What causes patients to require knee replacements?

knee injectionThere are many reasons they patients are recommended knee replacements, but the most common are arthritis or knee deformities.

Arthritis

There are three main culprits when it comes to arthritis and knee problems, these are post-traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Post-traumatic arthritis occurs when the knee has been subjected to external trauma, such as a break or fracture to the bone, or perhaps ligament tearing. Following the trauma the knee often becomes inflamed and this can have a negative impact on the alignment of the different components inside the knee. Over time, this can result in damage to the cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint disease, and results from the cartilage rubbing together unnaturally, causing friction around the joint. This is painful and can restrict movement, and will usually need medical intervention to reify the problem in the longer term.

Finally, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies some of its own mechanisms for enemy cells, and attacks them. In this case, the immune system targets the membranes that line the knee joints, resulting in inflammation, pain and restricted mobility. Eventually this will destroy the joint.

Knee deformities

The other common reason that knee replacements are required is when the knee (or sometimes both knees) are subject to deformities such as bowed legs (whereby the legs bend out unnaturally) or knock-knees (where they bend inwards and rub together).

Over time, the unnatural angle of conditions such as these causes stress on the joints and results in excess wear and tear of the cartilage. This can be painful and exacerbate the mobility restrictions. Knee surgery can offer a solution to target the source of the problem and the resulting pain.

Next steps

If you have been advised that a complete knee replacement is the best route to go down, then be reassured to know that it is one of the most common types of joint replacement surgery, and one that surgeons have been practicing for decades.

The operation itself involves removing the original joint (or parts of it) and replacing the components that have been worn out with replacement parts that are artificially created.

To find out more, contact Birmingham knee surgeon Mr Manoij Sikand who will talk you through all the different options available and help you make the most informed decision about the next steps to take.