When your knee joint becomes worn or damaged, you might feel a lot of pain, and moving can become much more difficult. When this happens, you might need a knee replacement.
The most common reason for needing a knee replacement is osteoarthritis. This is when the cartilage inside your knee joint gets worn away through wear and tear and causes the bones to rub against each other.
Other conditions that can cause knee damage include:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- haemophilia (a condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot)
- gout (a type of arthritis)
- disorders that cause unusual bone growth
- death of bone in the knee following blood supply problems
- knee injury
A knee replacement involves replacing a damaged joint with an artificial one. It’s an extremely successful and common operation, with thousands performed in the UK each year. The surgeons at our Knee Clinic are all senior consultants who regularly perform knee replacements. They’ll be able to advise you on the most suitable procedure for your condition, age and activity levels.
Total knee replacement
If you have arthritis or a knee condition that is severe and affects the whole knee, a total knee replacement might be the best option for you.
In a total knee replacement, both the inner and outer surfaces of your thigh bone and shin bone are replaced. The operation may or may not include the knee cap.
This operation usually involves four to five nights in hospital. With the keyhole surgeries done nowadays, most people are able to stand the day after the operation and can begin physio straight away.
After a knee replacement, you’ll find that your range of motion will be much greater and your pain should be very much reduced.
Once you’re discharged, you’ll need to use a frame or crutches at first and also continue with the exercises taught to you by our physiotherapists. These exercises will help strengthen your knee, so it’s important to keep doing these as part of your daily routine.
Most people can stop using walking aids around 6 weeks after surgery, and start driving after 6 to 8 weeks.
Partial knee replacements
Some people will only need a partial knee replacement. In these cases, only a small amount of worn cartilage and underlying bone will need to be removed. This is then replaced with a specially designed implant.
This can be a good option because:
- Your hospital stay will be shorter
- Your rehab time will be reduced
- There is less injury to the muscles that surround the knee
After a partial knee replacement, you’ll usually spend one or two nights in hospital and you’ll need to use crutches or a frame for around 3 to 4 weeks.