Knee osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition caused due to injury or degeneration of the knee joints leading to pain, inflammation and increased stiffness in your knees. You will have difficulty walking, bending, stair climbing and even lying down or sitting. Knee osteoarthritis makes most of your knee and leg movements difficult.
Your orthopaedic surgeon would begin your treatment using non-surgical methods which include prescription of orally taken pain relief medications, topical ointments and creams to rub onto the skin, joint injections containing corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid to fight inflammation and provide faster pain relief lasting up to several months, physical therapy and exercise to improve flexibility and strength of your knee joints, weight loss to relieve pressure from your knees and nutritional supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin for some people.
Despite trying all the conservative methods, if you still don’t get relief, then it may be time for a knee replacement.
A knee replacement surgery involves removal and replacement of the damaged knee joint with an artificial joint, made of biocompatible plastic and metal. The following factors may indicate you are a good candidate for knee replacement:
- Unbearable knee pain that limits your daily activities.
- Moderate to severe knee pain while resting, day or night.
- No pain relief from NSAIDs or can't tolerate them.
- Chronic knee swelling that doesn’t improve with medications or rest.
- Angular deformity marked by a bending of your leg inwards or outwards.
- Knee stiffness.
Once you have decided to undergo a knee replacement, prepare yourself for the surgery by following the pre-surgery instructions and do not neglect physical therapy after your surgery as that plays a key role in a successful knee replacement.
It is normal to be anxious or worried about undergoing knee replacement because it is a major surgery and complete recovery may take months, but the pain relief and improved function potentially lasts for many years or even a lifetime.