osteoarthritis treatment

Knee Osteoarthritis: When To consider Knee Replacement Surgery?

Osteoarthritis is the major form of arthritis which is affecting millions of people all over the world. Mostly it occurs when the cartilage that protects the ends of your bone joints gets damaged over time. Osteoarthritis can harm any joint in your body, but mostly the disorder affects your hand joints, knee joints, and hip joints.

Usually, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed. By maintaining a healthy weight, staying fit, and with the help of some other treatments can slow the progression of the condition and improves joint function. But in some cases, surgical intervention is required to treat knee osteoarthritis. So, before knowing when knee osteoarthritis requires surgery, let’s know about osteoarthritis of the knee.

What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Everyone’s joints undergo some sort of damage and repair as a part of the normal cycle during their lifetime. In some cases, the destruction of joints can cause changes in the shape or structure of the joint known as osteoarthritis. 

The bony ends of your knee are covered with cartilage which is smooth and slippery tissue called meniscus. The meniscus helps in the movement of your bones against each other without any friction. It also protects the joints from stress. There is another membrane called synovium that lines the joints. It produces synovial fluid for lubrication, nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that damages this cartilage, synovium in your knee joint so that surfaces of the joint become rough. This means the bones in your knee don’t move smoothly and the wearing of bones happens overtime. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Knee Osteoarthritis?

The signs & symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and become worse over time. It is better to consult an orthopaedic doctor if experience below mentioned symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment for knee pain can extend the lifespan of your knee joint.

  • Pain during or after movement
  • Joint stiffness after being inactive for some.
  • You might feel joint tenderness when you put pressure on or near the joint
  • Loss of range of motion of your joint
  • Grating sensation, i.e. you might hear popping or crackling when you move your arm
  • Bone spurs
  • Swelling due to inflammation of the soft tissue around the joint

What Is Knee Replacement Surgery?

A knee replacement is a surgical intervention which is also known as knee arthroplasty where artificial parts replace the diseased or damaged knee joint. The first Knee replacement surgery was performed in the year 1968. 

Over the decades, there has been a lot of improvement both in surgical materials and techniques and increased its effectiveness significantly. Total knee replacement and partial knee replacement have risen as the most successful procedures of all time.

Partial Knee Replacement(PKR): A partial knee replacement(PKR) is a surgical intervention that involves replacing only the damaged part of the knee. Replacement of the parts can be either inside (medial) part or the outside (lateral) part of the knee. It is also called unicompartmental knee replacement where the knee is resurfaced with man-made metal or plastic components.

Total Knee Replacement(TKR): In case of total knee replacement surgery, the whole damaged joint is replaced with artificial man-made parts. The procedure involves removing away the damaged bone and cartilage from the thigh bone, shinbone and kneecap and is replaced with a prosthesis joint made up of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.

When To Consider Knee Replacement Surgery? 

Osteoarthritis can cause damage to joints which can’t be reversed. The treatment options like medications, therapies and some surgical options can reduce pain and improve the movement. But in severe cases, when the below treatment options fail, a knee replacement surgery is the only other best option. 

  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids Injections
  • Lubrication injections
  • Therapies
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise

There are several reasons to consider knee replacement surgery; often, osteoarthritis is one of the most common reasons for knee replacement surgery. When a person facing below problems, then a knee replacement surgery is most beneficial:

  • Intense knee pain and the joint stiffness limiting your daily activities like walking, climbing stairs and unable to sit or stand for a long time.
  • Medium or severe knee pain even while taking rest
  • Chronic inflammation of knee joint and swelling that doesn’t improve with rest or taking medications
  • Knee deformities like bowing in or out of the knee

In initial stages, general treatment options will be successful but in case of severe knee osteoarthritis where knee mobility is completely lost or undergoing intense knee pain, Partial Knee Replacement(PKR) or Total Knee Replacement(TKR) surgery can help you to walk back normally again. 

Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery

Any type of surgery for knee osteoarthritis requires a certain time period to recover and depends on the type of surgery performed, medical condition of the patient etc. Doctors even suggest physical therapy to regain strength and to restore range of motion in your knee after surgery. Your physical therapist will show some set of knee exercises to boost your recovery after knee replacement surgery.

In most cases, after knee replacement surgery recovery time and rehabilitation is very fast. You can see noticeable changes within weeks and the full range of motion within months. The knee replacement surgery will be effective and last long when performed by an expert knee replacement surgeon.

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