4 signs you need a knee replacement

Is a bad knee getting in the way of the things you love? Mr Peter Gallacher, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital, reveals four signs you may need a new one.

Knee osteoarthritis develops over time and can sneak up on you. When you do begin to experience symptoms, much of the damage may already be done. Here are some signs you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Pain points

Pain with activity.

Knee pain manifests in many ways. Pain that comes on with activity and limits what you can do is a clear signal to seek help.

Delayed pain.

Pain doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks to be serious. Pain that comes on after activity, also known as ‘payback pain’, can be a warning that your knee isn’t performing as it should.

Pain that interrupts sleep.

If you find knee pain prevents you from falling asleep or you wake up because of pain caused by your movements during sleep – talk to someone about it.

2. Visual changes

The way your knee looks can be just as important as the way it feels. Changes in the appearance of your knee can be a sign of inflammation. If your leg swells, or looks markedly different from the other then it may be time to speak with a specialist.

3. Limited movement

Difficulty sitting down in a low seat such as in a car or cinema because your knee refuses to bend is a common sign of osteoarthritis. Seizing or catching of the joint during movement can also indicate advanced deterioration or that a loose bone fragment has become lodged in the joint.

4. Lifestyle limitations

It doesn’t matter if you want to climb a mountain or simply prune the garden - any symptom that prevents or limits your ability to do the things you love is cause for concern. With a little help, a bad knee doesn’t have to impact your quality of life.

Most knee problems don’t require a full knee replacement. There are a number of treatments available, including physiotherapy and medication, which may better address your symptoms.


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Last updated Wednesday 26 February 2020