Many people are able to successfully treat chronic knee pain using non-surgical treatment options such as pain medication, braces, and physical therapy, but what happens if those options don’t work? If non-surgical treatment doesn’t provide relief for your chronic knee pain, you may want to consider knee replacement surgery.
When is Knee Replacement Surgery Needed?
The following situations are often indicators that it is time to consider knee replacement surgery:
- Experiencing severe knee pain when engaging in simple everyday activities such as walking or sitting
- One or both legs start to develop a bowed shape
- Extreme stiffness that is concentrated to the knee area
- Swelling and chronic inflammation around the knee that doesn’t go away with proper rest or the use of medications
- Inability to take certain pain medications, such as NSAIDs or narcotics
- Extreme knee pain that occurs even when you are resting
Other factors such as cause of the chronic knee pain, previous health history, and your personal situation (such as whether you are an athlete who wants to return to training or competing quickly or you work a physical job where you need to be standing for long hours) will also be taken into consideration when determining if knee replacement surgery is needed.
The Recovery Process Involved with Knee Replacement Surgery
Before you commit to undergoing knee replacement surgery, it is important that you understand what is involved with the recovery process.
Some of the things that occur during the recovery process for knee replacement surgery include:
- Brief hospital stay – you may need to stay in the hospital for two to five days after the procedure. This will give you time to work with a physical therapist so you know how to safely move around while recovering. You will also learn exercises you can do to help strengthen your legs and speed up the healing process.
- Little bed rest – you will be encouraged to get up and start moving within 24 hours of your procedure. You won’t be running marathons, but you will be encouraged to walk around and move your legs.
- Working with a physical therapist – physical therapy will last anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks.
- Use of an assistive device, such as a walker or cane, to help stabilize you while you heal
Thinking of undergoing knee replacement surgery? The orthopedic surgeons at Orthopedic Research Clinic of Alaska can help you determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss knee replacement surgery with one of our experienced surgeons.