Are you currently experiencing knee pain?
As the second most common cause of chronic pain, many people deal with knee pain at some point in their life or another. So you wouldn’t be alone if you answered yes to that question.
However, generalized knee pain doesn’t last too long for most people. After a few days of rest paired with anti-inflammatory medications, the pain usually disappears and they can get back to their daily activities.
But what happens when nothing seems to alleviate your knee pain and it persists for months at a time? Are you stuck living with chronic knee pain forever?
There are both short-term fixes (like topical creams) and long-term solutions (like total knee replacement surgery) that can help.
To find out if total knee replacement surgery makes sense for you, today we’ll be going over 5 red flags you have to pay attention to when it comes to chronic knee pain.
We even have a free quiz at the end of this article to help you determine if total knee replacement surgery is right for you.
The biggest sign that your knee pain may be chronic and not generalized is how long it lasts. Let’s tackle this telltale sign first.
#1: You’ve Had Persistent Knee Pain for Anywhere from 3-6 Months
General knee pain can happen at any time and to anyone. You could feel pain after walking up several flights of stairs or outdoors playing with your grandkids.
Many people also experience general knee pain due to everyday activities like mowing the lawn, sitting or standing for too long, and even exercising.
In these instances, the pain is usually short-lived — you may experience it for a few days, but after that, it disappears and you forget all about it.
So what happens when the pain sticks around for longer than a month?
Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up. It’s also a warning that you may need a total knee replacement.
Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up.
Keep reading to see if you have any of the other common symptoms of chronic knee pain.
Or you can skip ahead and take the knee function assessment to figure out if total knee replacement surgery is right for you.
#2: Your Persistent Knee Pain Doesn’t Improve with Anti-inflammatory Medications or Using the RICE Method
When most of us experience knee pain, our go-to methods of relief usually include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve
- The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
These methods work well for anyone dealing with general knee pain. They give quick relief and can help speed up the recovery process in most cases.
Unfortunately, these methods hardly do anything when it comes to solving chronic knee pain.
You may have experienced this yourself. Have you tried both methods of relief only to find that the pain still persists?
This is another telltale sign that you’re not dealing with general knee pain and instead facing chronic knee pain.
With this, further corrective action, such as a total knee replacement, may be needed in order to sustain long-term relief.
Losing weight is also another method to help ease your knee pain… but it’s not a guarantee your pain will go away.
#3: You’ve Lost Weight and the Pain Still Persists
Excess weight can be to blame when it comes to knee pain. So, in addition to using the RICE method and anti-inflammatory medications, you may need to lose some weight in order to alleviate a bit of the pressure on your knees.
But let’s say you’re still experiencing knee pain even though you’ve successfully dropped a few pounds. Now your weight may not be the only thing to blame.
While losing weight will certainly help the situation, it’s not enough to fix things if you’re dealing with significant pain in your knees and cartilage wear-down.
So if you’ve lost weight and your pain still persists — and you’ve tried the next pain-relieving options we’ll be discussing — it may be time to consider total knee replacement surgery.
#4: You’ve Tried Physical Therapy, Exercising, & Shots With No Relief
In addition to losing weight, it’s common for people to try physical therapy and exercises specific to alleviating knee pain to feel better. You may have even tried cortisone shots when the pain was unbearable.
If you’re dealing with general knee pain these methods work well; they alleviate pain in the short term, but they’re not permanent fixes. That means these methods will only last for so long.
After a while, your relief will become shorter and shorter, which makes this another telltale sign to consider if you’re on the fence about getting a total knee replacement.
When the pain returns quicker and the window of short-term relief gets smaller, it’s a sure sign you’re dealing with chronic knee pain that should be addressed as such.
The last red flag on our list is one you should definitely not ignore.
#5: You’ve Given Up on Your Normal Daily Activities
Have you recently given up on doing important everyday activities because you’re in too much pain?
Whether that’s shopping, gardening, or even just walking around your neighborhood, if you can’t do the normal activities you’re used to doing, that’s a major red flag your knee pain is more serious than generalized pain.
You shouldn’t have to avoid doing things you love because of your knee pain. If that’s something you’re already doing, it may be time to talk to Dr. Howell about a total knee replacement.
You shouldn’t have to avoid doing things you love because of your knee pain.
If you’re still unsure by this point, there is one more method to find out if you’re a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery: Take the knee function assessment.
This free quiz will give you a series of questions to answer and then it will generate a knee score to give you an idea if you might be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery. We encourage you to take the quiz ASAP to see how you score.
The Verdict: If You’ve Answered Yes, It’s Time to Consider How Total Knee Replacement Surgery Can Help
If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of our 5 telltale signs, it’s time to consider an option that will give you long-term relief: total knee replacement surgery.
This choice is the most permanent option to remedy your chronic knee pain once and for all.
Why not take back the mobility and excitement you used to have instead of living with knee pain when you don’t have to?