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You may not have to put up with knee pain. If you experience arthritis of the knee, read on to find out more about knee surgery and the alternative options.
Steve Pope is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI Bath Clinic. He’s taken some time out to explain knee pain and surgery, as well as how you can reduce your chance of needing an operation.
What is knee replacement surgery?
It’s a common operation to replace the worn or damaged surfaces of an arthritic knee joint with specially designed components. Some patients need just a partial knee replacement, and some need total knee replacement.
What are the benefits of this operation?
Having a knee replacement can relieve the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis of the knee. A new knee can also improve overall mobility and help to correct any deformity associated with arthritis. With appropriate rehabilitation, having a knee replacement can lead to a much improved quality of life. However, the potential benefits of surgery should be balanced against the risks, and an orthopaedic surgeon can advise you on the best course of action for your personal situation.
What is involved in the recovery from knee surgery?
After undergoing knee surgery, most people need to stay in hospital for a few nights. With appropriate painkillers and early physiotherapy, a typical patient is able to go home within three days. At this point, regular painkillers are enough to manage the pain. Most people are able to walk with the help of two walking sticks or crutches, which are needed for around six weeks on average. Hospital physiotherapists help with rehabilitation, including recommending an exercise regime to help people get back to a good level of mobility with a wide range of movement in their knee.
Who is this procedure suitable for?
Knee surgery is most commonly recommended for people aged over 60, but it can also be helpful for younger patients. Whether the cause of your arthritis is inflammatory, degenerative or post-traumatic, surgery can relieve pain and restore your freedom of movement.
If other treatment options have failed to manage your symptoms, knee surgery may be the best course of action.
For example, if your pain is severe or there is significant stiffness or deformity associated with your arthritis, you may need to consider knee replacement surgery. Knee realignment is another option which may be more appropriate in some cases.
What are the alternative options to surgery?
There are many medical and therapeutic options to help manage knee pain and keep arthritis of the knee under control, particularly if the disease is in its early stages. Regular painkillers and anti-inflammatories might be all you need to feel better. Your doctor might also recommend certain forms of exercise, with physiotherapy and activity modification to boost mobility. Some people with more severe cases find that a walking aid with a specially designed brace is helpful.
What lifestyle changes can I make to help my knees?
Leading an active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight may reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis of the knee. While there is no evidence to suggest that diet and exercise are directly linked to arthritis, they have various benefits for your joints and overall health.
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