Knee Replacement | Fishersville, VA
Healthy knees are paramount for a full and active life. The knee joint is the largest joint in the body, connecting the thigh to the leg. It is an essential weight-bearing joint, which makes it susceptible to acute injury and degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. There are several ligaments in the knee that can be injured during sports, in addition to accidents that may require knee surgery without replacement.
However, when arthroscopic surgery and physical therapy do not alleviate knee pain and your mobility is limited, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. The replacement procedure involves removing damaged bone and cartilage from the thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap, and replacing it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers. The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to repair joint damage caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Total knee replacements are among the most successful procedures in all of medicine.
Symptoms of Knee Injury
The knee joint endures a variety of stress and force throughout the day. The hinge design of the knee joint limits its movement, but allows us to walk, squat and jump. Some knee problems only require rest and ice to heal, and other injuries may need physical therapy or surgery. Some symptoms of knee injuries include:
- Giving out
- Crackling or popping sounds upon movement
- Pain and tenderness exacerbated by weight-bearing
- Chronic knee inflammation
Common knee injuries include:
- (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) ACL tear
- (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) PCL tear
- Collateral Ligament injury or tear
- Meniscal tears
Conservative Care for Knee Injuries
Shenandoah Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offers conservative treatment options when possible to restore the function of the knee joint. Conservative treatment includes:
- Immobilization, rest and ice
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy to rebuild strength in surrounding muscles
- Home exercises to maintain flexibility
- Injection to reduce inflammation
- Activity modification
- Using a cane or walker
Many knee injuries can be reconstructed or repaired by minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. This procedure utilizes small instruments and small incisions to clean up or debride worn/torn cartilage that may be impinged upon by the bones. Arthroscopy enables your surgeon to diagnose and treat problems of the knee problems simultaneously. The minimally invasive nature of the surgery offers patients a faster recovery time and return to daily activities.
When is a Knee Replacement Recommended?
A partial or total knee replacement may be recommended when nonsurgical treatments like medications, physical therapy, injections and walking supports are no longer helpful in maintaining a patient’s mobility and pain level. The surgery is a safe and effective way to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities. Your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery if you have:
- Everyday activities that are limited by severe knee pain or stiffness
- Moderate to severe knee pain while resting, either day or night
- Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve with rest or medications
- A knee deformity, such as bowing in or out of your knee
The decision to perform replacement surgery is generally based on pain and disability. Most patients who undergo total knee replacement are age 50 to 80.
What to Expect After Surgery
Total knee replacement surgeries are usually performed in a hospital. A patient will most likely stay in the hospital for one to three days, depending on what is required for recovery. You can expect to experience some pain or discomfort after surgery, but your hospital care team will provide medication to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Physical therapy is an extremely important part of rehabilitation and usually begins the day of surgery. You will learn specific exercises to strengthen your leg and restore knee movement to allow walking and other normal daily activities.
You may generally resume most daily activities four to six weeks after knee replacement surgery. After your recovery, you can enjoy a variety of low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing, or biking. However, higher impact activities like jogging, skiing, tennis, and sports involving contact or jumping should be avoided until discussed with and approved by your doctor.