Knee Replacement , Knee Resurfacing, TKA, TKR, etc.... Approximately 650,000 of these were done in the year 2009. 63% percent of these were women and 96% were due to Osteoarthritis- aka, OA, DJD. DJD is "Degenerative Joint Disease" and this speaks to the nature of the condition. It is a normal aging process but you can definitely arm yourself to lessen the inflammation associated with this progressive condition.
Ok, so what do I do to take care of my knee and what should I expect if I do have surgery?
- irst, today you stand (or sit) with all of the physical experiences you have encountered dating back to your birth. This is deep, I know... Accumulative stresses and past injuries can result in dysfunction. If these affect the biomechanics of your knee it will likely lead to inflammation. So first thing is to make sure we are assessed by a Physical Therapist if your doctor suggests dysfunction. Recent research actually suggest Runners may not be accelerating Osteoarthritis as once believed. But there is research to support High Level athletes and Performing Artists accelerating Osteoarthritis., e.g, Soccer Players, Ballet Dancers, Weight Lifters, and Table Tennis players. It is likely that excessive "cutting", jumping, and rapid deceleration "degenerates" your joint while running has become a convenient scapegoat. See Links Page.
- o what is knee Range of Motion and why do I care? Well, you require a certain Arc at your knee to function- e.g., after Knee Replacement (TKA) many (but not all) people struggle for months to regain this Arc. One of the most important measures is getting it Straight! Why? Bend your knee for a prolonged period and feel your thigh wanting to burst. Straightening the knee moves a substantial load off the muscles. It has been my experience that most TKA surgeons expect the knee to be straight by one month post-op. All doctors have different protocols. Some use CPM machines and others do not. The most popular reason for a CPM seems to be early motion and blood clot prevention.
- What about bending my knee? If you notice, sitting in a chair requires the knee to bend 90 degrees. Climbing stairs requires about 80 degrees of bend. Furthermore, tying your shoe demands 117 degrees of bend at your knee. You can quickly see how important motion is to your everyday life. Knee Replacement Surgery restores substantial function and reduces pain according to The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Following surgery expect excessive Physical Therapy and the use of a cane or walker for weeks. Avoid Smoking as it slows healing. If you are not in Rehabilitation almost immediately after surgery-- ask questions... In the first month, typically there is no: jumping, kneeling, or bending.
- Can I prevent OA? Likely not as there is a genetic component and it is a natural aging process... But you could slow it down dramatically if you maintain proper form and function through your life while correcting your body mechanics as necessary through rehab--minimizing excessive "cutting" according to the research. Most knee replacements are metal. Through airports show your knee to inspectors. And a trick I noticed is that most airlines will allow the bag to be free of charge if you have a brace or medical device in your bag ;)