Considering a knee Replacement?
A knee replacement is a surgical procedure, which involves replacing the ends of the two bones that form your knee with a metal implant. In most cases, the goal of the replacement is to reduce the amount of pain experienced around the knee.
The most common indication for needing a knee replacement is a combination of Osteoarthritis and pain. But having Osteoarthritis, doesn't automatically mean you need a hip replacement. In most cases, Osteoarthritis can be managed with exercise, activity modification and perhaps medication. When the pain is significantly impacting upon your lifestyle that surgery might be an option.
There are two main types of knee replacement. A total knee replacement and a uni/partial (half) knee replacement.
Did you know?
Research has shown that 10% reduction in body weight has been shown to help reduce knee pain by
Did you know?
Smoking significantly increases the time it takes for your body to heal and recover after an operation. It also make us more sensitive to pain.
Did you know?
In most cases, the pain we experience from Osteoarthritis does not mean we are causing harm or making it worse.
How do I know if I need surgery?
Many of the common signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis can be managed with a combination of exercise, activity modification, weight loss and medication. If you have not already done so, talk to a Physiotherapist who will be able to guide you towards the best type of exercise that is most suited to you.
Remember, there is no current cure for Osteoarthritis. The treatments available aim to help you manage and reduce symptoms, not fully take it away.
If you have tried exercise, activity modification and medication and are still unable to manage the pain, an X-ray may be taken of the knee to look at the amount of change that has happened in the knee. It is important to remember that everyone is different and the amount of change we see on an X-ray does not equal the amount of pain or discomfort we experience.
You may be offered an injection into the knee joint to help settle the pain. The injection contains a powerful anti-inflammatory which can help to settle stiffness, pain and swelling. Injections are best used alongside graded exercise, as the stronger you can get the knee to be, the longer the injection can last. You can only have 1 injection every 12 weeks. This limitation is to help prevent further damage to the knee.
If you have tried all of the options and you have significant change shown on an x-ray, then you may be referred to an Orthopaedic Consultant.
The decision to have a joint replacement should not be taken lightly. It is important to discuss everything with your family, friends, healthcare professionals and Doctor. The decision usually revolves around how much your knee is impacting YOU and YOUR daily life. If you are unsure of this impact, try the Oxford Knee Questionnaire here
Advice from a knee Consultant
Whilst you're waiting...
The current pressures on the NHS mean that you may have to wait a little longer to have your surgery. But whilst you're on the waiting list, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.
Did you know that exercising other parts of your body can actually help improve your knee function? Swimming and cycling can be great ways to get more active. Moving your knee gently in a swimming pool can really help to improve the flexibility and build back some muscle. Our body takes time to adapt to getting active and you won't see changes straight away.
Find out more here
We all know that losing weight can be hard, but it can really make a difference. In simple terms, the less we weigh, the easier it is for our body to function and the less strain we put on it. Having a healthy BMI also means that you will recover quicker from surgery. You can work out your BMI by clicking hereIf you're unsure how to lose weight, book an appointment to speak to your GP. Harrogate Council run a Fit 4 Life weight loss group.The NHS also provide an online weight-loss course
Giving up smoking can actually really help. Smoking can make us more sensitive to pain, as well as increasing the time ti takes our body to heal and recover. In some cases, smoking may actually prevent you having some types or surgery.
If you haven't already done so, speak to your GP about ways to stop, or see more of the facts here
Talk to your Doctor about other things you could do.
Are you taking the right medication?
Have you been to Physiotherapy?
What about an injection? (steroid or nerve block)
How is your mental health affected?
Frequently asked questions
When can I drive?
Most people can return to driving 4-6 weeks after surgery. You will need to be able to perform an emergency stop
How painful is the surgery?
Everyone experiences pain differently. Try not to compare to other people. It is important to take the medication given to you by the hospital. This may be required for 6-8 weeks.
How long does recovery take?
The human body takes between 6-12 weeks to heal. However recovery can take much longer than that. Some surgery can take 12 to 18 months to reach its potential.
Do I need any equipment?
The hospital will provide any specialist equipment you may need. It's a good idea to prepare as much as you can at home before the surgery. Do you need to move a bed downstairs? Which toilet will you use?
If you are unsure, an Occupational Therapist will be able to help.
Can I still fly after my operation?
How will I cope at home?
It's a good idea to tell your friends and family about your planned surgery. They may be able to help you in the 3-4 weeks after your surgery. You could also freeze meals before to save cooking
How long will I be in hospital for?
If the surgery goes as planned, you can expect to be in hospital for 1 night. You will be expected to attend hospital at a later date for Physiotherapy.
What should I bring to hospital?
You will need clothing for at least 1 overnight stay. Loose fitting clothing is ideal. Being able to wear your own clothes can make a big difference to how you feel. Leave expensive personal items or jewellery at home.