Most doctors recommend non-surgical (conservative) treatments before considering a knee replacement, including:
Alternative surgical options can be considered if other methods haven't worked. These include:
Most people can leave hospital between one and four days after having knee replacement surgery. You'll need to make arrangements for wound care and you'll usually have follow-up appointments from six weeks after your operation. A physiotherapist or occupational therapist will be available to advise on daily activities and you should be able to return to work within six to eight weeks, depending on your job.
Your new knee will continue to improve for as much as two years after your operation. You'll need to restore your muscles through exercise and pay attention to any problems such as:
You’ll also need to take care in the first few weeks when moving around and doing household jobs so that you don’t damage your new knee. You'll need to use crutches for a few weeks to reduce the risk of falling.
Contact a healthcare professional straight away if you:
Knee replacement surgery can reduce pain and improve quality of life – but not for everyone. Jane Tadman reports on how intensive post-operative physiotherapy could play an important part in ensuring a better success rate.