To relieve pain from an arthritic knee after all non-surgical options are exhausted, a total or partial knee replacement is often the necessary solution.
A total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty (TKA), is a surgical procedure in which artificial metal or plastic parts are used to replace the arthritic knee joint. Typically, during this surgery, the knee cap and the ends of the femur and shin bone are all replaced.
Causes for Knee Replacement Surgery
A knee replacement surgery is usually only necessary if the joint has become arthritic and too painful to go about doing normal activities. But arthritis from aging is not the only reason to have this surgery.
Other causes include:
- Trauma from a fracture
- Increased stress (obesity, overweight, overuse)
- Inactive lifestyle
- Inflammation, Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Happens to an Arthritic Knee?
In an arthritic knee, several things begin to occur that cause the need for treatment, and eventually this may include surgery.
- Cartilage lining is extremely thin or gone. The degree of cartilage damage varies with the stage and type of arthritis.
- Swollen knee cap.
- Space for joint is narrow and irregular.
- Bone spurs and excessive bone can build up.
Any combination of these factors can cause stiffness and pain and limit activity.
How is Arthritis Diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis, or arthritis of the joints, is diagnosed through a examination of a patient’s medical history, a physical exam, and x-rays. A primary care doctor may be able to diagnose this, or at least notice the signs to refer you to a specialist.
Benefits of TKA Surgery
You and your doctor will decide together if the best option for your arthritis is surgery. One of the best benefits of this surgery is that it relieves the symptoms of arthritis, including:
- Severe pain that limits everyday activity
- Pain that wakes you at night
- Deformity (bowleg or knock knees)
Most patients who undergo this surgery experience a change in their quality of life for the better. After recovery, they are able to perform many of the everyday activities that they couldn’t participate in before.
Dr. Altenburg is in clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays to see patients and help determine the best treatment plan necessary. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.