For more than two years, Allen suffered from severe pain in his knees, due to advanced arthritis in both joints. He was not able to get a decent night’s sleep because of his knee discomfort, and walking anywhere was a chore.
All that changed after Allen underwent total knee replacement surgery with Steven K. Jordan, MD, FAAOS, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.
“I don’t have any more arthritic pain in my knees, and I’m more mobile,” says Allen. “Dr. Jordan is a great doctor, he did a wonderful job, and I don’t have any complaints at all.”
Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
Arthritis is the major cause of knee discomfort and disability and manifests mainly in three ways:
- Osteoarthritis. Normal wear and tear combined with age produce this form of arthritis, but it can affect younger people as well. The delicate cartilage between the knee bones erodes over time and gradually withers away leaving bone on bone contact within the joint.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This disease causes swelling of the synovial membrane that encapsulates the knee joint. The persistent inflammation can injure and wear away the cartilage causing discomfort and stiffness.
- Post-traumatic arthritis. A severe knee injury or trauma can impair the cartilage, ligaments or the bones of the knee joint and alter the mechanics of the knee causing it to become stiff and wear out more quickly.
When Is Total Knee Surgery Recommended?
A physician may recommend total knee replacement for patients who have:
- Extreme knee pain or stiffness hindering normal daily activities such as sitting, lying down, and walking even a short distance
- Moderate or serious knee discomfort when at rest
- Persistent knee inflammation that fails to get better with rest or medication
- Knee deformities such as a bow in the knee
- No improvement in the condition with non-surgical methods like injections or physical therapy
Total knee replacement can be performed on most patients regardless of age or weight. A patient’s discomfort and disability are the prime criteria for surgery, not age. However the majority of those undergoing knee replacement are over fifty.
What is a Total Knee Replacement?
Extreme deterioration of the knee joint due to arthritis or injury can come with crippling discomfort and prevent people from engaging in normal, everyday activities such as going for walks going up and down stairs, and even when sitting down or sleeping at night.
When conservative treatment measures like physical therapy, cortisone injection, and pain medicine fall short of relieving the pain, total knee replacement surgery may be the answer to allow patients to get back to doing the things they love.
Allen’s relationship with Dr. Jordan goes back more than two years. He appreciated that Dr. Jordan took time to evaluate his injuries properly, and exhausted all available treatment options before recommending surgery. “Dr. Jordan did not rush me into surgery which I thought was a good thing,” says Allen. “Then it finally got to the point where one knee was bone on bone, and it just started to bow a little bit.
Total knee replacement surgery, or total knee arthroplasty, was first performed in the U.S. half a century ago. Since then, over 600,000 total knee replacements are performed every year, making the procedure one of the most sought-after and successful surgeries.
During total knee arthroplasty, the surgeon replaces damaged bone and cartilage from the knee joint with artificial components made of metal and specially-designed plastic.
Total knee replacement typically involves four stages:
- Removal of injured cartilage from the femur and tibia bones
- Recreation of the joint structure using metal implant placement
- Stabilization of the kneecap using a state-of-the-art plastic button behind the patella
- Formation of a smoothly gliding area enabling the knee to move through its normal range of motion
Allen appreciated the time and care Dr. Jordan took to address his concerns and make him feel at ease. “Dr. Jordan is very upfront. He took the time to answer each and every question that I had in great detail. I liked his detailed approach to everything.”
Recovery After Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Most surgeons stress that surgery is only the first step on the path to full recovery and mobility. Arduously following a rehabilitation program under the guidance of a qualified physical therapist is crucial in getting the muscles around the knee back to where they were before surgery.
“Once the surgery is over, rehab is so important,” says Allen. “If you’re not doing the stretches properly, there’s a chance you might have to go back into surgery to remove the scar tissue. Dr. Jordan had mentioned that to me.”
Allen had a total knee replacement done on both knees within three months. One year later, he was fully functional, and walking and sleeping completely pain-free.
Thanks to his successful knee replacement surgeries, Allen can mow the lawn and climb stairs again. “I’m more mobile. I can sleep at night without pain,” he says. “I enjoyed both knee replacements done by Dr. Jordan. The pain is not there anymore.”