It is still possible to have arthritis after knee replacement surgery. However, people who need the surgery are less likely to experience pain from arthritis after they recover from the procedure.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis that affects the joints, particularly the knee joints. The cartilage that supports the knees wears down, causing the bones to rub against each other. As a result, it causes severe pain and stiffness.
This condition tends to occur in people over 50 years old. There is currently no cure for arthritis, and symptoms worsen with time.
Doctors will recommend surgery when a person does not respond to conservative treatment methods, such as medications and physical therapy. While a joint replacement helps a person experience less pain, they may still have arthritis postsurgery.
This article explores the relationship between knee replacement surgery and arthritis, including the benefits and disadvantages of the operation, as well as management tips for arthritis.
According to the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR), there were 995,410 total and 51,114 partial knee arthroplasty operations in 2020.
Total knee replacement surgery — replacing the entire joint — is often a solution for people with end-stage OA in the knee. A 2017 study found OA to be the reason behind
Knee replacement causes significant pain relief and increases mobility for most people. However, it is important to note that the procedure is not a permanent cure.
A knee replacement surgery replaces the surface of the bones in the knee.
There are four main stages that a surgeon will follow to perform a knee replacement:
- Prepare the bone by removing cartilage and bone from the necessary areas.
- Use metal components to replace the cartilage and bone.
- Cut the kneecap’s underside and use plastic to resurface it.
- Insert a plastic spacer between the metal components to enable them to move across each other.
A knee replacement is not a complete cure for OA. However, the aim is to increase motion in the knee.
Most people with the procedure can straighten the knee to almost its full extent and bend it enough to go up stairs without difficulty. This improved movement may also mean a person can resume activities.
The procedure offers pain relief and can correct some of the damage that results from arthritis.
As replacement surgery is not a cure for arthritis, around
Other possible complications that can arise following knee replacement surgery
- surface-level or a deeper infection
- deep vein thrombosis, or blood clot
- pulmonary embolism
- vascular injury
- nerve injury
- osteolysis, or bone degeneration
If a person has knee replacement surgery, they should protect the area to maximize the chances of a successful outcome. This includes:
- avoiding falls, where possible
- undertaking light exercise
- attending follow-up examinations with doctors
After recovering from the procedure, people will need to continue to manage their arthritis by:
- maintaining a moderate weight
- exercising regularly
- taking medications if a doctor prescribes them
A person can improve knee function and reduce pain by restoring strength and flexibility.
Conservative treatment options for arthritis in the knee vary between individuals. However, it often
- maintaining a moderate weight
- using a knee brace
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications
- modifying activity, where necessary
- physical therapy
- having an intra-articular steroid injection
- radiofrequency ablation
A knee replacement surgery does not cure arthritis. However, it can offer pain relief.
If a person has partial knee replacement surgery, they may need another operation to replace the other side of the knee.
A total knee arthroplasty replaces the whole surface of the knee in one go. However, people sometimes require revision surgery.
Revision surgery is often longer and more complex than the original knee replacement surgery. Younger people with knee arthroplasty operations are twice as likely to require revision surgery as older people due to increased activity and as they have the replacement for longer.
A knee replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces either part of or the whole surface of the knee. People may require the procedure for different reasons. However, it is usually in response to arthritis.
A knee replacement surgery can restore movement in the knee and offer relief. However, it is not a cure for arthritis, and many people continue to experience chronic pain after they have the surgery.
To maximize the chances of effective recovery, people should perform light exercise to restore strength and flexibility in the knee, maintain moderate body weight, and take any medications a doctor prescribes.