5 signs you may need a knee replacement

More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, and an aging population will continue to drive that number up. If knee pain is affecting your daily life, it might be time to ask your physician about a knee replacement.

Before you take another pain reliever, consider these five signs from Dr. Stephen Incavo, an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist, that suggest it’s time for a knee replacement.

Sign #1: Decrease in activity level or quality of life

Knee pain should not affect your daily routine or prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities. If you experience in a decrease in activity level or quality of life, talk to your doctor.

Sign #2: Pain and/or stiffness at night

If you dread the evening because your knees begin to stiffen up or become painful, you might be a good candidate for a knee replacement.

“Some patients will only have knee pain or stiffness at night, so they think they don’t need a knee replacement. It isn’t normal to be unable to sleep at night due to knee pain.”

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Sign #3: Non-surgical options no longer help

In some cases, your physician may recommend trying non-surgical options, such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medicine, to provide pain relief. If the non-surgical treatment doesn’t help or stops helping, don’t hesitate to go back for a visit.

“Don’t wait too long after non-surgical options stop helping to come back in. The goal is to get you back to a happy, pain-free life, but you have to tell your doctor when something isn’t working for you.”

Sign #4: Future prognosis is not good

For many, your knee pain slowly erodes activity level or quality of life. But if the condition of your knee will continue to worsen, why wait? 

“So many patients with arthritis know they will eventually need a knee replacement, but think they aren’t ready for it yet. But think about your current situation. Ask yourself if you want to enjoy your present years or wait until you’re older and potentially lose all mobility.”

Sign #5: The first replacement has not helped

Unfortunately, not all knee replacements function properly and may require a revision surgery to correct the problem. 

Reviewed by Dr. Stephen Incavo
Hannah Pietsch

Hannah Pietsch

Media relations coordinator at Houston Methodist
Hannah Farr Pietsch is originally from Stamping Ground, Kentucky. She now lives in Katy with her husband, Don. She is an avid University of Kentucky Wildcats and Houston Texans fan who is on a quest to find the best Vietnamese food in Houston.
Hannah Pietsch

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Hannah Pietsch

Hannah Farr Pietsch is originally from Stamping Ground, Kentucky. She now lives in Katy with her husband, Don. She is an avid University of Kentucky Wildcats and Houston Texans fan who is on a quest to find the best Vietnamese food in Houston.

  • cathy pittsnogle

    i have already done the shots therapy gel injected in my knee then i was diagnosed with pvs but the dr said it wasn;t the color he expected i have been diagnosed with osteoarthritus previous broken bone that i didn’t know i had a a good etnd no maniscus so what options do i have i have a lot of pain when i climb or come down steps i can not put my foot flat my knee is three times the size of my other need i’m lucky i get
    hours sleep at nigh