When Is It Time to Consider Knee Replacement Surgery?

May 7th 2016

Other Treatments Failed

Knee pain is common in older adults and younger people who have experienced severe injury or some chronic illnesses. As a result, there are many non-surgical interventions that can help you maintain your quality of life. Medications, including nonhabit-forming over-the-counter drugs such as Advil or Tylenol, can be effective in controlling moderate knee pain.

Some people also have success with moderating their activities. Instead of long, strenuous physical efforts, consider breaking strenuous chores or hobbies into smaller pieces and resting between the periods of activity. Assistive devices, such as canes, can also help you keep the weight off your bad knee and make it through long days.

Physical therapy is also an often-ignored remedy for knee pain. Strengthening the tendons, ligaments and muscles that support your knee can help alleviate even chronic pain. If all these methods fail, however, it may be time to consider knee replacement.

Pain Severely Affects Your Life

Some degree of chronic pain is a normal part of aging for many people. Minor aches, pains and twinges happen, especially during or after exercise. However, if your knee pain is causing you to avoid even normal daily activities, it may be time to talk to your doctor about knee replacement surgery.

Another sign that it may be time to consider knee replacement is when your knee pain begins to affect your sleep, especially on a regular basis. Many people find themselves unable to get comfortable due to chronic pain and lose sleep because of it.

Physical Changes

If you begin to suffer chronic swelling or discoloration of your knee, talk to your doctor. This may be an indication that changes in the joint are causing damage to the surrounding tissues. Inflammation is also often painful and may increase your discomfort.

Some people also begin to notice deformities in their bone structure, such as bony growths on the side of the knee or the development of a bow-legged look. If you notice these types of changes, it may be time to undergo knee replacement surgery.


Knee replacement surgery is becoming more common, and modern medical techniques have made it more successful and easier to recover from than ever. While it used to be a last-ditch resort for people in the last stages of osteoarthritis, some patients are now choosing to get it earlier. However, despite these advances, it is still a major surgery and not without risks. How do you know if you're ready to talk to your doctor about knee replacement surgery?

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