When medications, walking aids or changing activity levels aren't enough to address the loss of mobility or constant pain, knee replacement surgery may be the answer. Surgery often relieves pain and helps thousands of people resume normal daily activities.

What does knee replacement surgery involve?

Much like in hip, shoulder and ankle replacements, a surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone and then positions the replacement pieces to restore the alignment and function of the joint. The replacement parts are either cemented or screwed to existing bone so that new bone can grow around them, adding to the stability and strength of the joint. More than 90 percent of people who have a knee replacement experience a reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform daily activities.

What's the prognosis?

Although these implants are designed to last many years, vigorous activities or not taking care of the knee joint can cause them to loosen. If the replacement fails, it is possible to implant another, but a second replacement is not as good or predictable as the primary one.

Caring for your replacement

Some activities should be avoided after a knee replacement surgery to ensure a long life for the joint. A few common activities that put unnecessary stress on the joint are running, weightlifting, jumping rope, tennis and basketball.

Try your best to avoid gaining weight, as the knees bear the most of any extra pounds. Activities like biking, walking or cross-country skiing are recommended because they are low-impact exercises that can do your body good.

Want to learn more?

If you experience knee pain and would like to learn more about knee replacement surgical options, we can help.

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.
For more information, visit Orthopedics & Joint Replacement.

Sources: NIAMS.NIH.gov, OrthoInfo.AAOS.org