Knees play a significant role in movement. Each movement that you make from one place to another is dependent on your legs. So, if your knees are in pain, your movement is automatically restricted. So, what do you do when you experience knee joint pain? Exercise, or probably go in for some treatment that can help you get some pain relief. But then, does it really help when you take medicines? Or, how long can you avoid the pain?
You might have to get yourself something more if your pain has become a chronic affair. So, for that, you’ll have to check how severe the pain is and how long you’ve been experiencing it. You might have to get a knee replacement surgery in case you are diagnosed with a condition that can cause you discomfort, and you’ve reached the right place when it comes to treating your knee joints. Here, we can guide you through on the basics of a knee replacement surgery.
Let’s first look at the knee.
The knee is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the entire body and is often referred as the junction where the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone meet and help the body move from one place to another. The knee comprises of the following:
- Anterior and posterior ligaments
- Bones – The thigh and the shin bones, the knee cap (patella)
- Cartilage on the surface of the bones that are joining (for smooth functioning)
There is also a sac that secretes a lubricating fluid placed between the femur and the shin bones, which cushions them and allows smooth functioning. Sometimes you might experience dryness in the joint while moving which results in throbbing pain. Walking or even the smallest of the movement becomes difficult, and that’s when you need some oiling for your joints.
What causes knee joint pains?
There are many reasons that can be significant contributors to joint pains. Listed are some of the most common conditions that also lead to a lot many complications for which a knee replacement surgery becomes a necessity.
1. Obesity – Obesity is one of the most common causes of the knee joint getting affected to a large extent. The entire body weight falls on the knees adding a lot of pressure on the joint, which leads to stiffness, inflammation, and damage to the knee cartilage. This, over a period, might lead to the need for a knee replacement surgery.
2. Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis can be referred to an age related condition. It causes the knee cartilage to wear off with age and the bones start rubbing against each other. Pain and stiffness are common symptoms that you will notice. It usually occurs in people over the age of 50 and can lead to the cartilage completely getting damaged that brings the need for a knee replacement.
3. Rheumatoid arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the defensive cells attack the healthy cells by mistake. This can affect any part of the body, and bones are the most affected. The articular cartilage completely wears of and causes pain, stiffness and extreme inflammation causing swelling around the knee joint.
4. Trauma – If you’ve had a very serious injury that has affected your knee joint, probably with fractures, you might have a possibility of having the tendons and ligaments damaged too. This can lead to the cartilage getting severely damaged over time causing you a lot of pain and stiffness. As a result you might need to get your knee replaced.
Every treatment will have a list of goods and bads, and when it comes to a treatment that requires you to go under the knife, it is bound to be a little painful. A knee replacement surgery is one among these surgical treatments that involves some amount of pain, but can relieve you from chronic knee joint pain. So, here’s what it is.
What is a knee replacement surgery?
A surgical intervention called knee arthroplasty in medical terms and involves slicing out the damaged or decayed area of the knee joint and replacing it with a metal or plastic replacement joint. This artificial joint is specially designed to function as naturally as a natural joint.
The procedure involves your consultation and joint assessment as the first step of your treatment. This is the most important part and Dr. Madhu, no doubt is known to be one of the best in assessing your condition. There are various types of knee replacement surgeries and they depend on the degree of damage that your knee joint has.
1. Total knee replacement: A total knee replacement surgery, also known as a primary knee replacement involves the entire joint to be replaced. It provides complete relief from pain and aids in smooth functioning of the knee. Post-surgery care plays an imperative role in alleviating pain and promoting better functionality and mobility.
2. Partial knee replacement: A partial or unicompartmental knee replacement surgery involves a small part of the cartilage being replaced with a plastic or metal prosthesis. It preserves the natural bones apart from the part that is damaged. It is performed with a smaller incision, and hence, causes less blood loss and less pain too.
3. Complex knee replacement: A complex knee replacement is usually done in case you have an extremely painful arthritic condition that leads to the damage of the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments which aid in the mobility of the knee joint. You might also need a complex knee replacement in case you have a previous under healed knee replacement surgery. A complex knee replacement surgery is a complex surgery which involves various complex implants that aid in bringing better range of motion.
4. High flex knee replacement: This is usually done for people suffering from osteoarthritis, yet desire to have a higher range of knee flexibility and motion. People who opt for a high flex knee replacement surgery are those who get back into an active lifestyle post surgery, or sports personalities.
5. Revision knee replacement: A revision knee replacement refers to a redo of a previous surgery. This is either done if the previous knee replacement fails or if the implanted prosthesis wears off over a period.