When knees get severely damaged because of arthritis, osteoporosis, or injuries, it can be tough to enjoy walking. Getting upstairs or downstairs might become impossible. Some people who suffer from knee problems even feel pain when they sit or lie down.
Knee replacement therapy is usually not the first treatment suggested for knee pain. If non-invasive treatment like medication, physical therapy, and braces no longer prove sufficient, your doctor may suggest this surgery though. New advances in knee replacement therapy can help seniors enjoy mobility as much they did when they were younger.
Osteoporosis vs. Arthritis
These are two very different conditions, though some people get them confused. They can both be responsible for a lack of mobility and pain, and they both tend to occur in older adults.
When bones become less dense and more likely to fracture, that is called osteoporosis. Some of the most severe symptoms of this disease include:
- Loss of height
- Increased risk of fractures
- Severe pain and a change in posture
Arthritis, on the other hand, is a general term for conditions that affect joints and the tissue around joints. Any joints can be affected, like wrists, elbows, and the spine. It commonly affects knees, and this can greatly impact mobility.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.
Understanding Today’s Revolutionary Knee Replacement Therapy
Surgeons attempted the very first knee replacement surgery back in the late 1960’s. Since that time, improvements in surgical techniques and materials have improved effectiveness and recovery time dramatically. In fact, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that knee replacement is one of the most successful surgical procedures that they can offer their patients. They also report performing over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries in the U.S. today.
Who Are Good Candidates for Knee Replacement Therapy?
Surgeons evaluate patients mostly because of the degree of pain and disability. They do not always consider age. This means that everyone from teens with severe injuries or juvenile arthritis to elderly people in their eighties with arthritis or osteoporosis may be good candidates. Patients with chronic health conditions, like heart problems, might need to get evaluated by a specialist in addition to the surgeon who will perform the operation.
Understanding Recovery From Knee Replacement Surgery
Most patients need to stay in the hospital for several days after surgery. During this time, patients will receive medication for pain management and the prevention of blood clots. Most patients also begin physical therapy inside of the hospital where progress can be monitored.
After the patient returns home, he may still need to recover for a few weeks. Shorter and more successful recoveries usually depend upon following the doctor’s instruction. Home care usually includes wound care, taking care to avoid falls, and prescribed exercises. Most patients resume normal activities about three to six weeks after surgery.
Should You Consider Knee Replacement Surgery?
If you cannot enjoy normal activities because of pain and stiffness in your need, and you have already tried medication and physical therapy, speak with your doctor about surgery. You will have to spend some time in the hospital and more time recovering. But it could help you enjoy many more years of a fun and active life.