The knees are among the joints that are most subject to stress and wear. They move with every step and support the weight of the upper body. Temporary knee pain is common – it usually occurs because of injury or excessive stress on the joints and rest with home care is normally enough to relieve the pain. Chronic knee pain is pain that is persistent and does not go away without medical treatment. The causes of this ailment are many and commonly include, but are not limited to:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ligament and/or cartilage damage
Chronic knee pain can affect mobility and this coupled with the pain itself, can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
One of the major causes of knee problems is being overweight or obese. For every extra kilogram of excess weight, the knee joint has to absorb over 3 kilograms of excess pressure when you are walking or climbing stairs. The other main causes include:
- Advanced age
- Athletic activity or physical exercise
- Previous trauma to the knee
The symptoms of chronic knee pain vary from person to person, both in the type of pain and intensity. The most common signs include:
- A constant steady ache
- Sharp pain or burning sensation when walking
- A dull ache even when not moving
- Swelling of the knee
- Sensitivity to the extent that touching the knee is painful
Treatment for Knee Pain
The type of knee pain treatment that may be prescribed will depend on the cause of the problem. In general, the treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
If noninvasive treatment does not work, surgery will be required. There are various types of knee surgeries. These include repairing damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If the knee joint itself is damaged, then knee replacement surgery will be required.
Knee Replacement Surgery
The need for knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, will be determined by a knee replacement surgeon. Knee replacements are being done since 1968 and over the years, advancements in both surgical techniques and the materials used for the replacement joint have made great advances. Today, patients are usually allowed to return home within a week of the operation. Although this is a major surgical procedure, it is among the most common and is both safe and effective in eliminating knee pain and restoring mobility. Although knee replacement is most commonly done for patients between the ages of 50 to 80, the procedure is also often done on younger patients suffering from diseases like juvenile arthritis and on those who have suffered a serious knee injury.
Benefits of Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery will provide relief from pain and restore the mobility that was lost. This will enable the patient to return to a life that is far more active, productive, and fulfilling than before the surgery. Besides the direct benefits, post replacement people also often talk about their feeling of liberation and the positivity and creativity infused into their lives thanks to their increased mobility. The surgery also helps in improving relationships and social interactions at all levels.
If you are suffering from knee problems that are causing chronic pain, consult a knee replacement surgeon who will, after your tests and examinations are completed, advise you on whether replacement is the right course of action for your condition. Your questions about the procedure, the recovery, and your return to an active life will all be answered.