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Do I need a new knee?

Diagnosing arthritis

We commonly experience aches and pains in our muscles and joints, but when symptoms persist for more than a few days it is important to consult your doctor soon. In most cases, the sooner a treatment begins the more effective it will be.

You should seek advice from a healthcare professional if:

  • you experience aches and pains in your joint(s) that are not related to an injury and do not ease after a few days, or aches and pains in your joint(s) that persist long after an injury;
  • if a joint becomes swollen and stiff especially if not related to an injury;
  • if you are unable to perform daily tasks because of aches and pains in your muscles or joints.

Before diagnosing arthritis, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and how they developed. They will examine you, and may arrange for tests to be done such as request a blood test or x-rays.

When surgery is recommended

Many people do not require surgery for many years if at all and not everyone who has knee arthritis needs a knee replacement. For many people the symptoms of arthritis subside or remain sufficiently mild with infrequent flare-ups for periods or many years without severely impacting on quality of life. Many people do not experience arthritis until late in life or can reduce symptoms or slow the disease sufficiently that further treatment options are not required. However knee replacement surgery is an option when alternative treatments have been exhausted.

Knee replacement surgery is likely to be offered to you if:

  • your knee is severely swollen, stiff and painful and it is affecting your mobility,
  • knee pain has reduced your quality of life and affects your sleep,
  • everyday tasks have become difficult or impossible,
  • you feel depressed because of your pain and lack of mobility,
  • your knee means you are unable to work or have a normal social life.

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