Knee Replacement Alternatives

In many cases, alternatives to knee replacement are recommended before performing the surgery. Non-surgical options include physical therapy, weight loss, medications, or activity changes. If these alternatives are not successful in reducing pain -- especially that caused by arthritis -- surgery will likely be recommended. While the decision to have surgery is up to you, it's important to understand the consequences of not having the surgery.

What Are Some Alternatives to Knee Replacement?

Your healthcare provider has several knee replacement alternatives to treat your symptoms. Some of these may have already been tried in your particular situation, including:
  • Weight loss
  • Activity changes
  • Physical therapy
  • Walking aids, such as a cane or walker
  • Medication
  • Control of certain medical conditions.
If non-surgical treatments are not effective in reducing the pain caused by arthritis in the knee, a knee replacement surgery will most likely be recommended.
If you have any questions about the different alternatives after reading this article, you should discuss these with your doctor and decide which one, if any, is appropriate for you.

What If I Don't Have a Total Knee Replacement?

Because a total knee replacement is a voluntary surgery, there are no serious or life-threatening consequences associated with not having it. However, it is important to understand what may result from this decision.
Currently, no medicine has been developed that can reverse the process of a joint wearing out. There are medicines and treatments that can slow down the process. However, the knee joint does not heal by itself when arthritis is present.
With this in mind, patients with knee arthritis and associated pain generally do not get better with time, and often only experience these symptoms getting worse. In the end, it is your choice whether the disability caused by the arthritis is bothersome enough to have knee replacement surgery.
The final decision to have surgery or not rests with you, but all concerns relating to this decision should be discussed with your healthcare provider at length. Then you and your healthcare provider can come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
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