September 01, 2017

Total knee replacement

Regaining mobility

Total knee replacement

The arthritis-related pain in your knees has steadily worsened over the years. Now, walking even a few blocks is almost unbearable, getting out of a chair causes you to wince, and your knees have a dull ache, even in bed.

It's time to discuss your knee pain with your doctor. When it comes to knee arthritis, it's best to optimize nonsurgical pain relief steps and get full mileage out of your natural knees. However, knee replacement may be an important option when these pain-relieving options are no longer working.

About 700,000 knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year — a number that's on the rise. If you're in reasonably good health, there's no age limit for knee replacement. Older adults in their 70s, 80s and beyond can successfully receive new knees.

Grinding away

Normally, joint surfaces in your knees are covered by a smooth, cushiony substance (cartilage). Two rounded pieces of thick, rubbery cartilage called the menisci provide cushioning of bone ends in the joint. A thin tissue lining (synovium) also covers some joint surfaces and releases a fluid that lubricates the knee. This allows the ends of your leg bones — and the underside of your kneecap — to move against each other in a smooth, nearly frictionless manner.

Osteoarthritis, due to the wear and tear that occurs mostly with age, rheumatoid arthritis — which is immune related — and injury can all cause deterioration or deformity of the knee joint. Over 95 percent of...