From Osteoarthritis to Knee Replacement Surgery

Senior life can be an active life with high quality of living. If you are experiencing osteoarthritis in your knees, with pain, stiff knees or swelling in the area of the knees, don’t stop moving.  The movement will keep your muscles healthier than if you become sedentary. Doctors advise people to stay moving in spite of the pain.

Researchers under the Netherlands Institute of Health Services, observed the muscles of people who had osteoarthritis. They compared people who avoided activity, to those continued with their activities or rested and then continued with their activities. They discovered that people who avoided activity were more likely to wind up disabled. The long term physical state of those who avoided physical activity showed deterioration. What was most noticeable was the muscle weakness.

Bear this in mind as you read on.

Knee Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is bottom of the list when it comes to options to gain or regain healthy knees. But sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any other option. You don’t want to become a sedentary senior. You want to keep the muscles in your entire body healthy by keeping active. If your knees are holding you back from being active, look for solutions (and read our article on knee-care tips).

Options for relief from osteoarthritis in the knees before considering surgery include:

  • Taking oral medications such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), either over the counter or by prescription.
  • Weight loss (read this article for ideas)
  • Rubbing in to the skin creams or ointments
  • A variety of injections that can provide relief for several weeks to several months
  • Exercise, and there are lots of different types to choose from!
  • Physical therapy (read our article on knee-care tips)
  • Osteotomy is a method used for the under 60’s where the bone of the leg is re-aligned so that weight is redirected to a healthier part of the leg. This method cannot be used for anyone who has inflammatory arthritis.
  • Arthroscopic surgery, known as a semi-invasive surgery. A surgeon would use a very small camera to examine the inside of the joint and clean out damaged fragments and natural debris, which pieces might have been causing the pain. This option helps for a limited number of problems. It is useful if you are seeking to delay more invasive surgery such as knee replacement surgery.

If you tried all the above options and are still in considerable pain and suffering from reduced movement, the surgeon might recommend partial or whole knee replacement. The surgeon replaces damaged parts of the knee with artificial parts made from plastic and metal. This option is usually recommended for over 50’s.

We look at knee replacement surgery as a last resort, however it might be a way to achieve lasting relief. Recovery for knee replacement usually begins from 3-6 weeks after surgery and gradually after post-surgery rehab, you would be able to enjoy activities such as walking, swimming and even riding a bicycle.

Knee replacement surgery? You could a the senior on a hike like this!