This blog post was updated for content on August 24, 2020. Existing comments have not been removed or edited.
Every year, more than 600,000 people undergo total knee replacement surgery in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, knee replacement surgery has proven to not actually be the magic fix that it was hoped to be. The costs, risks, and arduous recovery all present major considerations against the procedure. But even worse than these factors, over 54,000 patients have to have their replacement re-done every year.
With all of these factors, many people still choose to have knee replacement surgery, likely because it is often presented as the only option for relieving chronic joint pain due to osteoarthritis. However, there are much safer and less invasive options.
When it comes to knee replacement surgery or non-surgical knee pain treatments, how do your options stack up?
Surgery May Not Be Necessary
When it comes to avoiding knee replacement surgery, make sure to always get a second opinion to determine if the procedure is even really necessary in the first place. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond analyzed data from a study of both women and men who had knee replacement surgery. They determined that 1 in 3 patients were not even good candidates for the procedure, and could only expect a marginal improvement in joint function.
“If you have the surgery, but it’s actually a problem of nerve pain, hip pain, or circulation, its not going to help you,” said Claudette Lajam, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases. Understanding an accurate diagnosis for the source of your pain will help you be able to determine the best non-surgical approach to treatment.
A Weighty Consideration
The rise in numbers of knee surgeries is not only due to an aging population, but also to an increasingly overweight one. Eric Matteson, M.D., chair of the rheumatology division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, stated, “Weight plays an important role in joint stress, so when people are very overweight, it puts stress on their joints, especially […] the knees and hips.”
Studies show that every pound of body weight exerts four pounds of pressure on the knees, so it is easy to see how extra weight can lead to chronic, unwanted pain. Whether you’re considering knee surgery or looking for a non-surgical knee pain treatment, losing extra weight will help relieve extra pressure from your joints.Utilizing anti-gravity technology, like the Zero G-Flex treadmill, can assist with physical conditioning and weight loss, and it can contribute to far less pain and inflammation.
One under-utilized method to avoid knee replacement surgery is the addition of physical conditioning and exercise to your daily routine. People who are experiencing pain in their knee joint tend to rest it, spending increased amounts of time inactive in attempts to relieve the pain.
Unfortunately, the opposite is true - strengthening the muscles around the damaged joint, which stabilizes and supports it, through careful cardio and calisthenics can contribute to tremendous pain relief.
Note: it is important to always consult with your physician before beginning any new sort of exercise routine.
Anyone considering knee replacement surgery will have faster, easier recoveries if they strengthen the muscles around their knee before their procedure. However, physical therapy after a knee surgery can be required for an additional 4-5 months.
Weighing Your Non-Surgical Knee Pain Treatments Options?
If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain and are considering having joint replacement surgery, the experts at Flexogenix® are here to help. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation and let us show you how our non-surgical solutions can help you avoid a risky joint replacement surgery altogether! We will review all options for treatment and give you all of the information that you need to decide whether our non-surgical solutions are a good fit for you.