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When It's Time To Replace That Knee

When you think about how much work our knees do over the course of a lifetime, it’s a bit of a wonder how people get to an advanced old age and still have no trouble at all walking. But some won’t be so lucky and will have knees worn out during their lifetime. These people will usually seek knee replacement surgery.
Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty is a procedure that enables a patient to experience pain relief and regain use of a diseased knee. This is a time consuming procedure since it involves the cutting away of bone and cartilage from the thigh bone, shin bone and knee cap in order to make way for an artificial joint that is composed of metal alloy, state of the art plastics and polymers. Your artificial knee joint will be customized to suit you based on your lifestyle, weight, and height.

The knees are damaged usually by medical conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Not everyone will be advised to undergo knee replacement surgery at the first sign of pain. Those who are suitable candidates for knee replacement surgery include the following:

  • The pain is so severe that it is already debilitating, taking away their ability to walk, or even stand up. They may even feel pain in their knees even as they are not moving.
  • Other forms of treatment have not improved the situation. Sometimes, knee pain can be caused by obesity, with the heavy weight of the body bearing down on the knee joint. Other times it can be caused by inflammation of the joints. If you have tried all sorts of conventional treatment and it still has not addressed the problem, then it may be time for knee replacement surgery.
  • Your knee bows in or out—those who have knee deformities are good candidates for knee replacement surgery

Like any other type of surgery, there are risks associated with knee replacement surgery. These risks include infection, formation of blood clots, stiffness in the knees, nerve damage, heart attack and stroke. There is a low risk of developing serious conditions from the surgery though, at only 2%. It is important to note however, that infections can occur in the replacement site even years after surgery.

It is best to prepare your home for the recovery period following your surgery. Preferably, your living space should occupy only one floor because recuperating will mean that it will be very difficult to manage climbing of stairs. There should also be handrails in the shower and bath that can keep you safe and make moving around more manageable. Carpets that are not fixed on the floor should also be removed to avoid slipping.