When Conservative Treatments No Longer Work, it May be Time to Consider Total Joint Replacement
Too busy for knee pain
Like most women, Jane Bauer wears many hats – wife, mother, grandmother, and fulltime administrative assistant. So when her knee pain became disabling, it was time to take action. “It was extremely stiff and the pain was excruciating,” said Jane. “On a scale from one to 10, my pain was a 15. I couldn’t do anything around the house, I couldn’t shop, I couldn’t play with my grandchildren, and worst of all I couldn’t sleep.”
Jane was suffering from severe osteoarthritis. “This occurs when the cartilage covering the knee joint is damaged and begins to wear down,” explained Jim Swanson, MD, Highpoint Health orthopaedic surgeon. “The cartilage is like a shock absorber that protects the joint. Without that cushion, patients suffer from stiffness, pain and lack of mobility.”
Knee pain started gradually
Jane began seeing Dr. Swanson about five years ago. She tried a variety of treatment options through the years, including injections that actually lubricate the joint so it can work properly. Unfortunately, this only provided relief for a short time.
“A vicious cycle often develops with knee pain,” said Dr. Swanson. “When your knee hurts, you stop using it. This results in stiffness. And, inactivity weakens your muscles. Over time, this really limits a person’s ability to perform day to day tasks.”
Time for joint replacement
“Dr. Swanson told me I’d know when it was time for knee replacement surgery,” said Jane. “And he was right. I remember telling my husband I’m done living like this. I’ve got to do this for me.”
According to Dr. Swanson, joint replacement surgery is the last option. “I always start with conservative treatments to help a patient manage his or her knee pain,” said Dr. Swanson. “Like bracing, weight loss, physical therapy, medication, and injections. When these things no longer help, joint replacement surgery may be the only way to provide lasting relief.”
“I was scared to death.”
Jane had never had surgery, and the idea of a joint replacement was overwhelming. “Dr. Swanson has a wonderful bedside manner,” said Jane. “He eased my mind by explaining the risks and benefits associated with the surgery. He also explained the actual procedure and answered all of my questions.”
Back to work and pain-free
Jane was able to return to work in seven weeks. “My new knee makes me feel like the bionic woman,” said Jane. “Dr. Swanson did a wonderful job. I’d recommend him to anyone.”
If you're experiencing joint pain, don't ignore it. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jim Swanson at 812-537-8402 to see if total joint replacement is right for you.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Provided by: Jim Swanson, MD, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
To learn more, contact his office at 812-537-8402.