Your joints are part of almost everything you do. If your knee pain is keeping you from activities you enjoy, and conservative treatments such as medication, injections or physical therapy is no longer helping, you may be a candidate for total joint replacement.
Your physician’s diagnosis will be based on an orthopedic evaluation, which typically includes a thorough medical history, physical examination, x-rays and additional tests as needed. While your medical history helps the orthopedic surgeon evaluate your overall health and possible causes of your joint pain, a physical examination helps confirm or rule out a possible diagnosis. The physical exam reviews important aspects related to your pain such as hip and leg size and length, strength, range of motion, swelling, reflexes and skin condition.
To prepare for your appointment, bring notes with you that detail your knee pain and limitations. It may be helpful to answer the following questions:
- Where and when do I have pain?
- How long have I had this pain?
- Do I have any redness or swelling around my joints?
- What daily tasks are hard to complete?
- Did I ever hurt the joint or overuse it?
- Does anyone in my family have similar problems?
If your physician has determined that knee replacement is your next step, he or she can also discuss the appropriate techniques for your surgery — from custom knees and gender-friendly implants to a quads-sparing technique and minimally-invasive surgery and more.