Knee Joint Replacement

If you’re considering knee replacement surgery, you’ve probably been living with knee pain for far too long.

Minor aches and pains can be a normal part of aging. But for some people, knee pain and stiffness becomes intolerable. If you have trouble walking, climbing stairs or getting restful sleep, or had a knee injury, knee replacement surgery may help where other treatments have failed.

Understanding the Knee Joint

Your knee is a large, complex joint. It lets you bend your legs and can withstand forces up to eight times your body weight when you run or squat down to pick something up.

Three bones make up your knee joint: the bottom of your thigh, the top of your shin and your kneecap. A layer of slippery tissue called cartilage covers the ends of these bones so they glide against each other.

Causes of Knee Pain

People can have knee pain for several reasons:

  • Joint degeneration occurs when cartilage wears away over time, due to normal wear-and-tear.
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis cause joint inflammation and can speed up cartilage loss. As cartilage disappears, leaving bone to rub against bone, we feel pain, stiffness and swelling.
  • Long-term damage from a knee injury such as a knee fracture or dislocation. Your knee is vulnerable to injury because it absorbs so much force. Serious injuries can make your knee more prone to arthritis later in life.

Mild knee pain may be managed with medication, physical therapy or walking aids that support your weight (like a cane). But if your pain gets worse, it can interfere with normal activity. You may have trouble standing up, getting in and out of a car or walking short distances.

About Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery “resurfaces” one or more of the bones that make up your knee joint. The damaged cartilage is removed and your bones are capped with metal or plastic parts (sometimes called a prosthesis or implant).

After surgery recovery most patients report little or no pain, and improved mobility. And thanks to modern design and materials, today’s implants may last 10-20 years before needing replacement.

Knee Replacement Surgery at Mercy

Mercy’s orthopedic surgeons have helped thousands of patients like with knee replacement procedures that include:

  • Partial knee replacement resurfaces only one part of the joint. It may be an option if you still have some healthy tissue and bone in your knee.
  • Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, resurfaces all three bones in your knee joint.
  • Joint revision surgery replaces implants that have become loose, damaged, infected or worn out.

If knee pain or knee injury is taking away your mobility and independence, talk to your Mercy physician about your treatment options. Together we’ll get you back on your feet, and back to your old self.

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