Knee replacement, also known as a Total Knee Replacement or Knee Arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove worn, diseased or damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with an artificial joint, or prosthesis, that is made of metal and plastic. Undergoing knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and allows patients to return to normal everyday activities. For those who have become bow-legged or knock-kneed over the years, it can also straighten the legs into a more natural position.
Why a Knee Replacement?
The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to repair joint damage caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. They may also experience moderate or severe knee pain at rest. There are many types of arthritis but most knee pain is caused by just three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
• Osteoarthritis. This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.
• Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis.”
• Post-traumatic arthritis. This can follow a serious knee injury. Fractures of the bones surrounding the knee or tears of the knee ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.
Matt Smith Physical Therapy can help with your pre and post-operative care for knee replacement.