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Are you experiencing some pain in your knee after surgery?
Over 600,000 total knee replacement surgeries happen in the country every year. Most undergo total knee arthroplasty because of pains associated with arthritis or osteoporosis. Meanwhile, others need the surgery because of an accident affecting their lower limbs.
Often referred to as TKA, most patients who undergo the procedure experience a significant reduction in pain. Some patients, however, aren’t as lucky and still experience pain in their knees. If you’re among the unlucky few, your artificial knee may be more detrimental than helpful.
What’s great is that you can have it checked once you know the root cause of the pain. Read what we’ve prepared below to understand the common causes of pain after total knee replacement. Learn what to do to address the problems ASAP.
Aseptic loosening is the most common problem for people with prosthetic joints. It’s a common occurrence in hip joint replacements, but patients who went through knee surgery can suffer this, too. Many factors can cause it, from inadequate fixation to bone loss around the fixture.
Doctors can only classify the issue as aseptic loosening if there’s no evidence of sepsis. They ensure this is the case through radiological examinations and clinical trials. If they find no evidence of infection, they can rule it as aseptic loosening.
This happens when the implant faces everyday use, causing it to wear down. Given that the knee bends for movement, you can see why it’s a common cause of knee pain.
When faced with aseptic loosening, there are two ways a doctor can go about the issue. If it has something to do with inadequate fixation, they’ll reinforce the implant to fit the area. If they’re dealing with bone loss, they’ll fill the area with bone cement to prevent further damage.
Knee implants have some moving parts to account for the bending the joints do. Because of this, the moving parts, often plastic, wear down faster. The metal fixtures surrounding them will also wear down once the plastic parts do.
It often takes years before an implant wears down to become a problem. When it happens, though, expect to feel persistent pain every time they move. In extreme cases, they’ll loosen up and rub against your joints.
There are even cases where certain components become defective. These can lead to potentially massive damage to the implant or even the bone.
In regular cases, minimal surgery is what you need to fix the implant. If you’re suffering from the latter case, there’s not much you can do about it. You can only hope for something like the Exactech Recall 2022 lawsuit if it doesn’t cover the parts installed with your implant.
Feeling some pain is normal after you’ve undergone knee surgery. It’s even normal to feel pain as you go through physical therapy. Your body needs time to adjust to the new artificial fixture, after all.
However, if you still feel pain even after a full PT term, you may have some alignment issues. Some surgeries will cause a misaligned implant even with the help of modern technology. Often, it’s human error that causes the initial misalignment of the implant.
Alignment problems happen a lot more with total knee replacement surgeries. The knee needs to be perfectly aligned in all three dimensions to ensure stability. One misaligned factor can cause pain, instability, and poor functions.
You can tell if it’s a misalignment issue right from the get-go. Slow walks or even standing still can cause knee pains even weeks after completing your PT term. When this happens, you’ll need surgery again to realign the misplaced components.
Problems With the Kneecap
Patellofemoral problems remain challenging for patients who’ve undergone total knee arthroplasty. Many factors can cause these problems, with the patient’s gender even being an issue. Patient youth and BMI can also cause complications to the patellofemoral joint.
The main problem is that the joint sustains pressure when doing simple activities. Standing up from your chair or bending can stress the patellofemoral joint. When this happens, a host of other complications, including avascular necrosis, can follow.
When dealing with patellofemoral problems, you won’t feel pain at first. You’ll only feel immense pain once complications affect the surface of your implant. Undergoing revisionary surgery is common when you’ve become a victim of this joint complication.
You only have one nerve going through your knee. Called the peroneal nerve, it’s responsible for jerking your knee during a reflex test. Certain activities can cause your implants to pinch this nerve, resulting in an uncomfortable pain throughout your leg.
When you have a pinched nerve, pain isn’t always what you’ll feel. Some patients report numbness coupled with a tingling sensation. Other patients say the area feels weaker and is tender to the touch.
Dealing with this is rather straightforward. You can consult doctors and have them prescribe medications for the pain. The nerve will clear up eventually, so you need no surgery.
You can also go to a physical therapist for immediate relief. They can massage the area until the implant stops pinching the nerve.
Infections are the reason you need to report any pain you feel to your doctor. These often happen while the wound from the initial surgery is healing. It often comes out as redness, swelling, or pus-formation under the wound.
Infections are even more problematic when you feel pain weeks after the surgery. This means there’s been an infection festering and is only now causing pain in your joints. Subtle yet persistent discomforts are telltale signs of a festering infection, but people pass it off as an inconvenience from the surgery.
Talk to your doctor the moment you feel pain in your artificial knee. After some tests, they can conclude if they need to open the wound to clean it up, or if there’s nothing to worry about.
Care for Your Artificial Knee Today
Knowing what troubles your artificial knee is crucial in speeding up the recovery process. Learn about the common causes of pain after full knee replacement and realize what you can do about it. Care for yourself and your artificial knee today!
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