Total Knee replacement is not something a lot of people know about, and it is something that hits you in your middle and later ages depending upon your lifestyle, levels of physical activity and your bodyweight. You need to understand that your knee is nothing but a joint of two bones, with cartilage in the middle and there’s only so much it can take. People that are dealing with weight issues and obesity, end up putting added pressure on your knee joints and ultimately causing them to wear out and creating medical problems that could lead to Total Knee Replacement.
- What could be the cause of my chronic knee pain?
You most likely have chronic knee pain due to arthritis! Most of the knee pain is caused by three types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Post traumatic arthritis! Post traumatic arthritis is caused by a serious injury that you might have had in the past, while Osteoarthritis is caused due to old age! In Rheumatoid Arthritis, your synovial membrane becomes inflamed and damage your cartilage, causing knee pain!
- Do I need knee replacement?
If your knee is misbehaving and is giving you trouble while making the slightest of movements, it is a great idea to consult your doc! While he might not recommend surgery immediately, he might prescribe you over the counter medicines, ointments, injections or Nutritional supplements. If, however your knee pain keeps giving you trouble and you find that you have –
- Severe pain restricting your everyday activities
- Moderate/ severe pain lasting
- Knee stiffness
- Long lasting inflammation
Your doc might recommend a knee replacement surgery.
- Am I at ‘RISK?’
On the contrary, there is minimum risk involved, so don’t worry! Knee replacement surgeries are very common! There could be some complications like side effects of Anaesthesia, blood clots and infection. But according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons (AAOS), complications can occur only in about 2% of the cases, so relax! Knee replacement surgery is a very common procedure with less risks.
- What do I need to do before surgery?
A complete physical evaluation is very necessary before conducting a surgery to assure that you are healthy. If you have a heart condition, a cardiologist might evaluate you to see that you are fit and good to go for a surgery! Blood and urine samples may also be collected.
- How long will it take for me to recover completely?
The recovery time needed changes from person to person. Mostly, you should be able to stand up within about 12-24 hours post-surgery. You might also have to stay in the hospital for about 3-5 day post-surgery, depending on your recovery. Don’t worry, this is extremely normal! Complete recovery may take as much time as six weeks. Till then, it is better if you use crutches to walk around!
- What should I do/not do post-surgery?
You should resume your normal household activities like walking, standing and climbing down stairs! You can increase your mobility by graduating to longer periods of walking over time! Specific exercises to strengthen your knees might also help! You can do these by yourself, or if necessary have a physical therapist to help you in your exercises! Do not resume your driving unless you are sure that your knees are bending comfortably enough to sit in a car! Most people resume driving approximately 4- 6 weeks after surgery, so you’ll be driving in no time!
- How is my new knee going to be ‘different’?
Full motion recovery of your knees is uncommon if your knee condition was bad before surgery! But don’t worry! You won’t have to deal with debilitating pain any more when you do the simplest of activities! Most people also feel or hear some clicking of the metal and plastic with knee bending or walking. Many people hear clicking sounds while walking, but this is totally normal! These sounds can diminish over time, as your body gets used to your new knees. Sometimes, your knee might activate metal detectors at airports! If such a problem happens, tell the security personnel at the airport that you got a knee replacement surgery done!
Though the cases are rare, patients with total knee replacements can require a second operation as the years go by in the future.
The second operation can be a necessity because of loosening, fracture, or other complications of the joint that has been replaced. These reoperations are generally not as successful as original operations and carry higher risks of complications.
Future replacement devices and techniques will improve patient outcomes and lead to fewer complications. For post surgery rehab or healthy knee practices, consider availing Physiotherapy services