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3 Possible Signs You Need a Knee Replacement (and 3 Reasons To Wait)

More than a half-million Americans get knee replacements every year. It’s a common procedure that has exponentially improved the quality of life for millions of people around the globe. A common reason for getting a knee replacement is osteoarthritis, which happens when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint is worn down. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a major cause of knee replacements because the disease can cause painful, chronic joint inflammation. In short, it’s safe to say pain is one of the major signs you need a knee replacement.

Regardless of why a knee replacement might be on your radar, there are reasons to get one immediately, but also some considerations for why you might hold off.

Your knee joint specialist will work with you to determine the best care plan for your unique knee condition. To fully evaluate and identify the course of treatment, your doctor will likely begin with an x-ray or MRI as well as discuss your level of pain, mobility, health history, and more.

3 Possible Signs You Need a Knee Replacement

1. Non-Surgical Options Aren’t Cutting It

There’s an entire spectrum of non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment options for knee pain — spanning from anti-inflammatory oral medications to cortisone or lubricating injections, rest, and physical therapy. If you continue to experience ongoing pain, it’s time to consider a knee replacement.

2. Increasingly Limited Mobility and Everyday Activities

A general school of thought is that once something starts to interfere with your everyday activities, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. The same is true for knee issues. Once your pain is limiting your mobility or ability to do everyday activities, you should see a doctor.

3. Swelling or Deformity in the Knee

If your knee is consistently swollen or has taken on a bowed shape, consult with a doctor sooner rather than later. The more deformed your knee, the more difficult surgery can be, so please seek help before it gets worse. It can also affect other parts of your body because it can change your gait.

3 Signs It’s Not Time for a Knee Replacement

Knee replacement isn’t right for everyone right out of the gate. There are a few reasons that your doctor might hold off on recommending surgery to treat your particular issue.

1. Not All Conservative Treatments Have Been Exhausted and Medications are Helping

From resting to icing to muscle strengthening and more aggressive treatments like pain medications and injections, there are a lot of options that can improve knee pain without surgery.

2. Little to No Impact on Your Mobility and Normal Activities

If you’re able to continue living your daily life without much difficulty, surgery could be more invasive than what is currently needed to manage your condition.

3. Physical Condition: Weak Thigh Muscles or Overweight

Your body potentially might not be able to fully support a knee replacement for a couple of significant reasons: muscle strength and/or weight. If you have weak thigh muscles, they may not be able to support a knee replacement. Furthermore, extra weight can put extra pressure on your knees, which could move parts of the artificial knee joint post-surgery, which can lead to more pain or even more surgery.

Beacon Orthopaedics Is Here for You

Regardless of the state or severity of your knee pain, a Beacon specialist can help you determine the right course of action to have you feeling better so you can get back to doing what you love. Schedule an appointment today!