Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS is currently experiencing an unprecedented backlog of patients waiting for procedures. Almost 100,000 patients saw their knee replacement operations cancelled during the first wave of the pandemic alone.
With experts predicting it could take up to a decade to deal with the backlog of patients, focusing on reducing the need for a knee replacement has become a top priority. So, how can the need for a knee replacement be reduced?
Knee replacement prevention #1: Maintaining a healthy weight
In previous studies, the only risk factor that was found to be reversible was BMI (Body Mass Index). Patients who have a BMI increase of 4 points for example, are twice as likely to go on to require a knee replacement. This means, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for patients looking to delay surgery.
When you are overweight, it places increased pressure onto the joint. This causes it wear down more quickly than it otherwise would. Losing weight doesn’t just reduce the need for surgery, it also helps to greatly reduce pain.
Knee replacement prevention #2: Joint injections
Cortisone injections can help to ease aches and pains caused by arthritis in the knee. However, they aren’t suitable for everyone. They work by eliminating the inflammation around the joint and are commonly used as a first line of treatment.
It is worth noting that these injections are not a permanent fix. The length of time they provide relief for can also differ between six weeks up to six months.
Knee replacement prevention #3: Exercising regularly
Exercising regularly can help you to minimise the need for a knee replacement. Not only does it help you to manage your weight, but it also strengthens the joint and improves mobility. While it can be tempting to avoid exercising the joint due to any pain experienced, doing so can actually relieve the pain and help to keep you mobile.
Did you know that exercising releases synovial fluid, helping to loosen and lubricate the joints? Aim to partake in low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking.
Knee replacement prevention #4: MBST treatment
Another type of treatment that could reduce the need for a knee replacement is MBST. The device looks like an MRI machine, and it utilises the body’s own electromagnetic energy to repair cartilage and tissue.
When used to treat knee issues early, it could totally prevent the need for surgery. In more advanced cases, it can help to reduce pain, reverse damage, and aid in mobility. This in turn will delay the need for surgery.
For more advice on knee replacement surgery, book a consultation with Mr Jonathon Webb today.