Did you know that over 600,000 knee replacements are performed annually in the United States? It’s true. In fact, one of the single most effective ways to reduce severe knee pain – and to restore mobility – is via knee replacement.
The very first knee replacement was completed in 1968 and, since then, vast improvements have been made in both technique and efficacy. Therefore, if nonsurgical treatments such as medications are no longer of use in helping you manage your condition, then a knee replacement might be exactly what you’re looking for. Joint replacement surgery is an extremely safe and effective procedure that allows for the relief of pain, for the correction of any leg deformities, and can help you resume normal, daily activities.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
Some of the most common causes of knee pain are arthritis and disability. And, while there are many types of arthritis, the majority of knee pain is due to either osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis. This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis.”
Post-traumatic arthritis. This can follow a serious knee injury. Fractures of the bones surrounding the knee or tears of the knee ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.
So, on to the big question – is total knee replacement for you?
Well, the decision to have a total knee replacement is a decision that you and your surgeon will need to make together. There are several reasons why your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend a knee replacement surgery, including:
Severe knee pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. You may find it hard to walk more than a few blocks without significant pain and you may need to use a cane or walker.
Moderate or severe knee pain while resting, either day or night.
Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve with rest or medications.
Knee deformity — a bowing in or out of your knee.
Failure to substantially improve with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy, or other surgeries.
Are You a Good Candidate for Knee Replacement Surgery?
While there are recommendations for surgery based on pain and/or disability, there is no specific age – or age limit – when it comes to knee replacements. Nor is there a weight restriction attached to the procedure. A large portion of individuals who opt to undergo total knee replacement are between the ages of 50 and 80, but recent advancements have made the procedure more accessible to younger patients. In fact, there is now something known as a “thirty year knee” that well surpasses the typical 15 year lifespan of traditional knee replacement hardware.
If you think that a total knee replacement may benefit you – or someone you love – please give Prairie Orthopaedic & Plastic Surgery a call to schedule a consultation. Dr. Hurlbut – along with his team of highly skilled practitioners and therapists – are Lincoln’s top choice for both traditional knee replacements as well as the highly innovative “thirty year knee” that’s revolutionizing knee replacement procedures around the world.