Arthritis of the knee can be debilitating. A joint replacement surgery may help ease pain, but it is important to understand how and when this kind of extreme measure might be needed.
The Arthritis Foundation explains the term arthritis
refers to a swelling in the joints that can cause a great deal of pain. Osteoarthritis often occurs in the knee joint because of injury or general wear and tear due to age. A breakdown of the cartilage in the joint can cause stiffness and pain
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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains
that arthritis in the knee joint can seriously limit a person’s ability to climb stairs or even walk. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the knee is gradually worn away. It can also occur after a serious injury to the knee. This is called post-traumatic arthritis. People with arthritis in the knee experience pain that increases in rainy weather. They may feel like their knees are going to “buckle” or find a great deal of pain in the morning that decreases as they become active.
While certain lifestyle modifications like anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, using a cane or applying ice and limiting high-impact activities can make the pain more tolerable, sometimes patients must resort to surgical treatments. There are several different surgeries that can be considered including a total or partial replacement of the joint. In the case of a joint replacement the damaged cartilage and bone in the knee will actually be removed and replaced with a metal or plastic joint.
Instead of a joint replacement, it may be possible to help pain with other surgeries including a cartilage graft or an osteotomy in which the bones are cut and reshaped to relieve pressure to the joint.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine advise
the knee joint replacement surgery, which is also called arthroplasty, should be used only when other treatments have not been successful in managing the pain. It will be necessary to stay in the hospital for several days after a knee replacement surgery. At home recovery and rehabilitation will also be necessary after discharge.
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