Signs you need knee replacement surgery

If you’ve had knee pain for a long time, you may have gotten used to living with the discomfort. But when you have knee damage, everyday activities such as walking or even picking something up off the floor can be excruciating. The good news: you don’t have to live this way. How do you know if surgery is the right option? Consider these signs that it’s time for a knee replacement.

  1. Physical therapy isn’t working

    Physical therapy works well for many patients as a non-invasive strategy to decrease knee pain. During sessions, a physical therapist works with you to improve range of motion, flexibility and strength. However, if you’ve been going to physical therapy for more than eight weeks with no improvement—and you have been doing your therapy exercises at home as prescribed—surgery may be the next step.

  2. Medications don’t help

    For some people, medications can stave off pain for a long time. Whether you use over-the-counter drugs or prescription pain relievers, medication may significantly decrease your knee pain. However, some people may not want to deal with the side effects of medicine, such as sleepiness or appetite changes. Especially if a medication isn’t bringing you as much relief as you want, you may want to explore other treatment options.

  3. Rest doesn’t bring relief

    If you spend a day working in the yard or out hiking, your knee may get more irritated or swollen than usual. However, if your pain doesn’t improve even after resting, you may want to consider surgery. Usually, giving your knee a rest will help decrease discomfort. If it doesn’t, or if you’re waking up with knee pain, a knee replacement may be the right treatment.

  4. Pain is impacting your mood

    Have you noticed that your pain is making you moody, irritable or impatient with others? It’s normal for chronic pain to impact your mood. But it doesn’t have to affect your relationships. If knee pain is making you depressed or grumpy, it may be a sign that it’s time for surgery.

  5. Your pain interferes with your life

    Getting out of bed in the morning or carrying the laundry basket to the washing machine shouldn’t cause excruciating pain. The most significant thing that surgery can bring you is a return to your everyday activities. If knee pain is keeping you from routine tasks, surgery can most likely improve your overall quality of life.

When to talk to a doctor

Most treatments for knee pain last only a few hours or months. Knee replacement surgery, however, can last for decades. In fact, up to 85% of knee replacements last for 20 years or longer.

You don’t have to live with chronic knee pain. For most people who have knee replacements done, the procedure can offer immediate pain relief, increase your mobility and improve your quality of life. Adventist Health Simi Valley orthopedic surgeons are among the most qualified and experienced in the field of orthopedic surgery, and they’ve mastered the art and science of knee joint replacement surgery.

Virtual visits with orthopedics

Select patients can see our providers online from their home or office by using our Virtual Visit platform. This service allows you a fast, secure and easy way to receive care from the healthcare team in a live virtual visit using your phone or computer. The benefits of choosing a virtual visit include no travel or parking, less waiting, significant time savings and the convenience of seeing your physician from wherever you choose. Learn more

We’re with you every step of the way

If you have any of the symptoms above and think you may be a good candidate, call our nurse navigator Kathryn Harada today. Kathryn brings a passion for helping patients get back to moving without pain. She brings together the entire care team to ensure you have the best possible experience before, during and after surgery. To speak with Kathryn about developing your personalized care plan, call (805) 955-6233 or fill out the form below.

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Kathryn Harada, BSN, BA, RN, PHN, CNOR


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