Knee joint replacements represent one of the most common and successful surgical procedures available today.
“It’s not like a broken bone, where you know immediately something’s wrong and needs repair,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Thomas DiStefano, MD. “The need for a total joint replacement is often the result of a gradual wear and tear. Maybe there’s some difficulty doing certain tasks. Over time, you start experiencing pain, which becomes worse, eventually limiting your daily activities.”
To help, here’s a short list of things to look for that will tell you when it’s time for YOUR joint replacement.
1. Stiffness in the knee joint will limit your ability to move.
2. In time, you’ll feel a mild ache, progressing significant pain, even when you’re not on your feet. It may be bad enough to keep you awake at night.
3. Over-the-counter medication may help for a while, but eventually even that won’t bring pain relief.
4. Physical therapy or walking aids no longer help.
5. Eventually, you are unable to lift your leg or bend and straighten your knee.
6. Then, you can’t do common everyday tasks without help.
7. Arthroscopy or another, less complicated procedure won’t help.
When you feel the situation has deteriorated, an Orthopedic Specialist will give you an evaluation that includes the following:
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Until early in this century, most joint replacements were performed on individuals 65 years of age or older. Currently younger and younger people are receiving new knee or hip joints for two primary, but very different, reasons. First, many adults today want to stay active with tennis, jogging, dancing or some other activity. For the most part, that’s a very positive trend.
However, secondly, more and more people are overweight or obese, placing excess weight on their joints. For every extra pound on your body, you put 3 additional pounds of pressure on your knees. Losing only 15 pounds can reduce your pain by half.