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How To Avoid Knee Replacement Therapy

by Brett Mills

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, you may have already considered having knee replacement surgery. In recent years, more women and younger people aged 20-50 have developed this condition, often due to sports injuries. Currently, more than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are done each year in the United States. One study found that 34% of knee surgeries were "inappropriate," leading some experts to  believe that more alternatives should be explored before you undergo the procedure. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, consider trying some other options before having surgery. 

Weight Loss

If you are overweight, you can spare your knees a great deal of pressure by dropping pounds. For every one pound of weight you lose, you eliminate four pounds of pressure off of your knee. You will relieve pain and be healthier overall. Even a fifteen-pound weight loss has been found to make a significant difference in how you feel. Exercise combined with weight loss is even more effective. If you strengthen your muscles, you will experience even less pain. 

Physical Therapy

Working with trained physical therapists may be your best chance at avoiding knee replacement. They will often focus on strengthening your quad muscles since they operate like shock absorbers for your knee. Good hamstring strength is also essential to protecting your knee. Some physical therapists will use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to increase your blood flow. After  four to six weeks of daily exercise, you will notice that your muscles are stronger, and you will also be ready to try a more difficult exercise regimen. Even though your knee will feel better, your cartilage is in the same bad shape as before, so if you stop exercising, you will revert to your previous pain level. 

Knee Injections

There is a variety of injections you can try to relieve your pain. They include platelet rich plasma (PRP), hyaluronic acid (HA), and bone marrow concentration injections. These substances all work differently to reduce inflammation and/or regenerate muscle and bone. The PRP injection is a favorite of some professional athletes since it taps into the body's own platelets to speed healing using your own natural proteins. 

If you suffer from osteoarthritis in your knee, do not choose knee surgery too quickly. A number of alternatives exist that can postpone or even prevent you from having the procedure. A healthy lifestyle combined with physical therapy can do much to relieve your pain, and if necessary, you can undergo certain injections that may also help. Make knee replacement surgery your last choice instead of your first one. 

For professional rehabilitation services, contact a company such as St. Luke's Rehabilitation.