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It’s normal to have a twinge that sets you back every now and again. What might start as a slight throb in your knee when you’re walking up the stairs can turn into a flare up every time you bend your knees or put weight on them. Eventually, the pain may continue even at rest, when you’re sitting or even at sleep.
After decades of use, it’s only natural for a joint to ache at times, but if it becomes a daily struggle, it’s important to know that you don’t have to live with disabling pain.
Joint Pain Can Affect Your Whole Health
Though the condition is physical, knee pain can have social and emotional effects, too. Think of the grandmother who can’t take her grandchildren to the park, the retired couple who is now limited on travel plans or the middle-aged dad who can’t play soccer with his kids any longer.
These aspects of whole-health — the things that bring you joy — are a part of your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
So, it’s important for anyone with knee pain to know that there are many types of treatment and management options available, many of which don’t necessarily require surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeons Offer Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatments
Orthopedic surgeons are also experts at non-surgical approaches, including pain medication, steroid injections, exercise and weight loss.
Orthopedic surgeons can also offer patients the most accurate assessment of their joint health. For example, a knee X-ray is best conducted while the patient is putting weight on their knee instead of lying down. This technique can show if there’s decreased cartilage because there will be little or no space between the bones of the knee.
No matter the cause of knee pain, the first line of defense is what’s called “conservative” treatment, which means non-surgical approaches.
- Modifying your activity to limit stress on the knees
- Beginning a targeted exercise, physical therapy or weight-loss program
- Taking anti-pain medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Receiving steroid injections
- Using medical devices to reduce the load carried by the knee
These treatments can limit pain and delay a surgery, but none can reverse knee damage.
When Knee Replacement Treatment is an Option
The decision to undergo a knee replacement is a patient’s choice to make. But repeated studies have found that many people, even those with disabling knee arthritis, don’t know knee replacement is an option. For others, anxiety about the surgery stands in the way of what is potentially a positive change.
The knee typically has a cushioning between bones to absorb impact, but this tissue, called cartilage, wears down over time. As the padding in your joints wears out, bones can start to grind together, causing pain.
In a knee replacement surgery, doctors don’t actually replace your whole knee. Instead, this cushioning is replaced with a man-made prosthetic using the latest surgical techniques.
As with any surgery, knee replacement carries risks of complications, but it is much more likely to be positive and life-changing.
Patients are typically on their feet six hours after surgery and spend one night in the hospital. On the way to healing, most patients can go home after a knee replacement surgery and receive physical therapy either at home or in an office.
At AdventHealth, we want you to experience life on your own terms, without letting pain get in the way. Learn more about your options for treating knee pain, which may include a knee replacement, or call us at Call 855-303-3627 to schedule an appointment.