Signs you may need a knee replacement

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You may have seen in this month's news a story about a revolutionary method for knee replacement surgery. The Navio system robot uses 3D infra-red to help ensure that the artificial knee joints are positioned as accurately as possible by the orthopaedic surgeons.

Knee replacements are carried out on people who have suffered damage to their knee joint. There are many causes including osteoarthritis, gout, injury and rheumatoid arthritis. According to the charity Arthritis Research UK, around 70,000 knee joint replacements are carried out in the UK each year. But how do you know if you may require a new knee joint?



It may seem like stating the obvious, but knee pain could indicate there is a problem with your knee joint. However hip joint problems can sometimes be experienced as knee pain. So, if your pain persists you should go to your doctor to get properly examined and to clarify the true source. 

You may find that your pain can be managed with simple measures such as heat packs and prescribed or over-the- counter pain killers. Remember that your ability to manage your knee pain in this way should not preclude a visit to your doctor for knee pain that is becoming chronic.



We often put stiffness down to a normal part of getting older. However, if your knee is painful and stiff this could indicate the presence of knee joint damage. At your doctor's appointment talk about the impact that the stiffness and knee pain is having on your life, as this will be an important red flag for the possibility of surgery.



This is an interesting one. It can be quite hard to identify and to explain. You may notice that when you go up and downstairs for example, that you are not confident your knee will support you. This is instability and could lead to falls.


Loss of Function and Quality of Life

When pain, stiffness and instability of your knee joint is beginning to impact on your daily life, it is definitely time to seek medical advice. It may be that knee replacement surgery can help you regain your life, freeing you to enjoy the activities that make your life meaningful. 


Non-surgical options are no longer assisting

Surgery should be your last option. There are a number of effective non-surgical treatments or life-style modifications which may mean that surgery is never required. If these alternatives fail to relieve, or stop offering relief, then surgery can be considered.


What is involved with knee replacement surgery?

There are several surgical options which entail replacing part or your entire knee joint with artificial components that operate in the same way as your own knee. Your experienced orthopaedic surgeon will advise you what procedure is best to address your particular problems. 

The time spent in theatre will be around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the procedure you are having. Your recovery will depend on various factors which include your overall general health, your muscle strength and your ability to engage in rehabilitation exercises.


What does the future hold after knee replacement surgery?

The whole point of undergoing knee replacement surgery is to relieve pain and stiffness, improve your mobility and to get you back to living your life. Most people who have had a total knee replacement can be comfortable that their new prosthetic knee joint will last around 20 years. For those with a partial replacement, that period could be reduced by half.

Ultimately the best advice is this: if you are concerned that you may need a knee joint replaced, you should seek qualified and experienced medical advice sooner rather than later. For, there is some evidence to show that recovery and outcomes after surgery are better if you receive a replacement before your knee joint becomes too deformed and immobile.


About Ramsay Health Care

At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment for your knee pain.At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment or for your knee replacement surgery. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Private Patient Pledge offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.

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