Knee pain is usually caused by arthritis. There are three common types of arthritis: rheumatoid, traumatic, and osteoarthritis.
A serious injury can bring on traumatic arthritis. If ligaments are torn or the knee is fractured, it can cause damage to articular cartilage which will only worsen with time. Of course, this is painful and affects the knees ability to function.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes the synovial membrane to produce too much fluid. The fluid overfills the joint space, thickens, and becomes inflamed causing damage to the knees cartilage. This chronic condition causes loss of cartilage, stiffness and pain.
If the cushion of cartilage in the knee wears out, it leaves the bones to grind against each other. This extremely painful condition is known as osteoarthritis. It is usually a problem for people over fifty years old, especially those who have a history of osteoarthritis in the family.
Knee Replacement May Be the Answer
Talk over all your options with your family and your doctor. If it seems total knee replacement surgery may be a good idea for you, your doctor will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon, who can give you all the details about surgery and other options. Once you are fully informed, you can make a confident choice.
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Here are some good reasons to have total knee replacement surgery:
You have tried other treatments (cortisone injections, physical therapy, alternate surgery, etc.) without success.
Difficulty getting through each day without pain. If it hurts to stand up, sit down, walk, climb stairs, get in your car, get out of your car, and so on, it is time to try total knee replacement. This is also true if you are doing all these things, but you are using a cane or a walker to manage them.
Symptoms That Indicate a Need For Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Your knee hurts so much you cant bend it or straighten it.
Pain in your knee(s) while at rest.
Bowed knees or any other deformity.
Loss of effectiveness of pain medications. It is important to realize that pain medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may be very effective early on, but as your disease progresses, they tend to lose effectiveness.
Persistent inflammation and swelling that does not subside with medication and rest.
Over time, medications in general tend to lose effectiveness. The efficacy of a medication will vary from one person to another. If your arthritis is severe, your medications are very likely to lose effectiveness as the disease progresses. Additionally, you may develop a tolerance for or a reaction to a medication if you take it over a long period of time.
Dr. Tarlow is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with over 20 years specializing in knee surgery. He opened his own clinic, Advanced Knee Care, with a focus on specialty patient care. Click here to learn more about Dr. Tarlow, orthopedic procedures and complete knee replacement.