If knee pain leaves you in agony and interferes with your quality of life, speak with an orthopedic surgeon about knee replacement surgery. Schedule an appointment with the knee experts at Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.
The knee is an integral part of our life and we rarely think about how much we use it on a day-to-day basis. Only when problems arise and moving and bending become increasingly difficult do we realize how many times a day our knees bend, move, and rotate to help us live our lives. Because of the amount they move and because they bear the majority of our weight when we stand and move, the knees are particularly vulnerable to the effects of osteoarthritis (damage to the cartilage), rheumatoid arthritis (tissue inflammation that wears away the cartilage and bone near the joint), and other degenerative conditions. These conditions can make everyday tasks like walking the dog or commuting to work slow, difficult, and extremely painful. In some cases, non-surgical techniques may provide temporary relief; in many cases, however, long-term solutions may require a surgical, high-tech approach.
The knee joint is the hinge that allows our legs to bend and move. It is composed of three main parts—the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap)—which are held together with a series of ligaments and tendons. The ligaments run both up and down and across the joint and provide stability and strength to the knees, limiting harmful sideways and rotating motions. The tendons attach the muscles and the bones together and allow the joint to bend and flex. When it is healthy, the joint bends easily and the cartilage between the two bones absorbs the shock and weight of the movement and allows the bones to move together painlessly. As arthritis, injury, or simply a lifetime of bending cause damage to the cartilage, it can no longer absorb the stress of movement as easily, leading to stiffness and discomfort. In the most extreme cases, the cartilage can begin to wear away, leaving the bones to rub directly against each other, causing swelling, intense pain and discomfort, and preventing you from leading the life you want to lead.
If severe knee pain, caused by either arthritis or injury, keeps you from doing the things you love, it may be time to consider a knee replacement. In addition to chronic pain and stiffness, reasons for considering knee surgery can include trouble walking and climbing stairs — and even pain when you’re sitting or lying down.
At your first appointment with one of our experienced orthopedic knee doctors, he or she will review your overall medical history, physical symptoms and images obtained from X-rays and/or MRIs. This will allow your knee specialist to create a customized treatment plan for you. Before any sort of knee replacement surgery is considered, our orthopedic knee specialists will recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy and walking supports. If those don’t help, knee surgery may be your best option.
Knee surgery is designed to relieve pain from arthritis in your knee, help with degenerative joint disease or loss of cartilage or correct a leg deformity. Common reasons for knee replacement surgery include damage to the knee (such as fractures, torn cartilage and/or torn ligaments) and degenerative joint disease. However, osteoarthritis in the knee is the main reason people receive a knee joint replacement. This condition is very common and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. This causes the bones to rub against each other causing knee joint pain and stiffness.
Other forms of knee arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis that can occur from a knee injury may also prompt the need for knee replacement surgery.
What Are the Knee Replacement Options?
If your knee replacement surgeon determines that surgery is the best knee pain treatment for you, he or she may recommend total knee replacement surgery or arthroscopic knee replacement, which is a less-invasive procedure.
The major difference between knee arthroscopy and total knee replacement is that one preserves your natural knee joint and the other replaces the knee joint with a knee implant. The choice between the two surgeries will be determined based on the severity of the damage to your knee.
Regardless of which option is chosen, our knee replacement specialists will be with you every step of the way.
Find an orthopedic knee specialist at Precisions Sports Medicine & Orthopedics and make an appointment today!
Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthritis Foundation