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Exploring the Decision to Undergo Knee Replacement Surgery: A Physiotherapist's Perspective

Here at Astute, we encounter many patients grappling with the decision of whether to undergo knee replacement surgery. It's a significant choice, one that can greatly impact quality of life. In this blog, we'll delve into the factors to consider when contemplating knee replacement surgery, providing insights and guidance from a physiotherapists point of view.

Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery:

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, involves replacing damaged parts of the knee joint with artificial components. Most commonly this involves replacing the entire knee joint (Total Knee Replacement) but can also involve replacement of only one compartment of the knee joint (partial knee replacement). This procedure is typically recommended for individuals suffering from severe knee pain and reduced mobility due to conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or injury-related damage.

Assessing the Need for Surgery:

Before considering knee replacement surgery, it's crucial to undergo a comprehensive assessment with healthcare professionals. We would recommend seeking the opinion of an experienced physiotherapists, and also a reputable orthopaedic surgeons. This way you will receive an assessment and opinion from the two main parties involved in the decision making process. Together, we would evaluate the extent of knee damage, assess your overall health, muscle strength and function, and explore alternative treatments.

Exploring Non-Surgical Options:

In many cases, non-surgical interventions such as physiotherapy, medications, injections, and lifestyle modifications can effectively manage knee pain and improve function. Physiotherapists play a pivotal role in designing tailored exercise programs to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility & balance, and alleviate symptoms. We encourage all clients who are considering knee replacement surgery to undergo a comprehensive physiotherapy assessment and tailored exercise program before undergoing surgery. These conservative measures may delay or even eliminate the need for surgery, offering significant benefits for patients. In our experience at Astute, we have been able to help many clients who were considering knee replacement surgery to avoid it all together.

Considering the Risks and Benefits:

Like any surgical procedure, knee replacement surgery carries inherent risks, including infection, blood clots, and nerve damage. It's essential for patients to weigh these risks against the potential benefits, which can include reduced pain, improved mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Unfortunately we do see clients after knee replacement surgery that still suffer from significant pain and stiffness in the knee well after their surgery. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing who will respond well to knee replacement surgery. Consulting with healthcare professionals and thoroughly discussing expectations and concerns can help individuals make informed decisions.

Preparing for Surgery and Recovery:

Prior to surgery, patients undergo pre-operative assessments and may need to optimise their health through lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, weight management and improved physical function.

Post-surgery, rehabilitation plays a critical role in promoting recovery and restoring function. Your Physiotherapist will guide you through a personalised rehabilitation programs, focusing on exercises, mobility aids, and pain management strategies to restore your function.

Embracing a Collaborative Approach:

Choosing to undergo knee replacement surgery is a significant decision that requires collaboration between patients, healthcare providers, and support networks. Open communication, realistic expectations, and ongoing support are essential elements of a successful surgical journey.

As a physiotherapist, I understand the complexities involved in the decision to undergo knee replacement surgery. While it's a major step, it can also offer profound benefits for individuals struggling with chronic knee pain and limited mobility. By exploring non-surgical options, considering the risks and benefits, and embracing a collaborative approach, patients can make informed choices that enhance their overall well-being.

If you're considering knee replacement surgery or seeking guidance on managing knee pain, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare team at Astute for personalised support and advice. Together, we can work towards improving your knee health and enhancing your quality of life.

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