Living with knee pain can make even the simplest daily activities a painful chore. The knee is the largest joint in the body and when it isn't working properly, almost every part of your life is affected. The most common cause of knee pain is arthritis, where the cartilage that cushions the bones in your knee is worn down and bones begin to grind on one another.
Common causes of knee pain:
- Osteoarthritis: This is age-related wear and tear type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people age 50 and older but can occur in younger people too.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This disease causes the joint membrane to become inflamed and damages the cartilage.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Following an injury, cartilage in the knee becomes damaged.
How do you know it's time for replacement surgery?
If anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections and physical therapy are no longer helpful in relieving the symptoms listed below, it might be time to talk with your doctor about replacement surgery:
- Severe pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities
- Moderate to severe pain while resting
- Chronic inflammation and swelling that doesn't improve with rest or medications
Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the U.S. It is a safe and effective way to relieve pain, correct deformity and resume normal activity. Less than 2 percent of patients experience serious complications and over 90 percent of replacement recipients have dramatic pain reduction and significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities that were difficult or impossible before.
A key to satisfaction with your knee replacement is to have realistic expectations of the outcome. Knee replacement surgery won't transform you into a bionic superhuman. Your new joint can wear out, too. Doctors advise against high impact activities such as running, jumping or playing football. However, there are many activities you will be able to look forward to enjoying once again: walking, swimming, golf, hiking, biking, ballroom dancing and other low-impact sports.
If you experience knee pain, talk with your healthcare provider. They will help assess whether you are a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery. Smooth out the daily grind of living with knee pain.
When should I check with my doctor?
If you have long-term pain or swelling in your knee, we can help relieve your pain and get you back to the activities you love.
To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day. Visit our joint page for information on our orthopedics services.
Sources: AAOS.org, OrthoInfo.org