While knee pain can become a common struggle with age, it could also be a sign that you are a candidate for knee replacement. In some cases, this type of surgery can provide relief from the debilitating pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and other medical conditions. Here are 5 signs that you are a candidate for a knee replacement.
1. You're Experiencing Constant Pain
If you are experiencing chronic knee pain that's not responsive to other treatments, this may mean it's time for a knee replacement. If your affected knee pain is so severe or frequent that it is interfering with your everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting out of bed, then you may be a good candidate for a knee replacement. If you find that your pain lasts over 30 minutes or is not conceding at all, contact a doctor immediately to discuss your options.
2. You Have Decreased Mobility
Although you may have decreased mobility with age, decreased mobility or severe instability caused by an arthritic knee joint may be a sign that you're a candidate for a knee replacement. Signs that your range of motion is decreasing include difficulty bending or straightening your knee, not being able to fully extend your leg without feeling pain, difficulty walking and going upstairs, the need for a cane or walker, or stiffness that lasts over 30 minutes. While contacting a physical therapist or utilizing stretching exercises may help, it is important to contact an orthopedic surgeon to determine if you require surgery.
3. You Are Changing Lifestyle To Accommodate Knee Pain
If you find that you are changing your lifestyle to avoid activities that cause knee pain, this could be a sign that it may be time for a knee replacement. Changing your everyday routine due to an injury such as knee pain is a sure sign that surgery or further action is needed to address the pain. If activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, playing sports, or even simple activities become impossible due to the level of discomfort in your knees, then you should consider talking to your doctor about having a knee replacement.
4. You Are Experiencing Swelling & Inflammation
When dealing with a knee injury or knee pain, you may find your knee has become swollen. This is due to the lack of cartilage that helps your knees move and bend. If you are experiencing swelling and inflammation, it could be a sign that your knees need to be replaced. Additionally, the cause of this swelling is an underlying medical condition such as arthritis. If you find that your knee is swollen and inflamed in addition to being painful on a regular basis, consider speaking with your doctor about having a knee replacement. Ignoring the issue or relying strictly on pain medicine will only make your knee worse and lead to more wear and tear.
5. Pain Medicine No Longer Works
If you find that over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium no longer promote healing from your knee pain or injured leg, this could be a sign that it is time to consider a knee replacement. These types of medications are designed to reduce swelling and inflammation while providing temporary relief from common aches and pains. If they stop working in addition to your other symptoms (e.g., decreased mobility, swelling/inflammation, etc.), then it's time to talk to your doctor about a possible knee replacement. If you notice that pain medicine is no longer working, cease taking the medication to avoid overuse issues as well.
6. Your Knee Has Become Deformed
If your knee injury or pain has been left unaddressed over time, a deteriorating knee joint can lead to arthritis and chronic inflammation that cause the joint to become deformed. If you notice that your knee is becoming bowed or crooked, then it could be a sign of severe wear and tear. This can also worsen over time. It's important to note that even if your knee doesn't appear deformed yet, persistent pain in the area should still be monitored by a doctor as this is an indication that surgery may need to take place soon.
7. You Struggle With Arthritis
If you have been previously diagnosed with arthritis in the knee, your likelihood of needing a knee replacement in time is increased. Chronic knee pain can be caused by arthritis, a condition in which the cartilage between your joints is eroded. If you find that your knee joint is becoming weak and stiff, even when not under strain, this could indicate that arthritis has taken hold. Talk to your doctor about possible options for treating arthritis, including knee replacements if needed.
8. You've Experienced A Severe Knee Injury
If you've experienced a severe knee injury such as a fracture or ligament tear, then the chances are high that you will need to have surgery at some point. These types of injuries can cause significant damage and pain if left untreated, leading to a need for a knee replacement down the road. It's important that you get medical attention or physical therapy shortly after any kind of knee injury to ensure the best knee injury recovery possible and reduce your risk of needing a knee replacement later on.
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it is important to contact a doctor to discuss treatment options as you may be in need of a total knee replacement. Our top-ranked orthopedic surgeons in the greater Pittsburgh area are highly skilled in knee-replacement surgery that will help you receive an effective, long-term recovery. Don't wait, with Michael Rytel, MD Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine today.