When Should Knee Replacement Surgery Be Considered?

Conservative non-operative treatments are the first choice to manage an osteoarthritic knee condition. We have a list of the symptoms signaling that it may be time to consider surgery.

total knee arthroplasty

What happens in an arthritic joint?

Arthritis is a disease process in which joint tissues become inflamed and the cushion of cartilage lining the ends of the bones begins to deteriorate. As the cartilage becomes thinner, the symptoms progress. The joint becomes painful to move, and the supporting muscles gradually become weaker.

Conservative treatment options

A variety of conservative treatments can slow or manage the symptoms of this condition. Some patients do very well with conservative treatments, and never have to confront the possibility of surgery. For others, the disease gradually becomes less responsive to conservative treatments, and increasing joint limitations take a toll on quality of life.

Signs to watch for

There is no hard and fast rule about when it’s time to consider total knee arthroplasty. However, it’s good to know the symptoms that indicate it may be time to sit down with your orthopedic surgeon and consider a knee replacement.

  • Nonsurgical interventions including physical therapy and medication no longer control your pain.
  • Knee pain prevents you from sleeping.
  • Activities like climbing stairs, walking, and getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs become difficult.
  • You experience aching in your knee, followed by periods of relative relief.
  • Extensive use of your knee triggers pain.
  • Your knee is stiff or swollen following periods of inactivity or rest.
  • Humid or rainy weather increases your knee pain.
  • Your mobility has decreased to the point that it is affecting your ability to perform normal activities.
  • You feel a grating sensation in your knee joint.

At Summit, we create a conservative treatment plan intended to delay knee replacement in favor of less invasive treatments for as long as function can be maintained, and pain can be controlled. However, when your pain is no longer controlled and your quality of life is affected, total knee arthroplasty can provide pain relief and a return to your normal activities and quality of life.

When to seek treatment for your arthritis

Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of only two surgery centers nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

Start your journey to healthier joints. Find your arthritis expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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  • Jack Drogt, M.D.

    “As a hip and knee specialist, an orthopedic surgeon, and the President of Summit Orthopedics, I’m dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of care available. Our expertise extends beyond orthopedic care. We’re enabling people to live the lives they love.”

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  • Daren Wickum MD

    Daren Wickum, M.D.

    “Quality of life really boils down to remaining active. Keeping patients mobile keeps me on my toes. So does keeping up with my son.”

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  • Jeffrey Furmanek DO

    Jeffrey Furmanek, D.O.

    “My training has taught me to understand that the human body is a complex sum of its parts with an innate ability to heal. My role as an orthopedic surgeon can be an important part of this natural process.”

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  • James Gannon MD

    James Gannon, M.D.

    “Leading an active lifestyle provides an additional motivation to provide orthopedic care that will allow patients to return to the activities they enjoy.”

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  • Jerome Perra MD

    Jerome Perra, M.D.

    “My goal is always to return the patient to his or her highest level of function, and to individualize post-operative
    and rehabilitation expectations.”

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  • Jack Skendzel, M.D.

    “An active lifestyle requires superior physical function, and I understand that my patients have exceptionally high standards for their performance and joint health. My goal is to return patients to optimal function so that they can continue to perform and master their personal athletic goals.”

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  • Eric Khetia MD

    Eric Khetia, M.D.

    “My goal is to lead an active, healthy life and to allow my patients to do the same. Restoring them to pre-injury levels of functioning and allowing them to pursue the activities they enjoy inspires me.”

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  • Kristoffer Breien, M.D.

    “I tend to be more conservative in my approach, reserving surgery as a last option. In essence, I strive to care for patients and their problems in the same manner my family and I expect to be treated when we seek medical attention.”

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  • Peter Daly, M.D.

    “I understand the concern of athletes to get back to their sport. And I work in combination with our therapists to get them fully active.”

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