knee surgery

When Should I Get a Knee Replacement?

“I heard knee replacements are only good for ten years before they need replaced. When is the best age to get it done and what can I do in the meantime? Is knee surgery inevitable? –Michael C.

Good questions. Though the “10 Year Rule” was once an accurate generalization, improvements in technology and surgical procedures make today’s joint replacements last closer to 15-20 years!

There is no specific age that is considered a ‘best’ age to get a total knee arthroplasty, it is entirely dependent on the severity of symptoms and lack of function. A sensible guideline is when the knee pain leaves you unable to exercise and your overall fitness is suffering. Recovery from surgery becomes that much more difficult as overall fitness decreases.

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, surgery may be inevitable – but it will highly depend on the stage of arthritis and the activities you are doing. It is recommended to decrease the amount of heavier weight-bearing activities you do; activities such as running, tennis, soccer, hiking, basketball, heavy weight lifting, etc., and supplement with lower weight-bearing activities, such as swimming, walking over even surfaces, and cycling.

If you are already experiencing pain and are wishing to prevent or delay a surgery, you may want to discuss non-surgical treatment options with your physician including physical therapy.