knee joint and muscle illustration

Are you or a loved one suffering from persistent knee pain? It’s a common problem, especially when dealing with an injury or even chronic pain due to an underlying issue.

About one-third of the U.S. population has reported encountering knee discomfort. Knee pain frequently stems from excessive pressure placed on the knee joint. 

Have you ever wondered about the ideal age for knee replacement surgery or what factors determine the right time to consider knee replacement? Travis Clegg, M.D., Orthopedic Surgery, is here to help you understand factors to consider when contemplating knee replacement, the signs and symptoms, the potential risks and benefits, and the optimal age for a knee replacement. 

What is Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to replace the damaged or worn-out portions of the knee joint with artificial implants made of metals, ceramics, or high-grade plastics and polymers. 

This procedure aids in alleviating pain, improving knee function, and restoring your independence of movement.

How to Know When It’s Time for Knee Replacement

Recognizing the signs that it’s time for a knee replacement is crucial. Here are common indicators:

  • Persistent or recurring pain in and around the knee joint
  • Increasing pain, discomfort, and immobility stem from a previous knee injury
  • Difficulty with exercises or daily activities
  • Pain and stiffness related to physical activity
  • Limited mobility hinders routine tasks
  • Sleep disruptions due to knee pain
  • Noticeable changes in the knee joint

Recovery Timeline for Total Knee Replacement 

Recovery following knee replacement surgery typically spans 12 weeks. However, many individuals walk without assistive devices as early as one week  post-surgery and resume driving activities between 2-4 weeks

Post-total knee replacement (TKR) surgery, the journey toward recovery and rehabilitation is crucial for regaining mobility and returning to an active lifestyle. Given the variability in surgical protocols among different surgeons and the unique nature of each individual’s recovery, this article provides a general overview of the rehabilitation timeline.

The initial 12 weeks post-surgery serve as a pivotal period for recovery and rehabilitation. Dedication to a personalized plan and the motivation to engage in daily activities can accelerate the healing process and enhance the likelihood of long-term success.

What are the Risks and Benefits of Knee Replacement?

Understanding the potential risks and benefits of knee replacement is essential:

Risks to Consider with Knee Replacement Surgery 

According to UW Medicine, most studies show that 90 to 95 percent of total knee replacement surgeries are a success and still work well even ten years after surgery. 

Before you consider surgery, take a look at some of the associated risks, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Dislocation after surgery
  • The possibility of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots
  • Infections
  • Leg length discrepancies
  • General wear and tear

Dr. Clegg advises that being aware of these risks and taking preventative measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight and staying active, can help minimize complications.

Benefits of Knee Replacement 

The advantages of knee replacement surgery can be life-changing, offering pain relief, improved strength and mobility, long-lasting results, and an enhanced quality of life. Patients often regain their independence and ability to do the things they love.

What is the Ideal Age for Knee Replacement Surgery?

senior aged couple doing yoga stretchesTraditionally, knee replacements are more common in the age group around 50-80 years.  This is because artificial joints typically last about 20-30 years, and undergoing the procedure earlier may necessitate a second replacement. 

It is possible to have knee replacement surgery at an earlier age in certain circumstances.

As orthopedic specialists now see more younger patients with knee problems, such as severe arthritis or joint issues, there’s no defined age limit for the surgery. Dr. Clegg states, “The decision is based on factors like the severity of pain, disability, and overall health, not just age.” Discuss your options and suitability with your orthopedic doctor to make an informed decision.

Other Factors to Consider

Your orthopedic doctor evaluates various factors before recommending surgery. These include:

  • Experiencing knee pain even at rest
  • Limited ability to perform daily activities
  • Severe deformity of the knee joint
  • Advanced joint deterioration, such as due to degenerative joint diseases like arthritis
  • Ineffectiveness of non-surgical treatments like medications, injections, and physical therapy

Whether you’re in your 50s, 60s, or beyond, if knee pain impacts your daily life and you meet the necessary criteria, knee replacement surgery may be the best option. If you’re experiencing knee pain or have questions about knee replacement, schedule an appointment with Dr.Clegg. Take the first step towards a pain-free, active life.