Knee replacement surgery is a blessing for many. It takes a diseased, injured or decaying knee joint, and turns it into a functioning, useful part of the body again. Although it is a major surgery and carries some risks, most who have it are grateful and satisfied. But even the best surgeries have some downsides. Artificial knees are not natural knees; they do have some problems associated with them.
The function of artificial knees is to replace a knee joint that through injury, disease or degeneration can no longer function. In many cases, the patient has not been able to do even everyday activities for some time, and the replacement of the bad knees with man-made prosthetics is a huge improvement. By undergoing knee replacement surgery, a person gives up any hope for his natural knee joint and accepts a prosthetic one.
The effect of knee replacement surgery is to allow the patient to resume normal, day-to-day activities. These include: walking, squatting, climbing stairs, kneeling, rising, gentle biking, swimming, golfing, and other low-impact or non-impact sports. Most patients are happy to be able to play with their children or grandchildren, walk around the block without pain, and be able to climb the stairs. In this area, knee replacement surgery is successful and the artificial knees do not pose any problems.
One of the big gripes with artificial knees is that they are not as versatile as the originals. This is to be expected. No matter how great modern technology is, it cannot replace the human body. The artificial knee does not have quite the range of motion or the ability to turn, twist and stretch as the human knee. It also does not have the staying capacity. Patients will tire easier, their muscles will become sore faster and they may experience pain if they attempt too much.
Another problem with artificial knees is that there will be some lingering pain from having the bones cut and replaced. During weather changes, after too much activity, or if there is a strain, blow, or fall, the artificial knee will not have the recuperative powers of the original knee. The pain will be more intense and last longer, and any injury can be far more serious since you are looking at possibly having damaged the materials in the joint. Any severe pain associated with your artificial knee needs to be checked out.
A major problem with artificial knees is they do not last forever, and the younger and more active you are, the shorter life span they will have. This is one reason that replacing the knee is the last thing a surgeon will do when treating knee problems. The artificial knee usually lasts around 10-15 years, and then must be replaced again, as the materials will have worn out. In most cases, only two knee replacements can be done on the same leg in one lifetime, so this can be a real problem for a younger patient who must have her knees replaced. The key to making them last is to take care of them. Putting less stress on the joint is imperative to the longevity of the artificial knee.
- Photo Credit Rebecca Boardman
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