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Knee replacement surgery: Delaying treatment can be detrimental to your joint

If you too have been leading a compromised quality of life for a long time and are considering surgery, it is important to consult your doctor. In the current pandemic situation, while medical institutions are taking all necessary measures – frequent sanitation of the facility, wearing masks, mandatory covid tests before surgery, among others, to contain the covid infection risk it is equally critical for patients to follow safety guidelines as well. 

Health Desk Health Desk
New Delhi Published on: December 20, 2020 10:17 IST
Knee replacement surgery: Delaying treatment can be detrimental to your joint
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Knee replacement surgery: Delaying treatment can be detrimental to your joint

With the cold weather fast approaching and plunging temperatures, often people experience increased pain and stiffness in knee joint. More common among arthritic patients or people above 40 years of age, this mostly occurs because nerve endings in our joints become hypertensive due to cold; hence the pain that one experiences is more intense. 62-year-old Ashish Thomas had been living with stage 4 knee arthritis for over 2 years and winter was an excruciating time for him – both physically and mentally.Due to the debilitating knee pain, he would even miss his favourite Christmas festivities with family. He was recommended replacement surgery by several doctors, but he kept delaying it owing to his inhibitions of surgery.This only aggravated his knee damage resulting in visible deformity (bowing of legs). 
 
With the advent of technology, joint replacement procedures have become faster, effective, ensure faster recovery and shorter hospital stay. Innovations like single radius knee that mimics the circular motion of natural knee help patients get back to their normal routine within days.Dr. Palash Gupta, Director, Orthopaedics, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh,shares factors that patients and their caregivers should consider while opting for knee replacement surgery.
 
1. Pain: Arthritis is a painful joint condition that can progress fast if not managed at the right time in the right way.Patients often consult a doctor only in severe stages when the pain starts impacting their day to day life. If diagnosed and treated early, the progression can be well managed with conservative treatments like medication, exercise, etc. A knee replacement therapy, one of the safest orthopaedics procedures, is often the last resort in severe cases. Numerous clinical studies prove its effectiveness in reducing pain and restoring joint movement amongst patients in last 50 years.

 
2. Age: While the condition affects older adults much more commonly than younger people, it isn’t uncommon to see patients in 70s opting for knee surgery so they can return to their usual activities. But one should try non-surgical options first and only if they fail to provide pain relief, should one think about surgical intervention. Decision for surgery should be taken based on patient’s medical condition and comorbid conditions rather than only the age. 
 
3. Weight: Obesity is a major risk factor for the onset of arthritis. Knees are the highest weight bearing joints in human body. Every 1 kg extra weight gain can exert 3 times additional pressure on the joint at every step. This constant pressure speeds up the wear and tear of knee cartilage, leading to degeneration. Maintaining optimum weight can go a long way in relieving pain for arthritis patients. Today with new age technologies, obese patients no longer need to shed few kilos before knee replacement and yet achieve good surgical results and improved quality of life.
 
4. Lifestyle: Staying activeis the key to effectively managing thecondition before and after surgery. Walking or exercising helps keep body temperature high but also improves blood circulation to knees, assists in reducing weight and strengthens muscles that support the knee. So, aim to walk 4-5 times in a week atleast for 30 minutes.Consume Vitamin K, D and C rich food like orange, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes, among others to help the body absorb calcium and strengthen bones.
 
Finally, after months of contemplation, Ashish underwent knee replacement this October. Well on his road to recovery, he is eagerly looking forward to celebrating Christmas with even more fervor than before.
 
If you too have been leading a compromised quality of life for a long time and are considering surgery, it is important to consult your doctor. In the current pandemic situation, while medical institutions are taking all necessary measures – frequent sanitation of the facility, wearing masks, mandatory covid tests before surgery, among others, to contain the covid infection risk it is equally critical for patients to follow safety guidelines as well. 

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