Right time to go for Knee Replacement surgery

Right time to go for Knee Replacement surgery

 Dr. Gaurav Khera  
 04/02/19
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Knee replacement surgery has significantly decreased the disability rate for older adults, and this explains why more than half a million have the procedure done in the India each year. The question for many is when to go for knee replacement over waiting or trying other treatment options.

Your Mobility Suffers

If your joints are initially stiff or painful but it eases as you get moving, you may not need joint replacement yet. In fact, exercise may be the best thing you can do to restore range of movement and strength.

However, if your joint still hurts or remains stiff after exercise, the joint may need to be replaced. A joint that is chronically stiff and swollen to the point you struggle to walk and climb stairs could be mitigated with a cane or walker, but joint replacement may restore your full mobility.

There are only a few reasons you may need to wait to have the knee replaced. One would be weak thigh muscles that couldn’t support a new joint. Another would be open ulcers or sores in the area that make surgery risky. Your doctor may also recommend weight loss before joint replacement surgery, since extra weight puts stress on the joint or affect performance of the knee joint. When that happens, you could end up in pain after the surgery or need later surgery. Conversely, if knee pain and mobility challenges are causing you to gain weight due to decreasing activity levels, surgery should be done sooner rather than later.

Your Quality of Life Is Deteriorating

If your knees are constantly stiff or swollen, especially due to arthritis, your doctor may have suggested a knee replacement. If you feel grating in the joint, if it is always stiff, if the pain never stops, you need to contact an orthopedic Doctor. If the pain persists despite pain medication or the pain keeps you up at night, contact an orthopedic surgeon to schedule knee replacement surgery because it isn’t going to get better. When the pain is bad even if you are sitting down or lying down, joint replacement is the best choice.

Intermediate Solutions Don’t Work Anymore

Arthritis in the knee affects nearly everything you do, whether it is walking to the door, climbing stairs in your home or sitting down. The first round of treatment includes over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. The next step is prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers. The next level of treatment includes somewhat invasive treatment options like cortisone injections and lubricating injections.

As it becomes difficult to walk, people tend to shift to canes and walkers. When it becomes hard to get up and down on their own, they tend to put in support bars in their home. If it is still hard to get around or getting harder despite these intermediate solutions, knee replacement may be the next step. You want to have knee replacement surgery done instead of relying on an assistant to go to the bathroom or get dressed each morning.

Chronic stiffness and pain could be due to a prior injury to the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL, as well. Physical therapy and medication may be enough to restore mobility. If it is not or your condition continues to deteriorate, replacement may be necessary. Note that a severe or repeated injury can necessitate joint replacement well before age makes it necessary.

Your Body Is Becoming Warped

We’re not talking about mere chronic swelling of the knee here. If the knee is starting to become deformed, such as when it is starting to bow in or out, the joint needs to be replaced. If you start to feel the knee become deformed, don’t delay a visit with an orthopedic surgeon. The worse the deformity is, the more difficult the surgery and recovery will be.

Summary

If you think you may need joint replacement surgery, waiting will only add to the pain and inconvenience. Delaying a consultation with an orthopedist potentially denies you the ability to use intermediate solutions to treat your condition and may result in further surgeries down the line. In short, seek a medical professional’s opinion immediately to learn about all of the available options.

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