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HomeExclusiveWhen Do You Know It's Time For Knee Replacement

When Do You Know It’s Time For Knee Replacement

Severe Pain That Prevents You From Doing Normal Activities

Episode 1 – How Do You Know It’s Time for a Hip or Knee Replacement?

If you cant get relief from your knee pain, it may start interfering with your daily activities. In fact, the timing of a total knee replacement is determined by how the knee impacts the quality of life. So, if conservative treatments are not working and you have significant pain while walking or bending, you are the right candidate for surgery.

Do I Need A New Knee Signs And Symptoms

Contrary to what many people may believe, age is not necessarily a major factor in knee arthroplasty. Juvenile arthritis can cause pain and disability to the point where a knee replacement may be recommended in children and teens.

However, most patients are adults between the ages of 50 and 80 who suffer from degenerative arthritis , a breakdown the cartilage cushion between the bones of the knee joint. In most cases, this type of arthritis is age-related.

Are you unsure about whether your knee is really that bad? Check your knee symptoms against the following list. Are you experiencing:

  • morning joint stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes?
  • chronic swelling or inflammation that doesn’t respond to rest or medication?
  • severe to moderate pain that interferes with your daily activities?
  • deformity of the knee, such as a bowing in or out?
  • aching or pain after extensive standing, walking, or exercise?
  • painthat increases during humid or rainy weather?
  • painthat interferes with your sleep?
  • pain while resting: persistent or intermittent aching without a particular cause?
  • swelling or stiffness, especially after periods of rest or inactivity?
  • loss of mobility ?
  • a grating or grinding feeling in the joint?
  • difficulty climbing stairs or getting in and out of chairs or tubs?

Youve Lost Weight And The Pain Still Persists

Excess weight can be to blame when it comes to knee pain. So, in addition to using the RICE method and anti-inflammatory medications, you may need to lose some weight in order to alleviate a bit of the pressure on your knees.

But lets say youre still experiencing knee pain even though youve successfully dropped a few pounds. Now your weight may not be the only thing to blame.

While losing weight will certainly help the situation, its not enough to fix things if youre dealing with significant pain in your knees and cartilage wear-down.

So if youve lost weight and your pain still persists and youve tried the next pain-relieving options well be discussing it may be time to consider total knee replacement surgery.

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What Is The Right Age For Total Knee Surgery

Your surgeon’s recommendation for knee replacement is based mainly on your level of pain and disability there are no absolute restrictions on age or weight. Most of the people who have knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50 and 80. The procedure has a high success rate and is considered relatively safe and effective.1 Women are more likely to undergo the procedure in 2009, the rate of knee arthroplasty for female patients was 57 percent higher than for males2.

Youve Had Persistent Knee Pain For Anywhere From 3

When is it time for a knee replacement?

General knee pain can happen at any time and to anyone. You could feel pain after walking up several flights of stairs or outdoors playing with your grandkids.

Many people also experience general knee pain due to everyday activities like mowing the lawn, sitting or standing for too long, and even exercising.

In these instances, the pain is usually short-lived you may experience it for a few days, but after that, it disappears and you forget all about it.

So what happens when the pain sticks around for longer than a month?

Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up. Its also a warning that you may need a total knee replacement.

Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up.

Keep reading to see if you have any of the other common symptoms of chronic knee pain.

Or you can skip ahead and take the knee function assessment to figure out if total knee replacement surgery is right for you.

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Existing Medical Conditions And Knee Replacement Surgery

If you have an existing medical condition, like diabetes, its important to know how your surgery will affect your overall health. Diabetics can suffer from non-healing wounds, which can lead to a higher potential risk of infection during recovery from surgery. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about your existing medical conditions to prepare a procedure and treatment plan thats best suited for your specific health needs.

Risks and Benefits of Having Knee Replacement Surgery

Youre Ok With Avoiding Certain Activities Afterward

Patients should know what to expect after knee replacement surgery and understand that regular high-impact activities may not be advisable.

Total knee replacement is quite successful in enabling patients to return to an active lifestyle patients can perform all types of recreational activities, including hiking, bicycling, skiing, surfing, tennis and golf, Lieberman says. In general, we do not limit activities but suggest that patients avoid impact activities on a consistent basis to reduce wear of the prosthesis.

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How Do I Know If A Knee Replacement Is Right For Me

Chronic knee pain isnt normal. If you experience constant pain, you should talk to your doctor. They may recommend X-rays to confirm bone deformities or deterioration, and an MRI to diagnose issues with soft tissue.Though total knee replacements are typically a very successful surgery, its important to recognize the potential risks and drawbacks for certain patients, said Dr. Doherty. I encourage patients to speak openly about pain levels and physical limitations with their doctor to confirm your best treatment options.John Doherty, MD, is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee surgeries at Geisinger Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Scranton. To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401.

Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.

The National Joint Registry

How Do You Know When It’s a Good Time To Quit? – Knee Replacement #102

The National Joint Registry collects details of knee replacements done in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Although it’s voluntary, it’s worth registering. This enables the NJR to monitor knee replacements, so you can be identified if any problems emerge in the future.

The registry also gives you the chance to participate in a patient feedback survey.

It’s confidential and you have a right under the Data Protection Act to see what details are kept about you.

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What Is A Total Knee Replacement Exactly

In a knee arthroplasty, your orthopedic surgeon will not give you an entirely new joint.

Rather, the surgeon repairs your existing bone by removing damaged or diseased parts.

Your bones are then resurfaced with contoured metal or plastic implants.

The surgeon presses or cements the new components in place, using spacers to ensure that your bones will glide smoothly over each other just like your “real” knee before it became damaged.

Knee Pain: How Do You Know Its Time For A Knee Replacement

Knee replacements have been around for decades with great success. Some initial early prostheses had a limited lifespan, but newer state-of-the-art models are lasting longer and longer.

How do you know if its time for a knee-replacement surgery? The short answer is you cannot know without consulting an orthopedic specialist. If the pain in your knee is debilitating, it might be time to find out what your treatment options are.

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Disruption Of Everyday Activities

One of the main reasons to consider knee replacement is when pain that markedly limits everyday activities, despite the use of pain-relief medications.

To consider surgery, the patient should feel that arthritis pain causes some or all of the following issues. Their knee pain:

  • Measurably impacts everyday activities, causing them patient to stay in the house more or avoid activity altogether
  • Makes them unable to go up and down stairs
  • Makes a cane necessary
  • Does not respond to pain-relief medications and they feel the pain on an hourly basis
  • Causes trouble sleeping at night

What Is A Knee Revision

4 signs you need a knee replacement

A knee revision is the replacement of prosthetic implants in a person who previously had a total knee replacement. In this surgery, known as a “reoperation,” an original prosthesis is removed and a new prosthesis put in place.

Some knee revisions may require the replacement of only one implant, while others require a complete exchange of all the prostheses that were implanted during the original knee replacement surgery . A complete revision of this type is a complex procedure that requires extensive preoperative planning, specialized implants and tools, prolonged operating times, and mastery of difficult surgical techniques.

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The Verdict: If Youve Answered Yes Its Time To Consider How Total Knee Replacement Surgery Can Help

If youve answered yes to one or more of our 5 telltale signs, its time to consider an option that will give you long-term relief: total knee replacement surgery.

This choice is the most permanent option to remedy your chronic knee pain once and for all.

Why not take back the mobility and excitement you used to have instead of living with knee pain when you dont have to?

Why Revisions Are More Complex

Revision replacement is difficult for several reasons. First, when someone has surgery, scar tissue develops, and soft tissues become less identifiable. Performing the second surgery is always more difficult. Second, when performing a knee replacement, bone is removed. When performing a revision knee, often more bone has to be removed, and some may be lost as a result of the problem with the implant. Maintaining adequate bone to support the new implant can be a challenge. Finally, obtaining a knee that is flexible enough to allow for motion, yet stable enough to keep you steady, is also more difficult in revision situations.

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Youve Given Up On Your Normal Daily Activities

Have you recently given up on doing important everyday activities because youre in too much pain?

Whether thats shopping, gardening, or even just walking around your neighborhood, if you cant do the normal activities youre used to doing, thats a major red flag your knee pain is more serious than generalized pain.

You shouldnt have to avoid doing things you love because of your knee pain. If thats something youre already doing, it may be time to talk to Dr. Howell about a total knee replacement.

You shouldnt have to avoid doing things you love because of your knee pain.

If youre still unsure by this point, there is one more method to find out if youre a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery: Take the knee function assessment.

This free quiz will give you a series of questions to answer and then it will generate a knee score to give you an idea if you might be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery. We encourage you to take the quiz ASAP to see how you score.

You Have Had Bad Arthritis

How Do I Know If I Need a Knee Replacement?

Most people who are recommended for knee replacement surgery have either osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes joint pain and damage or post-injury arthritis. All these affect the knee through different mechanisms that result in loss of cartilage, causing pain and loss of motion.

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Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery

You’ll usually be in hospital for 3 to 5 days, but recovery times can vary.

Once you’re able to be discharged, your hospital will give you advice about looking after your knee at home. You’ll need to use a frame or crutches at first and a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee.

Most people can stop using walking aids around 6 weeks after surgery, and start driving after 6 to 8 weeks.

Full recovery can take up to 2 years as scar tissue heals and your muscles are restored by exercise. A very small amount of people will continue to have some pain after 2 years.

Make An Appointment With A Cona Specialist

At Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates , our Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Joint Replacement Specialists, Dr. Gerald Rollins, and Dr. Daniel Gerscovich are experts in knee arthritis.

If you are having symptoms of knee arthritis, we encourage you to make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Spartanburg, Greer and Duncan, SC.

We provide total quality care for your optimal health!

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Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery begins by performing a sterile preparation of the skin over the knee to prevent infection. This is followed by inflation of a tourniquet to prevent blood loss during the operation.

Next, a well-positioned skin incision–typically 6-7 in length though this varies with the patients size and the complexity of the knee problem–is made down the front of the knee and the knee joint is inspected.

Next, specialized alignment rods and cutting jigs are used to remove enough bone from the end of the femur , the top of the tibia , and the underside of the patella to allow placement of the joint replacement implants. Proper sizing and alignment of the implants, as well as balancing of the knee ligaments, all are critical for normal post-operative function and good pain relief. Again, these steps are complex and considerable experience in total knee replacement is required in order to make sure they are done reliably, case after case. Provisional implant components are placed without bone cement to make sure they fit well against the bones and are well aligned. At this time, good function–including full flexion , extension , and ligament balance–is verified.

Finally, the bone is cleaned using saline solution and the joint replacement components are cemented into place using polymethylmethacrylate bone cement. The surgical incision is closed using stitches and staples.


Length of total knee replacement surgery

Pain and pain management

Signs That It Might Be Time For A Knee Replacement:

How to avoid the onset of infection after Knee Replacement?
  • Your pain persists or recurs over time
  • Your knee aches during and after exercise
  • Youre no longer as mobile as youd like to be
  • Medication and using a cane arent delivering enough relief
  • Your knee stiffens up from sitting in a car or a movie theater
  • You feel pain in rainy weather
  • The pain prevents you from sleeping
  • You feel a decrease in knee motion or the degree to which youre able to bend your knee
  • Your knees are stiff or swollen
  • You have difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • You have difficulty getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs
  • You experience morning stiffness that typically lasts less than 30 minutes
  • You feel a grating of your joint
  • Youve had a previous injury to the anterior cruciate ligament of your knee

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Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee


Pain is the most noticeable symptom of knee arthritis. In most patients the knee pain gradually gets worse over time but sometimes has more sudden flares where the symptoms get acutely severe. The pain is almost always worsened by weight-bearing and activity. In some patients the knee pain becomes severe enough to limit even routine daily activities.


Morning stiffness is present in certain types of arthritis. Patients with morning stiffness of the knee may notice some improvement in knee flexibility over the course of the day. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience more frequent morning stiffness than patients with osteoarthritis.

Swelling and warmth

Patients with arthritis sometimes will notice swelling and warmth of the knee. If the swelling and warmth are excessive and are associated with severe pain, inability to bend the knee, and difficulty with weight-bearing, those signs might represent an infection. Such severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. Joint infection of the knee is discussed below.


The knee joint has three compartments that can be involved with arthritis . Most patients have both symptoms and findings on X-rays that suggest involvement of two or more of these compartments for example, pain on the lateral side and beneath the kneecap . Patients who have arthritis in two or all three compartments, and who decide to get surgery, most often will undergo total knee replacement .

Benefits Of Minimally Invasive Robot

In a minimally invasive knee replacement procedure, an incision of about four to six inches is made to allow for insertion of the knee replacement. This results in minimal damage to surrounding muscles and tendons around the knee. Compared to conventional surgery with a larger incision, benefits of minimally invasive surgery include the following:

  • Less discomfort, swelling and blood loss
  • Shorter hospitalization and rehabilitation
  • Ability to return to activities sooner

Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is not suitable for all patients. Your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation and consider several factors before determining if the procedure is an option for you.

If knee pain is controlling your life and limiting your activities, make an appointment with a DMC orthopedic specialist to discuss your options. We specialize in surgical and nonsurgical solutions for joint pain. To learn more about your options for treating knee pain click here or call to make an appointment with a DMC orthopedic specialist.

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