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6 Conditions that May Require Total Knee Replacement Surgery

15th Jun 2023 | 0 comments

During total knee replacement surgery, the injured knee joint is replaced with an artificial one,  typically made from metal or plastic components. It is usually done after conservative treatment options have been exhausted.

So, you may be wondering just when and under what  circumstances is a total knee replacement surgery necessary? Let’s explore six conditions that may warrant this treatment and precautions you can take to prevent your knee injury becoming worse.


Osteoarthritis is one of the most common reasons for considering total knee replacement surgery. When the protective cartilage that buffers the ends of bones wears with time, it causes discomfort, inflammation, and restricted movement. 

Over time, as the condition progresses, the pain can worsen and affect a person’s quality of life. A total knee replacement might be recommended when conservative treatments like physical therapy and medication no longer provide relief.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It causes chronic joint inflammation, particularly in the knees. This inflammation can cause joint injury and cartilage loss over time. 

People with rheumatoid arthritis might experience severe pain, stiffness, and joint deformities. When the joint damage becomes severe and significantly affects daily activities, a total knee replacement surgery could be a viable option to alleviate the pain and improve joint function.

Traumatic Injury

A traumatic injury, such as a severe fracture or dislocation of the knee joint, can result in irreparable damage to the joint structures. Even with proper medical intervention and rehabilitation, some injuries can lead to long-term joint instability, pain, and decreased mobility. 

In cases where the damage is extensive and traditional treatments are ineffective, a total knee replacement surgery might be considered to restore function and alleviate pain.

Post-traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis develops after a significant joint injury or trauma. When the injury disrupts the joint’s natural mechanics or damages the cartilage, it can lead to joint degeneration over time. 

Cartilage damage can result in pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion. If the symptoms become severe and impact daily life, a total knee replacement surgery could be an appropriate treatment to restore joint function and alleviate discomfort.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis, or osteonecrosis, occurs when the blood supply to a bone is disrupted, leading to bone tissue death. This condition can affect the knee joint, causing pain and limiting movement. If left untreated, avascular necrosis can result in joint collapse and arthritis. 

In cases where the joint damage is extensive and conservative treatments are inadequate, a total knee replacement surgery might be necessary to restore function and prevent further complications.

Ligament Injuries

Ligaments play a crucial role in stabilising the knee joint. Severe ligament injuries, such as a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or multiple ligament tears, can result in joint instability and increased wear and tear on the joint surfaces. Excessive wear and tear can eventually lead to arthritis and chronic pain. 

When ligament reconstruction and other treatments cannot restore stability and function, a total knee replacement surgery might be considered to address the underlying joint issues.

Precautions You Can Take

While total knee replacement surgery can benefit individuals with severe knee conditions, some conservative treatments can be explored first.

1. Physical Therapy

Skilled physical therapists can design personalised exercise programs that strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improve joint flexibility, and enhance overall joint stability. 

These exercises can also help maintain or regain a proper range of motion, essential for preventing further joint degeneration.

2. Pain Management Techniques

Pain relief techniques like ice or heat application can temporarily relieve discomfort. Cold therapy with ice packs can help reduce swelling and numb the area, while heat therapy can relax muscles and increase blood circulation to the affected area.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can also help manage pain and inflammation. However, it would be best to speak to your healthcare provider before using any medication.

3. Weight Management

Excess body weight places stress on the knee joint, contributing to pain and joint degeneration. By managing your weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise, you can reduce the load on your knees and alleviate discomfort.

A registered dietitian can assist you in creating a personalised weight management plan that supports your overall health and joint function.

4. Assistive Devices like Braces

Assistive devices, such as knee braces or orthotics, can provide additional support to the knee joint and help alleviate symptoms. Knee braces can help stabilise the joint, reduce pain, and improve overall function. They are particularly useful for individuals with ligament injuries or mild to moderate joint instability.

Despite the above precautions, it is still possible for your condition to worsen. In that case, it might be time to discuss the possibility of a total knee replacement with your healthcare provider.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore

A total knee replacement surgery is a viable option for individuals who experience severe knee pain, limited mobility, and reduced quality of life. Still, it’s essential to exhaust conservative treatment options and consult with medical professionals before deciding. 

With Spire Orthopaedic Centre, you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment to make the best decision. Contact us for a consultation.