still typically work well for about 20 years following surgery in 9 out of 10 cases.
Knee surgery is not to be taken lightly. While it comes with a host of benefits, the post-procedure recovery will take time, patience, and effort on your part. Depending on your age, how strong your knee is before surgery, and whether you have other health issues, it can take time following a knee replacement before you can resume all regular activities and your knee regains full function. The good new is that the harder you work on your physical therapy, the quicker you can recover. Some health conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can weaken the immune system and can slow down the healing process, which is why it is important to optimize your other health conditions prior to knee replacement surgery.
Total Knee Arthroplasty in Raleigh, Apex & Brier Creek, North Carolina
Why tolerate chronic knee pain and limited mobility when board-certified and fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett J. Gilbert can help get you back on your feet and living your life to the fullest.
Dr. Gilbert’s focus is on providing compassionate care, technical expertise, and personalized attention to patients with all sorts of knee or hip issues. Our clinic offers effective orthopedic surgical care for a wide range of knee and hip conditions using state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment options, including:
- Total knee arthroplasty (knee replacement)
- Partial knee replacement
- MAKOplasty robotic-assisted joint replacement
- Arthroscopic knee surgery
- Revision knee replacement
- Outpatient hip and knee replacement