Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that causes your joint cartilage to wear down over time. This is a completely normal process, but the missing cartilage can cause a great deal of pain.
Most often, this intense pain is felt within the knee since this joint receives a lot of wear and tear over the years. A large number of patients worry about when they will need a knee replacement, and how much longer they can go without getting one. Sadly, by waiting too long these patients run the risk of doing much worse damage than if they were to just talk to their doctor about knee replacement surgery.
So, the big question is: how do you know when is the right time to have a knee replacement?
Since osteoarthritis is a natural process that happens as we age, it usually only becomes a problem for those between the age of 50 to 80. However, there may be special cases for individuals of a younger age with osteoarthritis, which are typically caused by regularly placing too much stress on the joint. Athletes are among some of the most likely to need a knee replacement prior to reaching an elderly age.
Old Remedies No Longer Work
Lots of people within early stages of osteoarthritis will turn to over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like Advil or ibuprofen. However, if you are needing to take these types of pills nonstop or have begun to notice that they no longer work to dull your pain, then it is best to take the next step in the treatment of your osteoarthritis.
Daily Tasks Are a Struggle
Getting out of bed or trying to get dressed seem like simple activities, but not if you suffer from severe osteoarthritis of the knee. There is also no way to avoid completing these tasks every day, which is why you also can’t avoid finding a solution to your knee pain.
You may even begin to feel severe pain radiating from your knee joint when it is not in use. If this pain persists while you are at rest, then it is likely that little to no cartilage is left in the joint.
You Need Constant Support
There is no reason to use a cane or walker if your knee pain can be treated and effectively resolved. The loss of mobility can also take a significant psychological toll as many individuals feel they have lost some of their independence.
A Bowed Knee
If enough time has elapsed without proper treatment, your knee may begin to bow inward or outward. This can result in a very disfigured joint and is difficult to heal once it has progressed.
Little or No Success with Past Treatments
You may have already tried medications, injections, and physical therapy to relieve your knee pain. These methods can be helpful but will often become ineffective over time as the cartilage within the knee joint continues to deteriorate.
When you have exhausted all other options and preventative measures, it is time to talk about a knee replacement with your doctor. Not only will a knee replacement relieve your pain, but it will also improve your mobility and overall quality of life.
71-10-3901 Rev A 12.18