Is knee-replacement surgery likely your best option?

A metal or plastic prosthetic joint is used to replace all or a portion of your natural knee during knee-replacement surgery. Surgery is a big step that takes time to recover from, but it might give you long-lasting relief that typically lasts the reminder of your life.
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NEW DELHI: You most likely have osteoarthritis, which is a common reason for knee pain. It could result from genetics, previous stress, or weight. Your knee osteoarthritis may eventually create severe pain, regardless of the source.

A metal or plastic prosthetic joint is used to replace all or a portion of your natural knee during knee-replacement surgery. Surgery is a big step that takes time to recover from, but it might give you long-lasting relief that typically lasts the reminder of your life.

Knee-replacement surgery is not advised until the pain is severe and significantly affects your everyday life, according to Biren Nadkarni, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon, at the Sitaram Bhartia Institute and Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi. He further adds, knee- replacement surgery may be the next logical option if conservative therapies fail to provide you with relief and your quality of life is being significantly impacted by your knee discomfort.

Here are four signs that knee replacement may be your best option:

Pain is constant

It's time to think about having your knee replaced if you have discomfort whether walking, exercising, standing, sitting, climbing stairs, or even just sleeping down at night.

Your ability to move normally and sleep may be affected by pain. Your knees are swollen, stiff and troublesome in the rain. The bones may grate in your joint or rub against one another. Knee-replacement surgery can relieve this pain.

Deformities in the knee joint

If you have significant knee discomfort, you could notice that your legs are bending in or out due to arthritis. The knee may become bent or "knock-kneed" as arthritis worsens. A knee replacement may be necessary if this kind of malformation progresses over time. According to Biren Nadkarni, "individuals with arthritis may also lose the ability to straighten their knees. If this happens, you should have an evaluation with an orthopaedic surgeon as this lack of mobility might last a lifetime, even if the knee has been replaced. Additionally, you could notice that your range of knee motion has decreased, making it harder (or impossible) for you to fully straighten or bend your knees. Knee-replacement surgery can restore your range of motion and realign the joints."

Your movement is getting more and more restricted

As you age, it's typical to experience some loss of joint flexibility. However, chronic knee stiffness that limits your movement may be an indication of a more serious knee issue. When talking about knee-replacement surgery, the following mobility problems are the most frequent ones we observe in our patients:

* Knee stiffness that requires the use of a cane or other mobility aid

* Difficulty walking or climbing stairs, getting up from chairs, or getting out of the bathtub

* Morning knee stiffness that lasts for up to 30 minutes

* Knee stiffness that worsens after sitting for a long period of time, such as during a long car ride or during a movie

The fact that losing mobility might affect more than just your capacity to move about is one of the most crucial things to keep in mind in this situation. Inactivity rises when mobility declines. Additionally, your muscular strength and joint function may deteriorate the less you move. You may not benefit fully from a knee replacement if you lose too much strength and function because your body may not be able to heal as efficiently.

Other pain relief fails

You can start treating knee joint pain with over-the-counter choices or utilise prescription lotions and ointments that you apply onto the skin to reduce discomfort. We postpone knee-replacement surgery for as long as feasible and manage your pain with less intrusive procedures said Biren Nadkarni. Before considering surgery, your doctor may also attempt other therapies like corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid shots. These therapies often aren't a long-term solution, but they can temporarily reduce discomfort and improve how smoothly your joints move. We could also advise you to make changes at home such as increasing your activity level and decreasing any excess weight, which puts a lot of strain on your painful knee joints.

It may be time to think about having your knee replaced if none of these treatments work well for you.

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