When it comes to joint health, the knee plays a crucial role in our mobility and overall well-being.
However, for many individuals, the prospect of knee replacement surgery can be both daunting and complex.
Deciding when to opt for a knee replacement requires careful consideration of various factors.
But first - what is a TOTAL knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, involves the removal of damaged, arthritic or diseased parts of the knee joint and the replacement of these components with artificial implants, mimicking the function of a natural knee joint.
The knee joint consists of three main components: the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella (kneecap). During knee replacement surgery, the damaged surfaces of these bones are carefully removed and replaced with prosthetic components made of metal, plastic, or a combination of materials.
After knee replacement surgery in Melbourne, a period of rehabilitation is required to restore the function of the new knee. This will start during a short hospital stay. Then, your knee replacement rehabilitation can be broken down into early, middle and late/maintenance stage.
A good knee physiotherapist will guide you through these stages, with clear goals and achievements at the forefront of your rehabilitation.
It's crucial for individuals to actively participate in their rehabilitation and follow their healthcare provider's recommendations.
So when is it time to have a TOTAL knee replacement?
In this blog post, we'll delve into the signs, symptoms, and considerations that can help you determine when it might be the right time to consider knee replacement surgery.
Expansive trials of non-surgical treatment options for Knee Osteoarthritis
Before recommending surgery, healthcare professionals typically explore non-surgical interventions. These treatments include strengthening of the muscles around the knee which act like a “biological scaffolding” to the knee joint.
Physiotherapists are at the forefront of this treatment and can write and prescribe a program tailored to each individual’s knee. This treatment is often a successful tactic to delay the need for knee replacement surgery and is backed by the best research available.
Persistent Pain and Discomfort after TOTAL Knee Replacement Surgery
One of the primary indicators that it might be time to consider a knee replacement, following a period of time seeking non-surgical treatments, is persistent pain and discomfort.
While occasional knee pain is common, chronic pain that interferes with daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, or even sleeping, could be a sign that conservative treatments are no longer providing relief.
Limited Mobility and Functionality after TOTAL Knee Replacement Surgery
You may find that your mobility and functionality are continuing to decline. Difficulty in bending or straightening the knee, along with a noticeable decrease in range of motion, can significantly impact your quality of life.
If your knee limitations are impeding your ability to engage in routine activities or enjoy hobbies, it may be time to discuss the possibility of a knee replacement with your healthcare provider.
Impact on Daily Life following TOTAL knee replacement surgery
Consider how your knee pain and limitations are affecting your daily life. If you find that your knee issues are impacting your ability to work, participate in social activities, or maintain relationships, it may be time to discuss surgical options.
Knee replacement surgery has the potential to significantly improve your overall quality of life and restore your ability to engage in the activities you love.
If I don’t think total knee replacement surgery is for me yet, what can physiotherapy offer me whilst I make this decision?
As mentioned earlier, exploring non-invasive solutions to knee pain is crucial. Physiotherapists are experts in this field and can offer a number of options as you make your decision.
Physiotherapists design personalized exercise regimes tailored to individual needs and the specific nature of knee pain. These programs focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee, improving flexibility, and enhancing overall joint stability. Targeted exercises can help alleviate pain and restore function.
Physiotherapy may also incorporate a range of modalities to manage pain effectively. These modalities are non-invasive and can be crucial in the initial stages of knee pain management or during a flare up.
Knee pain often results in reduced range of motion and flexibility. Physiotherapists employ specialized exercises to gradually improve joint mobility. This may involve gentle stretches, range of motion exercises, and manual therapy techniques aimed at restoring flexibility and optimising joint function.
Additionally, strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee is a key focus of physiotherapy. Targeted strength training exercises help build muscle mass, providing enhanced support to the knee joint and reducing the load on the affected area.
Physiotherapists conduct comprehensive gait and movement analyses to identify any abnormalities in walking patterns or body mechanics that may contribute to knee pain. Addressing these issues through corrective exercises and adjustments can significantly improve overall joint health and function.
Lastly, empowering individuals with knowledge about joint protection and proper body mechanics is a crucial aspect of physiotherapy. Patients learn techniques to reduce stress on the knee joint during daily activities, promoting long-term joint health and minimizing the risk of future injuries.
Take home message regarding knee replacement surgery in Melbourne and physiotherapy
Deciding when to undergo a knee replacement is a highly personal choice that requires careful consideration of various factors.
If you are experiencing persistent pain, limited mobility, and a decreased quality of life due to knee issues, it may be time to consult with your healthcare provider.
Through a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle, you and your healthcare team can determine whether knee replacement surgery is the right step towards regaining mobility, reducing pain, and improving your overall well-being.
Our knee physiotherapists can help you make the decision on when it is time to seek surgical advice. We are here to explore all treatment options and get you back to living your best life, pain free.
Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice tailored to your specific situation.