Knee replacement is a surgery wherein an artificial joint is used to replace a diseased, damaged or worn out knee. This surgery is common among people who fall in the age group of 60-80, but recent trends seem to suggest that younger people are opting for this surgery as well. The lifetime of the artificial knee joint is around 20 years, provided the knee is well cared for.
Why do you need Knee Replacement?
Most common reason is “high grade osteoarthritis” due to wear and tear of the knee joint. The pre-hospital study of the Knee joint is mandatory and would decide what kind of Replacement is suitable to the patient. If there is diabetes or hypertension associated with this, then it should be controlled well before undergoing surgery. Hemoglobin of at least 10 gm% is required.
If the mobility in your knee joint is reduced leading to impaired functioning of the knee joint, then you might need a knee replacement surgery. You may experience pain while walking, sitting and, in some cases, resting as well.
Some of the common reasons why you may opt for this particular surgery are:
Knee replacement surgery is classified into:
1. Partial Knee Replacement: In this surgery, only one part of the joint is replaced.
2. Total Knee Replacement: Total knee replacement surgery involves replacement of both sides of the knee joint.
The usual hospital stay period is around 2-3 days after the surgery is completed. Initially, you will require the help of crutches to walk for at least 2 months. You may also be asked to do gentle knee strengthening exercises. It may take up to two years to recover completely from a knee replacement surgery. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a orthopedist.
Knee replacement surgery — also known as knee arthroplasty (ARTH-row-plas-tee) — can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
Why is it done?
The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to relieve severe pain caused by osteoarthritis. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have moderate or severe knee pain at rest.
The procedure begins with you being administered general anesthesia, after which, an incision of 9-12 inches is made on the knee. The part of the joint that has been damaged is gotten rid of, following which the surfaces of the bone are redesigned to hold an artificial joint. Cement is used to attach the artificial joint to the shin, knee cap and the thigh bone. Once the fitting is complete, the artificial joint is supported by the surrounding muscles.
For most people, knee replacement provides pain relief, improved mobility and a better quality of life. Consult a doctor about what you can expect from knee replacement surgery.
Three to six weeks after surgery, you generally can resume most daily activities, such as shopping and light housekeeping. Driving is also possible at around three weeks if you can bend your knee far enough to sit in a car and if you have enough muscle control to operate the brakes and accelerator.
After you've recovered, you can enjoy a variety of low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing or biking. But you should avoid higher impact activities — such as jogging, skiing, tennis and sports that involve contact or jumping. Talk to your doctor about your limitations.
The duration of the hospital stay is around 2-3 days. The effects of the surgery start becoming noticeable within a month of the surgery being carried out. Initially, you may require walking aids. It takes about 5-6 weeks to regain your ability to walk without any external or physical support.
You will have to undergo physical therapy after the surgery to improve your muscle strength. The physiotherapist may prescribe various exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knees. You need to follow certain precautions after the surgery; squatting and kneeling become certain activities which you should avoid. Avoid activities that places undue stress on the knees.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL tear is a very common problem with athletes and with people who have an active lifestyle. In fact, this can also be caused by any accident due to sudden movement.
Importance of ACL-
The ACL is the supporting ligament, which runs diagonally from back to front right in the middle of the knee, connecting the femur bone and the tibia, and helps the tibia not to come before the femur. Thus the balance of the knee during back and forth movements and the entire stability of the knee joint is secured by this very important piece of ligament.
What leads to an injury to the ACL?
Here are a few actions that may result in a ligament tear.
Sudden stopping while running or slowing down from a fast speed
Sudden change in direction
Uncontrolled jumping from a height
Direct hitting with an object or person
What happens when the ACL is torn?
If the ACL is torn, the stability of your knee is gone, and you feel as if you have no control over the joint. Moreover, it causes extreme pain and instant swelling. Swelling usually appears within 24 hours of the injury.
Treatment of ACL Injury-
Recovery from an ACL tear is possible only after a surgery. Without surgery, the affected will not be able to return to sports or athletics, or may not be able to run and make swift movements again as before. However, to avoid surgery, there are non-invasive treatments for the aged and people who require moving less.
Non-invasive Treatment: Bracing is one treatment where braces are given to support the knee joint during movement and also to avoid further injury. This is effective for the elderly who need minimum movement and may manage daily activities with a braced knee. Also, crutches add to the support and let the weaker knee get rest. This is followed by physical therapy. But the swelling has to reduce before starting it. Many exercises and controlled movements over a long time help in getting back agility in movement gradually.