How To Tell When It’s Time for a Total Knee Replacement

Are you wondering if a total knee replacement is right for you?

While generalized knee pain can be, well, a huge pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for a total knee replacement.

But that leads to a bigger question: How can you tell when you’re at the point of actually needing total knee replacement surgery?

Luckily, there are a few specific questions that can point you in the right direction. And we’ll be going over all of them today.

If you answer “yes” to more than half of these questions, you may be a prime candidate for a total knee replacement.

You can also take our knee function assessment once you’re finished reading this guide to confirm whether a total knee replacement may be in your near future.

 

 

For now, try to answer these five questions to help you shed more light on the right choice.

 

#1: How long have you felt this knee pain?

Think back to the first time you experienced your knee pain.

How long ago was that?

Generalized knee pain can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re headed for a total knee replacement.

For you to be at that point, your knee pain needs to be persistent, lasting anywhere from 3-6 months at a minimum.

On top of that, you’ll want to ask yourself this next question:

 

#2: Does the pain get better after using anti-inflammatory medicines or Tylenol?

If your knee pain responds well to anti-inflammatory medications or Tylenol, you could be dealing with a bout of inflammation and not something bigger.

And if that’s the case, a total knee replacement would not be right for you.

On the other hand, if these medicines do little to nothing to alleviate your pain, and the pain has lasted for several months now, you may be heading towards a total knee replacement.

Answering this next question helps to see if you need to alleviate some of the pressure on your knees to feel less knee pain.

 

#3: Have you tried losing weight?

Even a little bit of excess weight is enough to cause generalized knee pain.

However, if you’re able to lose some of that weight, you may find that your knee pain disappears along with the extra pounds. This is a good sign that you don’t need a total knee replacement.

But if your knee pain is more serious, losing weight won’t be enough to reduce or eliminate your pain.

Because of that, if you’ve tried losing weight and your knee pain is still hanging around, it could be something more, such as needing a knee replacement.

 

#4: Have you tried exercising, physical therapy, or anti-inflammatory shots?

Your doctor may have already suggested that you try exercising or physical therapy to alleviate your knee pain.

If you start to see an improvement after trying one (or both) of these routes, this is another good sign that you don’t need a total knee replacement.

Conversely, if you’re still experiencing discomfort, you may need to take the next step.

In many cases, this could be as simple as your doctor giving you a cortisone shot as a temporary solution.

Again, if this alleviates your knee pain, no further action may be required right now.

But if you’re still in pain, or you answer yes to this next question, you may have your final answer.

 

#5: Have you given up on your daily activities?

Are you in so much pain that you’ve given up the daily activities you used to have no trouble doing?

If a simple trip to the grocery store sounds daunting and painful or you’re unable to do things you’re used to doing (such as gardening or mowing the lawn), your answer may be clear: it’s time to consider a total knee replacement.

 

Do you need a total knee replacement?

While our guide isn’t meant to completely diagnose you, it can help you gauge whether a total knee replacement is right for you. Answer the questions in today’s article honestly and you should have more direction.

In short, it’s time to seriously consider undergoing a total knee replacement if your knee pain is persistent (lasting anywhere from 3-6 months), the pain does not get better with anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss, or cortisone shots, and it’s forcing you to stop your normal, routine activities.

Fortunately, Dr. Stephen Howell and his team of experts can help you get started today!

And if you’re still on the fence, consider taking our free quiz the knee function assessment to find out more.

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