At a recent workshop we hosted, one of the attendees raised an excellent question...
She wanted to know why her sister, who had a knee replacement several years ago, was still having knee pain? if you have a prosthetic knee, shouldn't your pain be gone?
This is an excellent question because so many people mistakenly assume their knee troubles should be over with after a knee replacement. They are told by their doctor that their knee is "bone on bone" when they look at the X-Ray and a knee replacement is the obvious solution. We talk to a lot of patients who tell us their doctor recommended "waiting as long as they can" before going through with the surgery.
To stave off an impending joint replacement, people will endure years of knee discomfort - getting shots every 6 months and reaching for the pill bottle any time the weather changes. Their hope is that a life free from knee pain, hampered mobility and limited activity will be waiting for them when the time comes for surgery. This is the reality for some people, but for others (like this lady's sister) the reality is quite different.
Let me explain...
Knee pain can come from different areas around the knee. Some knee pain can be generated from deep inside the joint (like osteoarthritis) while other pains can come from outside the joint (like bursitis). A knee replacement should help with pain from inside the joint but what about all the other places knee pain can come from?
To really pin point what's causing your knee pain, a thorough physical examination is needed. Sure, a plain film X-Ray can diagnose broken bones and degeneration, but it can't always tell us with certainty WHY you're hurting. The image should be used in combination with a comprehensive assessment of other structures in the knee to determine the root cause of your knee pain.
For her sister, it's very likely that although she may have had arthritis, there were other factors contributing to her knee problems that a joint replacement couldn't fix. Not to say the surgery was unnecessary, but her expectations of the outcome could have been more in line with her reality after surgery had she been informed of all the possible causes for her pain.
A good physical therapist is trained at identifying the root cause of your pain. When a patient comes to me with knee pain, our very first session takes at least 1 full hour to thoroughly assess all components of the knee, hip and even ankle to accurately pin point where the problem is coming from so we don't overlook anything.
If you're still having unexplained pain after a knee replacement surgery, come talk to us to see if there's more to the picture (no pun intended). We can help clear up why you're still having pain and what can be done to fix it to help you get back to feeling your best!
Call us today and request your free 30-minute consultation (504) 407-3477.
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