People that have generative joint disease or arthritis of their knees, often suffer from chronic pain for quiet a long period of time. Conservative treatments such as steroid injections, pain management and therapy are sometimes not enough to get rid of the pain and stiffness. Knee replacement maybe right for you, if you have a great decline in your daily living activities, that is related to pain with decrease in knee mobility and function.
The knee is the largest joint in the body. A person needs a healthy knee to be able to perform daily activities such as walking, climbing and running. More people ages 60-80 years old, that have some type of chronic arthritis such as Osteoarthritis, often choose to have a knee replacement. It is also performed on younger adults, depending on the severity of pain and damage to the knee. Your Orthopaedic surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate to undergo a knee replacement. You will be expected to stay in the hospital for several days after surgery.
Knee replacements are one of the most painful joint surgeries and dealing with post operative pain is one of the most important aspects of your care. Your therapy usually starts right after the surgery and it is important that you take pain medication prior to your therapy sessions to be able to participate fully with therapy. Your pain usually subsides in a few days, to a week and it may differ from person to person.
Most common complications after surgery are blood clots in the leg veins and you will be given a blood thinning agent to prevent this complication. You will also be taking iron supplements, depending on your laboratory result after surgery, since post operative anemia is also common to patients that undergo a knee replacement. Wound infection although rare will also occur so it is very important that you check your incision daily for signs and symptoms of infection.
Your therapy will usually focus on your balance, strength and mobility. You will be expected to use assistive devices during ambulation, such as a walker to prevent accidental falls for a few weeks. You will notice a marked improvement of your knee function, usually within 2-6 weeks of continued physical and occupational therapy, with a safe and fast recovery as a main goal.