If you've been told you need to have knee replacement surgery, you may also have been told to wait as long as possible to have it. Why? Because joint replacement technology is getting better every year, and because knee replacements only last so long. If you have one in your 50s, you may need another by about age 65, and even more thereafter, if you live long enough. Here are six ways you can put off surgery until it's absolutely necessary.
Build strength in surrounding muscles and in your core.
You can take some of the pressure off the knee joint by building strength in your legs and even in your body's core. When your muscles are strong and your equilibrium is solid, you can perform movements with more efficiency and in the proper plane of motion. When you engage your abdominal muscles, for example, and have strong thighs, lifting objects puts less stress on the bones in your knees.
Eat a healthy diet, and take supplements.
Ask your physician about a diet to reduce inflammation. For some people, that means not eating gluten, and for others, it simply means getting rid of processed and artificial foods. A diet with a proper balance of protein, unrefined carbohydrates, and good fats (like those in olive oil and avocados) can help your joints perform optimally.
There are also supplements you can take to support your joints. For many prospective knee replacement patients, calcium and glucosamine can help stave off further degeneration of the joint.
Consider hyaluronic acid injections.
Hyaluronic acid is produced by the human body as a natural joint lubricant. It can also be injected into your knee joint when your body doesn't produce enough of it. Ask your doctor if you might be a candidate for such a treatment.
Reduce or eliminate high-impact activities.
High-impact activities that produce constant pounding on the knee joint should be reduced or completely eliminated. While this unfortunately usually means getting rid of sports like running and tennis, there are a host of activities with which you can replace them:
- tai chi
Losing weight is another way to take pressure off your joints, in addition to decreasing high-impact movement. If you are overweight, dropping pounds can help alleviate pain in the knee area and allow you to forestall knee replacement surgery.
Quit climbing stairs.
If you have flights of stairs in your home, this can be a significant source of aggravation to your knees, including going down, as this puts pressure from your weight on the front of your knee. Since most people can't afford to move to a new home to accommodate knee problems, an easy solution is to install a stair glide stair lift device. This will allow you to sit down while a mechanical lift takes you from one floor to another.
There are many advantages to installing a stair chair lift:
- You can reduce the number of stairs you climb by eliminating those in the home.
- You can use the stair lift to send groceries and other heavy items between floors, so you don't have to do any carrying.
- Stair glides are now very unobtrusive and designed to be installed with a minimum of intrusion to your current staircase.
- If you do undergo knee surgery in the future, your home will be ready for you; you won't have to camp out on the ground floor of your home while you rehabilitate.
By following the tips above, you may be able to go years without having knee replacement surgery. Talk to your orthopedist about how many of these tactics you can employ, and you may also reduce pain and stiffness now, making your life more easy and pleasant.