Knees play a very important role in a person’s mobility. And with aging, it is becoming increasingly overused with excessive wear and tear. The reason for posing such extreme challenges on the knees with aging is very strongly connected to body weight. Knees are typically known to bear one and a half times of your body weight and this accounts for huge pressure on knees with every step that you take.
Walking and other exercises are of great help in preventing the concerns and pains before it worsens to an irreparable extent. The noisy crackle at the knee joints is an indication that it needs some artificial lubrication and remedy ‘Total Knee Replacement’ (TKR).
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the cases of TKR have risen up by three times in past two decades. But, when you feel the complaint, timely action makes a big impact.
This involves a preoperative assessment and some testing to evaluate the suitability of the surgery for the particular case. There can be potential complications which get noticed during this act. The Pre-Admission Test (PAT) should be done one or two weeks before the surgery. PAT typically includes:
- physical examination
- detailed questionnaire
- urine analysis and testing
- complete blood count (to rule out chances of anemia)
- coagulation testing (to determine whether your blood will clot normally)
- baseline metabolic analysis of kidneys, liver, and electrolyte status
- X-rays and MRI scan of the target knee
Depending on the age or health conditions, it is recommended to get an ECG (electrocardiogram) done to know that the heart is healthy for the treatment. Meeting with an anesthesiologist is also important to review family history. The pre-admission testing helps in bringing clarity about the patient’s history and increases the probability of successful treatment.
During this intermediate time, the doctor may even adjust your prescription including addition of new drugs like anticoagulants etc. Typically, your doctor will make you stop taking aspirin or other medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) one week prior to the procedure. This includes naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Do clarify any doubts that you may have to avoid any last minute issues popping up.
Exercises help in rehabilitation by strengthening the body muscles and enhancing the healing ability. This includes exercises for strengthening the upper body to be able to use the crutches after surgery as well as exercises to strengthen the muscles in the legs. Some of the common yet effective exercises include leg slides, heel slides, knee bends, lying kicks and ankle pumps.
Every medical treatment comes with its pros and cons. But the truth remains that there is no magic pill yet which can keep the pain away. But timely attention, weight management, exercise and lifestyle related changes, and a Knee Replacement Surgery on time as per doctor’s consultation can be a definite savior. So, get going with the right treatment for your knees on time before they begin to “crackle”.