Most people will experience some degree of knee pain or a knee injury in their lifetime, and often those injuries are minor and may heal on their own. However, many people experience consistent knee pain for years, often because of an untreated injury, arthritis or other degenerative diseases. For many older patients experiencing intense knee pain, a partial or total knee replacement can be an excellent treatment option.
Beacon Orthopaedics has three steps to help you decide when it’s time to consider a partial or total knee replacement, and the specialists who can help you get the treatment you need.
1. Determine the Severity of Your Condition/Knee Pain
As you weigh your options for pain management and treatment, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much does my knee hurt in motion?
- How much does my knee hurt at rest?
- What activities make my pain worse?
- Do I experience dull, mild, or severe pain?
- Do I experience consistent pain?
- How much can I move my knee before I experience pain?
- How often does my knee hurt?
- Is there swelling? How much?
2. Identify the Cause of Your Knee Pain
The best way to identify the cause of your knee pain is to see an orthopaedic specialist. Below are some of the most common causes of knee pain in order of their severity:
- Excessive pressure on the joints
- Ligament strains, sprains and tears
- Tendonitis and bursitis (inflammation due to overuse)
- Fractures and breaks
- Dislocation of the joint
- Gout (crystalized uric acid in a joint)
- Post-traumatic arthritis (cartilage damage due to injury)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (excessive synovial fluid in the joint)
- Osteoarthritis (wearing down of cartilage in the joint)
3. Consider How Your Symptoms Affect Your Everyday Activities
The majority of people will experience knee pain at some point during their life. Even the smallest fall or slightest twist can cause lasting damage to the knee. When your symptoms interfere with the quality of your everyday life, it’s imperative that you consult a knee specialist.
When Should I See a Specialist for a Knee Replacement?
Consider talking to a knee specialist if it is difficult to perform any of the following activities without pain:
- Climbing stairs
- Getting in/out of your car
- Getting in/out of bed
- Getting in/out of the shower
- Getting on/off the toilet
Also consider talking to a knee specialist if you consistently experience:
- An inability to bear weight on your knee without pain
- Severe pain, swelling, instability, or grinding in your knee
- Persistent pain or swelling that does not resolve in a few weeks
- Pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs
- Moderate or severe knee pain while resting or sleeping
- A knee deformity – such as the bowing in or out of your knee
Common Conditions Treated by Knee Replacement
The most common cause of chronic knee pain, and a condition that will often result in the need for knee replacement surgery, is arthritis. The three forms or arthritis that primarily affect the knee are:
Post-traumatic Arthritis – Usually following a serious knee injury, this type of arthritis is caused by the gradual damage to articular cartilage from fractures in the bones surrounding the knee, or tears of the knee ligaments.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – This type of arthritis is caused by the inflammation of the synovial membrane that surrounds the knee joint, the resulting chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness in the knee.
Osteoarthritis – This is an age-related type of arthritis that is directly caused by the wear and tear of the knee joint over time. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. As the cartilage that cushions the knee softens and wears away, the bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.
While post-traumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis have different causes, they all cause loss of cartilage in the knee. When the knee no longer has enough cartilage to cushion the movement of the leg, walking becomes painful. It is imperative to speak to a specialist about a knee replacement in order to avoid further damage to the bones in the knee.
Benefits to Knee Replacement Surgery
- Ease Pain in the Knee
- Regain and Preserve Overall Mobility
- Arthritic Bone is Completely Removed
- Correct Knee Deformities
Beacon is a Leader in Knee Replacements
The goal of total knee replacements is to restore function, stability, and alignment in the knee while relieving pain in the process. In order to fully achieve this, specialized experience and support is required.
If you experience knee pain that interferes with daily living, schedule an appointment with Dr. Haleem Chaudhary at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to talk about possible causes and treatments. Dr. Chaudhary is board certified and fellowship trained in adult joint reconstruction. He will guide you from your pre-operative consultation all the way through recovery, ensuring that your new knee will fit comfortably and provide you with the support you need to live your life to the fullest.