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Total Knee Replacements

Why do people decide to get a total knee replacement (TKR)? Before answering that question, let us establish that getting a knee replacement should be the last possible option for someone experiencing knee pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA). OA commonly affects weight bearing joints such as the spine, hip, and knee. Candidates for TKR, which is also referred to as a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), are individuals who have lived with knee pain for years as a result of OA. OA of the knee joint may inhibit a person’s ability to participate in activities such as walking, going up stairs, and kneeling down. Progressively, knee pain caused by OA encourages many patients to seek medical attention for a cure, in hopes of living pain free.

The typical TKA candidate visits their primary physician where an x-ray is prescribed and indicates damage and/or deterioration of the cartilage within the knee joint. These patients often take medication and participate in physical therapy to decrease pain and strengthen the knee joint. These treatments often help to slow down the progression of OA; however, all patients do not experience relief and decide to resort to more invasive treatments such as cortisone shots or knee arthroscopy. The effectiveness of each treatment will vary, due to the fact that OA affects each person differently. After several attempts to decrease pain caused by OA, without success, patients may decide to undergo a total knee replacement.

A TKR is an inpatient procedure, which typically justifies about 2-4 days in the hospital followed by 3-12 months of rehabilitation before someone is able to fully recover. After a TKR, many individuals return to activities such as swimming, bicycling, golf, etc. TKR is not designed for activities such as jogging, tennis and skiing; although, there are patients that participate in such sports post-recovery. If you are experiencing knee pain caused by OA contact your primary physician for further information on all possible treatment methods.

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