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Total Knee Replacement

If the answer is yes, then let’s explore the following. Has your doctor or a surgeon also told you that you have arthritis, have had one or multiple injuries to the knee joint, are favouring one side when walking and doing activities, lack in muscle strength to support the joint, should lose weight to prevent further damaging or to be able to get the replacement done? Most likely the answer is yes to one or more of these points which are most common reasons for need of a total knee replacement.

The procedure involves replacing the damaged surfaces of the knee joint, such as articular cartilage and meniscus, with artificial ones made of metal and plastic. Arthritis, as a major cause of total knee replacements can be divided in three different types based on nature and causation of the damage.

  1. Osteoarthritis: degenerative joint disease commonly referred to as “wear and tear” which occurs when articular surface, cartilage, between femur and tibia is damaged and does not provide enough lubrication to the joint for a smooth pain- free movement.
  2. Rheumatoid: inflammation of synovial membrane resulting in excessive synovial fluid build- up which limit joint mobility and fluidity.
  3. Traumatic arthritis due to injury while walking, stepping or most commonly while playing sport. The damage causes pain and inflammation, similar to those caused by other forms of arthritis/ trauma.

Independent of the cause, you would experience swelling and inflammation which leads to decreased mobility, increased pain and therefore increased sedentary time. Inactivity over period of time leads to decrease in muscle strength and mass which ultimately means reduced support for the knee and other joints which are heavily reliant on muscle support for correct biomechanical alignment. The insufficient support accompanied with incorrect alignment induces chipping away of cartilage and bone pieces, forming spurs meaning that the articular surface is just bone on bone which increases magnitude of symptoms.

Risk factors

Some of the most common risk factors include age (middle age due to wear and tear on the joints), gender, obesity/ overweight, genetics, occupation, previous injuries and musculoskeletal integrity and stability.

Goal of replacement

The main goal of the surgery is to increase quality of life and ensure independence. This encompasses restoration of mobility and functional capacity to a pre-operational range or greater depending on starting point. These procedures restore joint function, help relieve pain and improve quality of life of the affected person.

Role of exercise on recovery

Exercise plays a crucial role in rehabilitation prior and after the replacement. Before the procedure, it is important to build as much muscle around the injured joint which has a positive effect and speedy recovery. The physical therapy commences straight away to reduce the extent of formation of scar tissue and work on knee mobility through flexion and extension. The rehabilitation consists of land based exercise sand hydrotherapy for the obvious reasons of reduced pressure on the joints, assisting in increase in mobility and re-building of the confidence to put pressure on the limb. So take home message is, keep exercising!

If you would like more information about the stages of rehabilitation, please visit us at the Optimum Health Solutions Studio for an individualised treatment plan.

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