Total Knee Replacements

Total Knee Replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged or worn-out parts of the knee joint with artificial components.

Total Knee Replacements
Total Knee Replacements
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Your Guide to Understanding Total Knee Replacements

What is Total Knee Replacements?

Total Knee Replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed to relieve pain and improve function in individuals with severe knee arthritis or significant knee injury. This procedure involves removing the damaged or worn-out parts of the knee joint and replacing them with artificial components made of metal and plastic.

The main goal of total knee replacement surgery is to alleviate pain and restore mobility and functionality to the knee joint. This procedure is typically recommended when conservative treatments, such as medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications, no longer provide sufficient relief. It is often considered for individuals who experience chronic knee pain, stiffness, swelling, difficulty walking or climbing stairs, and decreased quality of life due to their knee condition.

How can Physiotherapy help treat Total Knee Replacements?

Physiotherapy services play a crucial role in alleviating the challenges associated with total knee replacements. After surgery, physiotherapists design personalized exercise programs to enhance mobility, strengthen muscles, and improve overall function. These programs often include range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and balance training.

Physiotherapists also provide education on proper postural alignment and body mechanics to prevent strain on the knee joint. By addressing pain, reducing swelling, improving strength, and facilitating a safe and efficient recovery process, physiotherapy helps individuals regain their mobility and return to their normal activities after total knee replacements.

What causes Total Knee Replacements?

Total Knee Replacements are typically caused by severe knee arthritis or significant knee injury. Knee arthritis refers to the inflammation and deterioration of the cartilage that lines the knee joint. Over time, this can lead to the wearing down of the joint surfaces, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of knee arthritis. These include age, as the risk increases with older age, as well as genetics and family history. Additionally, certain lifestyle factors such as obesity, repetitive stress on the knees from activities like running or jumping, and previous knee injuries can also increase the likelihood of developing knee arthritis.

In some cases, Total Knee Replacements may be necessary due to a major knee injury, such as fractures or ligament tears. These injuries can result from sports accidents, falls, or other traumatic incidents that cause significant damage to the knee joint.

Ultimately, the main causes of Total Knee Replacements are knee arthritis and significant knee injuries. These conditions can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and a decreased quality of life, making surgical intervention necessary to relieve symptoms and restore functionality to the knee joint.

What treatments might help Total Knee Replacements?

Treatment can play a crucial role in improving Total Knee Replacements. Here are some ways in which treatment can help:

  • Physical therapy: Engaging in a course of physical therapy can be highly beneficial for individuals with Total Knee Replacements. A physical therapist can design an individualized program to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee joint. Physical therapy exercises and techniques can help reduce pain, restore function, and enhance overall mobility.
  • Pain management: Appropriate pain medications can be used to manage discomfort during the recovery phase after Total Knee Replacements. However, it is important to use pain medications with care and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals.
  • Preoperative exercise programs: Physical therapists can design exercise programs to be implemented before surgery. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee joint, which can help optimize outcomes following Total Knee Replacements.
  • Improved quality of life: Treatment through Total Knee Replacements can significantly decrease pain and improve the overall quality of life for individuals with severe knee arthritis. The surgery aims to restore function and alleviate pain, allowing individuals to engage in daily activities with greater ease.

Signs of Total Knee Replacements:

Signs of Total Knee Replacements can vary depending on the individual and the stage of the condition. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Persistent knee pain: One of the most prominent signs is ongoing pain in the knee joint. This pain may be present during movement, at rest, or both. It can range from a dull ache to sharp and intense pain.
  • Stiffness and limited mobility: Total Knee Replacements can cause stiffness in the knee joint, making it difficult to fully straighten or bend the knee. This can result in reduced flexibility and limited range of motion.
  • Swelling and inflammation: The knee joint may become swollen, tender, and warm to the touch. This swelling can occur due to the body's inflammatory response to the damaged or deteriorated joint surfaces.
  • Difficulty with weight-bearing activities: Individuals with Total Knee Replacements often experience challenges with activities that involve putting weight on the affected knee, such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing for prolonged periods.
  • Instability and weakness: The knee joint may feel unstable, causing a sensation of giving way or buckling. This can lead to feelings of insecurity while walking or performing daily activities.

Symptoms of Total Knee Replacements:

Total Knee Replacements is a surgical procedure, so it doesn't have symptoms. However, after undergoing a Total Knee Replacement surgery, there are some common post-operative symptoms that patients may experience during the recovery process. These symptoms can include:

  • Pain and discomfort: It is normal to have some pain and discomfort in the knee area after the surgery. This pain can vary in intensity and may last for a few weeks or even months. Adequate pain management strategies will be put in place to help manage this discomfort.
  • Swelling: Swelling around the knee joint is a typical symptom after Total Knee Replacements. The body's natural healing response can cause increased fluid accumulation in the surgical area. Elevating the leg, applying ice packs, and following the doctor's guidelines can help reduce swelling.
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion: Initially, the knee joint may feel stiff and have limited mobility. This is a normal part of the recovery process and gradually improves with the help of physiotherapy and exercises prescribed by the healthcare team.
  • Bruising and discoloration: Bruising and discoloration around the knee are common after surgery. This is generally due to the manipulation of tissues during the procedure. The bruising should fade over time as the healing progresses.
  • Fatigue and weakness: After Total Knee Replacements, patients may experience fatigue and weakness, especially in the early stages of recovery. The body is healing from surgery, and it takes time to regain strength and energy levels.
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When is the right time to see a Physiotherapist for Total Knee Replacements?

The right time to see a physiotherapist for Total Knee Replacements depends on the individual's specific needs and recovery process. Generally, it is recommended to consult with these healthcare professionals after the initial healing period following surgery, which is typically around 6-8 weeks.

Meet our Lead Registered Physiotherapist

Brittany Pereira

Brittany Pereira

Registered Physiotherapist

Registered Physiotherapist with a degree from the University of Toronto

Brittany enjoys working with patients across age groups and backgrounds to help them move better, get stronger, understand their bodies and ultimately, feel more confident. She combines her knowledge and clinical experience to best serve her patients.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
Interior Lobby at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic in Mississauga