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First of all let us be very clear, we are not encouraging anyone to get a knee replacement who doesn’t need one! That being said, we are finding that there are a lot of negative things written about this surgery and we want to help balance this out by providing some research-based benefits of knee replacements. A knee replacement is a safe and effective surgery and we wanted to share some benefits of this surgery. If you’re thinking about getting a knee replacement you probably have a few questions about what you can expect. Getting a knee replacement has let millions of people get back to doing the things they love pain free. We have written a great blog about some of the factors that indicate that you may need a knee repalcement. We have also written a blog about the recovery timeline after a knee repalcement. While a knee replacement can be a scary procedure to undergo, it is worth keeping the benefits in mind to stay motivated through the recovery process. Here are the top three benefits of a knee replacement.
1. In over 90% of people, pain levels and mobility improve significantly after surgery.
Pain is the most common reason that people get a knee replacement. Getting a knee replacement will improve most people's pain levels dramatically. While some people continue to have pain after a knee replacement most people report no difference in pain between their artificial knee and their healthy one. Often this change in pain levels is noticeable quite soon after surgery with people reporting low pain levels just 3 months after surgery. Pain after surgery is quite common and you should expect to feel pain for the first two to three months after surgery. Also keep in mind that some people continue to experience pain for more than three months after a total knee repalcement. Here is a blog about the typical experience of pain after a knee repalcement. And if you need a physical therapy app to help you with video-guided daily exercises either before or after a knee replacement check out the Curovate webiste.
2. A knee replacement can let you get back to the physical activities that you did before your knee repalcement
One of the best parts about getting a knee replacement is being able to get back to the activities that you enjoyed before knee pain stopped you. People who get a knee replacement are often able to get back to many types of sports and activities like golf, swimming, and dancing. If you have prior experience in sports like skiing, tennis, or canoeing you can also try getting back to those with some guidance from your healthcare provider. This blog provides a full list of sports and activities that are recommneded after a knee replacement, those activites that are not recommended after a knee replacement and some which do not have enough information to make a recommendation. Activities like running or basketball are decidedly not recommended. Things that involve a lot of jumping are not going to be things you want to do for the health of your replaced knee. If you have specific questions about a sport or activity that is not listed in the blog above ask your healthcare provider.
People often find themselves getting more and more sedentary as their knee pain progresses. A knee replacement allows you to get more active which has myriad benefits which bears repeating: helps prevent chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease), improves brain health, less risk of falls (better balance), and boosts mood. One thing to keep in mind about returning to previous activites is that it is important to consider how long it has been since you were able to do a particluar activty. For example, if it has been five years since you played gold due to knee pain, it will be much more challenging to return to golf after a knee replacement than if it has only been one year.
3. Knee Replacements are a very safe surgery
Knee replacements are a very well understood surgery. The first modern knee replacement took place in 1968 and millions of people undergo a knee replacement every year. Since 1968 advancements have been made in materials, process, and rehabilitation. In Canada alone 75,000 knee replacement surgeries are undertaken every year and in the US that number is almost 1 million. This is a routine surgery for hospitals and the doctors performing it. With how often knee replacements are performed there is also a lot of research about the long term outcomes for people. The research overall has shown that less than 2% of patients have severe complications associated with the joint and an even smaller risk with other surgery associated complications like a heart attack or stroke. In addition to the low risk of severe complications there’s also only a 6.9% rate of revision surgeries. This is compared to the “2 or 3 out of 10 patients that develop complications after an elective surgical procedure." Part of the reason that knee replacements are so safe is that it is a relatively simple surgery and the mechanics of the knee joint can be replicated well. Other joint replacements can involve more complicated processes like flipping the ball and socket of the joint whereas the requirements of the knee joint are easier to meet with artificial joints.
If you are experiencing serious knee pain that is getting in the way of the things you would like to do it is worth talking to a doctor to find out if a knee replacement is right for you. For a lot of people getting a new knee can dramatically improve their life. It lets people get back to day to day activities without pain and can let people get back to the sports and activities they love. If you are nervous, take some confidence in the rigorous study that has been done on the outcomes of knee replacements. The road back from a knee replacement isn’t the easiest but if you’re looking for help staying on track with your rehab use the Curovate App to assist you. Curovate is a physical therapy app that is designed by a physical therapist to help people get back to doing the things they love after a serious injury or surgery like a knee replacement. Download the app now from the links below.
If you need further customized assistance before a knee replacement or after a knee replacement check out our Virtual Physical Therapy page to book your 1-on-1 video session with a physical therapist.
Other recommended blogs
- Can I Kneel After a Knee Replacement?
- What is the Recovery Timeline for a Total Knee Replacement?
- How Can I Relieve Pain After my Total Knee Replacement?
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