The Natural Knee Joint
The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body and has to sustain the greatest stresses, since it supports the entire weight of the body above it.
The knee joint is the junction of three bones
The femur (thigh bone or upper leg bone), the tibia (shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg), and the patella (knee cap). The ends of the three bones in the knee joint are covered with articular cartilage, a tough, elastic material that helps absorb shock and allows the knee joint to move smoothly. If damaged, the cartilage cannot repair itself. The entire knee joint is covered by a sack like structure filled with synovial fluid which lubricates the joint and also supplies nutrients to the cartilage and other joint structures.
Who May Need Knee Replacement Surgery?
- Arthritic Knee If you have severe Knee pain that is limiting your mobility and affecting your daily functions, you may benefit from Knee replacement.
The following three are the most common causes of joint damage due to arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis: A disease which involves the wearing away of the normal smooth joint surfaces. This results in bone-on-bone contact, producing pain and stiffness.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the synovial lining covering the joint capsule, the protective cartilage and the joint surface. This causes pain, swelling, joint damage and loss of mobility.
- Trauma related arthritis: Resulting from damage to the joint from a previous injury. It also results in joint damage, pain and loss of mobility.
Characteristics / Symptoms of Knee OA
- Pain in and around the knee joint
- Morning stiffness
- Swelling of joint
- Occasional night pain
- Restricted continuous walking for a few meters only
- Unable to stand for long
When medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment no longer relieve pain, total Knee replacement may be recommended by your surgeon.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
When medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment no longer relieve pain, you and your orthopaedic surgeon will decide if the degree of pain, deterioration and loss of movement is severe enough to qualify you as a candidate for joint replacement. During total joint replacement surgery, the worn-out surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with implants called prosthesis. The femoral (thigh) component Et tibial component is made of a special metal alloy which is a highly polished metal and covers the end of the thigh bone. The patella or kneecap, may be all polyethylene or a combination of metal and polyethylene. The special poly ‘insert’ serves as a cushion—a smooth gliding surface between the two metal components and is attached to the top of the metal
Preparing Yourself for Surgery
As with all surgeries, there are a number of things which the hospital will ask you to do to contribute to the success of the operation. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your doctor or hospital staff. Your doctor may want you to meet the Physical Therapist (PT) before surgery. The PT may give you some tips on preparing your house for rehabilitation and how you should sleep, get out of bed, sit, stand, and walk following surgery.
Post Operative Physical Therapy
Your surgeon will recommend and supervise your Knee rehabilitation programme, which typically begins 24 hours after surgery. Isometric exercises (tightening muscles without moving the joint) will begin while you are still in bed.