Dr. Raju Vaishya
When your knee pain is so bad it actually interferes with the things you want or needs to do, the time may be right for a joint a joint replacement surgery. Knee replacement may be an option when nonsurgical interventions such as medication, physical therapy, and the use of a cane or other walking aid no longer help alleviate the pain. Other possible signs include aching in the joint, followed by periods of relative relief; pain after extensive use; loss of mobility; joint stiffness after periods of inactivity or rest; and/or pain that seems to increase in humid weather.
Your physician may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who will help you determine when/if it is time for knee surgery and which type of knee surgery is most appropriate. Your surgeon may decide that knee replacement surgery is not appropriate if you have an infection, do not have enough bone or the bone is not strong enough to support an artificial knee.
Doctors generally try to delay total knee replacement for as long as possible in favor of less invasive treatments. With that being said, if you have advanced joint disease, knee replacement may offer the chance for relief from pain and a return to normal activities.
If you have been experiencing long term joint pain, lasting more than few days, visiting an orthopedist in time will prove to be beneficial. Depending on your condition, your doctor will make a treatment plan, which will include medications, exercise, physical therapy and a few steps in lifestyle modification. In some cases he may recommend either keyhole surgery or even joint replacement.
People with joint pain need to follow a strict daily routine to keep their condition under control and minimize pain and discomfort. This routine includes a religious devotion to daily exercise, use of physiotherapy and heat therapy to keep the joints mobile and check inflammation as well as using supporting devices such as knee braces and orthotic shoes to ensure comfort. At the same time, it is important to understand that unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking tend to have a further negative effect on arthritic conditions. Most important is to check weight gain as excessive body weight puts greater pressure on the knees and the feet and accelerates damage.
Dr. (Prof.) Raju Vaishya is President of Arthritis Care Foundation & a Senior Orthopaedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. He is also well known for his academic contributions.