Mild to moderate knee pain can often be managed with physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If your knee pain is not manageable despite these treatment options, you may need joint replacement services. While anyone can suffer from knee pain, certain preexisting conditions may raise your risk for joint destruction.
Here are some preexisting conditions to talk to your orthopedic surgeon about that may increase your risk for knee problems necessitating joint replacement.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are degenerative joint diseases. They both cause joint pain and inflammation, and while the symptoms of osteoarthritis are typically localized to the affected joints, rheumatoid arthritis often causes systemic symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and muscle pain. Both of these degenerative joint disorders can lead to the destruction of the knee and hip joints.
When the joints are severely worn down, they may need to be replaced. Your orthopedic physician will evaluate your diagnostic imaging tests to determine the extent of your joint damage. If your knee joints are severely damaged and are causing disability, your doctor may schedule you for joint replacement surgery. Once the affected joint has been replaced, you will participate in a physical therapy program, which will further enhance the healing process, while decreasing your pain so that you have more strength and better mobility.
Morbid obesity causes wear and tear on your knee joints. It also causes body-wide inflammation, which further contributes to pain and swelling of the knees. Being severely overweight can damage your hip, knee, and ankle joints, and while losing weight can help relieve pain and swelling, it will not reverse existing joint damage. Because of this, you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery.
It is important to note that your orthopedic surgeon may recommend that you lose weight prior to your joint replacement surgery. Morbid obesity may make you a poor surgical risk. This means that you may be more likely to experience complications both during and after your surgery than those who are not overweight. After you have lost weight, your knee replacement will then be scheduled. Joint replacement surgery is typically not considered an emergency procedure, and because of this, you will have time to lose weight before your surgery.
If you experience severe knee pain, talk to your physician about joint replacement surgery. After conservative treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications have proved ineffective, joint replacement may be your only option for long-term pain relief.