A recent health study estimates that approximately 28 percent of Americans over 20 have joint pain. If you’ve struggled for years with sore knees, and you’re considering knee replacement surgery, there are a number of things you should know. An orthopedic specialist will be able to explain the pros and cons of having a partial or total knee replacement, and help you decide on the right course of treatment to alleviate your pain. Here are four important things to consider if you are thinking about knee replacement surgery.
How Long Have You Struggled with Pain?
Knee pain can worsen over time. If you’ve struggled with your knee pain for many years, it may be time to talk with your orthopedist about your options. Chronic pain can have several detrimental effects on your life. People who are experiencing chronic pain are more likely to experience higher stress levels, feelings of social isolation, anxiety, and depression.
Have You Tried Other Methods of Treatment?
Many people with joint pain have similar stories. When the knee pain first began, perhaps you visited your primary care physician. Per their recommendation, you diligently iced your knee, took anti-inflammatories, and wore a brace. This alleviated the pain temporarily, but it came back after a month. You repeated the treatment process, but it came back again. Eventually, you began physical therapy per the recommendation of your orthopedic doctor, but the pain persisted after months of treatment. If you’ve tried several methods of treatment with limited or no success, consider discussing knee surgery with your orthopedist.
What’s the Root Cause?
Sometimes knee pain is caused by accident or injury that results in a strained muscle or torn ligament. In these cases, there’s usually a clear path to treatment. Either the muscle strain heals over time, or the torn ligament is repaired with surgery. However, there are some knee problems that are degenerative or don’t have clear cut treatment options. One of the most common issues of the knee is osteoarthritis, a condition which typically affects patients over 50. Osteoarthritis is a condition which causes knee cartilage to degenerate over time. If you have osteoarthritis, you may be a candidate for a partial or total knee replacement.
What do The X-Rays and MRIs show?
X-rays and MRIs will help your physicians determine whether or not the damage to your knee can be repaired without surgery. If scans show that your knee pain is not caused by a degenerative condition, then your problem may respond to a less invasive course of treatment. On the other hand, if scans indicate that your knee cartilage has depleted significantly, you may want to talk with your orthopedist about knee replacement surgery as your pain could worsen over time.
If you are one of the nearly one-third of American adults suffering from joint pain, you may be thinking about knee replacement surgery. Spending some time assessing your condition, and then talking to your orthopedic specialist can help you decide the right course of treatment. Here’s to a pain-free future!