Just because you have osteoarthritis on an x-ray or an MRI;
1. Does NOT mean you need to see a orthopaedic surgeon.
2. Does NOT mean, you need a knee replacement.
Three questions to answer before undergoing elective knee surgery.
1. Have you exhausted every non-surgical treatment option for your knee without any improvement? YES / NO
2. Are you prepared to do an hour of rehab exercises everyday for three to four months after surgery? YES / NO
3. Are you willing to accept the risk that your pain may be worse after surgery? YES / NO
How to avoid surgery.
Because there can be complications during or after surgery – a knee replacement is considered the last option, not the first option.
Research at the University of British Columbia found that experienced orthopaedic physiotherapists were 4 times better at identifying patients that require surgery than family physicians and emergency room physicians.
To ensure that you have exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you can expect your surgeon will want to know you’ve done all of the following for a minimum of six months without any improvement in your knee function.
- Make an appointment with a experienced orthopaedic physiotherapist and get a daily home-based rehab exercise program to increase your mobility and strengthen your legs
- Use a cane, brace or walker to offload your knee so you can walk everyday.
- Remain as physically active as you can. Do not stop walking and consider adding stationary biking, water based exercise / swimming to your daily routine.
- If you are overweight, make changes to your diet immediately and set a goal to lose weight monthly.
- With your family physician explore pain management treatments/ medications that are appropriate for your medical profile.
- Medications will not fix arthritis, but are intended to help reduce your pain so you can perform the necessary physio exercises to improve your knee and hopefully avoid surgery.
- Alberta Knee Replacement Guide
- Sunnybrook Hospital (Toronto) – Knee Replacement Exercise Booklet
- Vancouver Costal Health – Knee Replacement Exercise Guide
- Saskatchewan – Knee-Replacement Post-Op Exercise Book
To learn more watch the videos below
To help you make the most informed decision, the following educational videos are presented below. The content is for educational reasons only and we do not endorse the presenters or their surgical clinics.
Terry Kane, Registered Physiotherapist (Calgary, Alberta)
Founder | Owner, OrthopaedicsCanada.com
Knee Replacement: An Overview by Dr. Mary O’Connor
Knee Replacement: Dr. Mary O’Connor Discusses the Surgical Procedure
Knee Replacement: Dr. Mary O’Connor Reviews the Rehabilitation and Expectations
What are the risks from surgery?