Total Knee Replacement

Who is this operation for?

A Total Knee Replacement is for patients who have severe pain and stiffness in the hip.

You may benefit from knee replacement surgery, if:

  • Your knee pain is severe.
  • It limits your movements and activities such as walking and climbing stairs.
  • It affects your ability to look after yourself such as showering or putting on shoes.
  • The pain is present at night and at rest.
  • You have tried non-surgical alternatives without success.

The most common cause of knee pain leading to a knee replacement is osteoarthritis. This is also known as 'wear and tear'. Other causes include:

(follow the links for more information on these conditions)

Diagram of a knee with Osteoarthritis
Diagram of a knee with Osteoarthritis

What are the alternatives to surgery

Surgery may be necessary if your symptoms are severe. There are however some alternatives to surgery which may help with the symptoms caused by the knee problem. These include:

Pain killers – such as paracetamol.
Anti-inflammatories – these medications can be harmful if used long term and you should discuss the use of these medications with your doctor before starting.
Physical aids – such as walking sticks or frames.
Physiotherapy – exercises to improve muscle strength may help with mobility and reduce pain.
Weight loss – being over weight can make your knee pain worse. Loosing weight can help reduce pain and also lead to better results if you have the operation.

What are the benefits of the operation?

A knee joint replacement is usually a very succesful operation and will help to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Improve mobility: You should be able to move about more freely after your knee operation.
  • Improve your quality of life: With less pain and better mobility, you be able to carry out your daily tasks more easily.
A Xray of the Right Knee showing Osteoarthritis
A Xray of the Right Knee showing Osteoarthritis
A Xray of the Right Knee showing normal anatomy
A Xray of the Right Knee showing normal anatomy

What can you expect to be able to do after a hip joint replacement?

It is important to understand what a knee replacement can and cannot do before deciding to have the operation.

After the knee replacement operation, most patients are able to return to gentle exercise such as:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Dancing
  • Bike riding (gentle riding)

High impact sports are not recommended after a knee replacement. These activities can place too much stress on the knee and lead to early wear and tear of the knee replacement. High impact sports which are not recommended include:

  • Running
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Martial arts
  • Squash
  • Water skiing / down hill skiing



18 April, 2014