You don't have to live with knee pain
Is knee pain affecting your general well-being and keeping you from leading an active lifestyle? Below, you’ll find some general information and frequently asked questions regarding knee pain and available treatment options.
If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard for you to perform simple activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. You may even begin to feel pain while you are sitting or lying down. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities.
Knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968. Since then, improvements in surgical materials and techniques have greatly increased its effectiveness. Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. The technical name of a total knee replacement procedure is total knee arthroplasty, sometimes referred to as TKA.
Knee anatomy and why knees hurt
The knee is the largest joint in the body and having healthy knees is required to perform most everyday activities. The knee is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (femur), the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). The ends of these three bones where they touch are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily.
The menisci are located between the femur and tibia. These C-shaped wedges act as "shock absorbers" that cushion the joint. Large ligaments hold the femur and tibia together and provide stability. The long thigh muscles give the knee strength. All remaining surfaces of the knee are covered by a thin lining called the synovial membrane. This membrane releases a fluid that lubricates the cartilage, reducing friction to nearly zero in a healthy knee. Normally, these components work in harmony. But disease or injury can disrupt this harmony, resulting in pain, muscle weakness, and reduced function.
Knee Replacement Symptoms
The participating physician members at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery in Plano, TX, may recommend that you undergo a knee replacement procedure if:
• Knee pain fails to improve after conservative therapies, such as medication, injections, and physical therapy, for six months or longer
• Knee pain becomes debilitating
• An inability to sleep through the night arises because of persistent knee discomfort
• Arthritis in the knee has substantially damaged the joint
• Decreased knee function caused by arthritis
• Some tumors involving the knee
Knee replacement is usually not recommended for patients with:
• A current knee infection
• Poor skin coverage around the knee
• Paralysis of the quadriceps muscles
• Severe peripheral vascular disease or neuropathy affecting the knee
• Severe limiting mental dysfunction
• Terminal disease (metastatic disease)
• Morbid obesity (more than 300 pounds)