I’ve been told I need a new knee…

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Is your knee pain limiting you from your day to day activities? Whether that be walking, stairs, or putting on clothes?

You may have heard of various surgeries or interventions to fix knee pain: arthroscopes, clean-outs, PRP injections…

Total knee replacements (TKR) are one of those options, and they’re effective for severe painful knee arthritis. However, if you are younger, the advice for a total knee replacement is usually to delay. This is primarily due to prolonging the life of the prosthesis (the hardware that’s inserted into your knee).

Surgery is not the first step

It needs to be said that just because you have knee pain and arthritis on an x-ray or scan, doesn’t mean you should get a knee replacement. Most of the time, even with knee pain that’s been around for a long time, you can get significantly better with non-surgical management options. But for some people despite hard work on a knee rehab program pain persists and that makes you a good candidate for a replacement.

What to do when a knee replacement is a good option for you…

So, In the meantime, it’s advised that you undergo a strengthening program as the better you are before your surgery, the better the outcomes after surgery.

There is a long wait list for total knee replacements. So it’s worthwhile to chat to a physiotherapist. Physios can assist with your pain, stiffness and reduced function by conducting an assessment and creating a tailored home program to help you improve your function throughout the day and maybe avoid a total knee replacement. They’d also look at other contributing factors to your pain (things like your low back, hip and core).

As we know, there is no quick fix. Even after your total knee replacement, it is recommended you still go through an exercise program as improved strength, and function can lead to better quality of life.

Your body is great at adapting!

A common phrase, “bone on bone” has been thrown around the community, increasing fear in those with arthritis. But did you know that the “bone on bone” that you commonly hear is not actually causing your pain as bones do not have any nerve endings. Pain does not always equal harm. However, research has shown that loading joints with exercise can slow down degeneration of the cartilage.

Exercise is advised as the first line of attack for knee arthritis.

Things you can do:

  • Every 1% reduction in weight loss reduces your risk of a knee replacement by 2% and 1kg reduction in weight equals 4-5kg reduction across the knee.
  • Visit us in the clinic for an initial assessment and a tailored home program
  • Enquire about our Clinical Pilates assessment

For further reading…

Salis, Z., Sainsbury, A., I. Keen, H. et al. Weight loss is associated with reduced risk of knee and hip replacement: a survival analysis using Osteoarthritis Initiative data. Int J Obes 46, 874–884 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-01046-3

 

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