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4 signs you might need a knee replacement

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The decision to have knee replacement surgery is not something that should be taken lightly. Although knee replacement is a routine surgery performed on thousands of people worldwide each year, it is still a serious decision that should be discussed with an orthopedic surgeon. If other options haven’t helped your joint pain, here are some of the signs you might benefit from knee replacement surgery.

1. The pain is causing sleeplessness.

“If you experience knee pain or stiffness that keeps you awake at night, that’s usually the first indication that you may need to consider a knee replacement,” said Dr. Kurt Morrison, an orthopedic surgeon at Sacred Heart Health System. “You may also experience pain throughout the day while resting.”

2. Medications aren’t helping.

There are several medication options when it comes to treating knee pain. Over-the-counter oral medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).

Creams and ointments that you rub onto the skin are also sold over the counter and can help numb the area affected. Corticosteroid injections, also called cortisone shots fight inflammation and offer pain relief that can last up to several months. Hyaluronic acid is injected into the knee to boost natural joint fluid that keeps them moving smoothly.

“Unfortunately, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, cortisone injections and bracing, only work for a period of time,” says Dr. Morrison, an orthopedic surgeon at Sacred Heart Health System. “When these less invasive therapies stop being effective, it might be time for you to consider knee replacement surgery.”

3. You have bone-on-bone arthritis.

X-rays should be obtained and show bone touching bone somewhere in the knee. If there is only thinning of the cartilage without bone-on-bone, patients are often unsatisfied with the results of the knee replacement. Another reason to consider surgery is if you are falling frequently because of knee arthritis.

Dr. Morrison explains, “Progressive loss of range of motion suggest advancing of the disease, particularly not being able to get your leg out straight. When you can no longer straighten your leg all the way without pain in the back, it implies that you are ready for a knee replacement.”

4. The pain is interrupting your day.

If you’re finding it difficult to partake in everyday activities or feel confined to your house because of the pain in your knee, it may be time to consider surgery. “When you are in constant pain, you usually start limiting the activities that you once enjoyed. You will even start putting off routine tasks, like climbing stairs or going to the grocery store,” says Dr. Morrison.

Only you can decide if you’re ready for a knee replacement. In most cases, knee replacement can be done within your time frame, and there is usually no rush to have the operation. Talk to your doctor to see if knee replacement surgery makes sense for you.

From wishing to return to a once active lifestyle, to spending your day without crippling pain, Sacred Heart’s Regional Joint Replacement Center in Pensacola can help you make your dreams a reality. Our team has performed over 5,000 knee replacement and hip replacement surgeries at Sacred Heart. Our team approach means a faster recovery time, a quicker return to home and to normal activities, and freedom from joint pain.

Visit http://www.sacred-heart.org/orthopedics/JointReplacement/ for more information.