Your knees are among the most important joints in your body. Without them, you’ll be unable to walk properly, and your quality of life will be impacted accordingly. Your knees are expected to absorb a lot of punishment over the years. For people who live certain kinds of lifestyle, the punishment can be acute and severe.
If you suspect that your knees are giving you trouble, then it’s important to be aware of a few key warning signs. In some cases, the problem might be addressed through a combination of drugs and physio. In others, surgical intervention might be necessary.
What are the warning signs?
If you’re struggling to put weight on your knee, or you’re experiencing pain that interferes with day-to-day life, then it’s time to get a medical professional to take a look at your knee. In some cases, you might see some redness or swelling, but this isn’t always the case. A bad knee can interfere with your sleep and your ability to exercise, and so it’s worth getting it addressed sooner rather than later. This will allow you to avoid some of the more severe consequences.
What does a knee replacement entail?
A knee replacement surgery (also called an arthroplasty) is an operation that’s performed fairly regularly. It’s most commonly carried out on older people whose knees have been exposed to greater cumulative stress, but people of any age might benefit from this kind of surgery.
There are two varieties of this kind of surgery: total and partial knee replacement. In the former case, both sides of a knee joint are replaced with an artificial one. In the latter, just one side of the joint is replaced.
The benefit of a partial operation is that you’ll have a shorter stay in hospital, and a shorter recovery.
Other varieties of surgery don’t involve replacing the joint, but cleaning and maintaining it. Arthroscopic washout surgery involves sticking a tiny hose into the joint to blast loose and small bits of bone or cartilage. This is typically preferred after the knee has been completely shattered.
What kind of aftercare should you be following?
In the aftermath of the surgery, you’ll want to ease yourself gradually back into exercise, based on the instructions of your surgeon. In the early phases you’ll need to wear a brace to avoid any unnecessary strain.
What are the benefits and risks of a knee replacement?
Given that a knee replacement is such a common intervention, the drawbacks are fairly limited. If you’re undergoing anaesthesia, then you run a tiny risk of lung, kidney or heart damage. There’s also a chance of a pulmonary embolism, which may cause chest pain and shortness of breath.
The benefit is that you could recover full use of your knee, and be able to walk around again without pain. Considering all of the knock-on health advantages this brings, the case for surgery is often inarguable. Talk to your doctor about it.