10 Signs You Need Knee Replacement Surgery

Severe knee pain affecting daily tasks? Discover the top signs for knee replacement surgery and the surgery price in Ireland.

Some creaking or discomfort is normal as we age. Our bodies wear down, joints become cranky, and it takes us a while to get going. (Although exercise, stretching, and a good diet can help!) What’s not normal is constant pain, deformity, or swelling in the knee.

Even into your twilight years, people should be able to get around easily. If you struggle with basic tasks or movements because of your knee, you may require surgery.

But how do you know if it’s just a normal achy joint or a severe sign of knee degeneration? Below, we explore the top ten signs you need surgery (and we’ll also talk a little about your surgical options).

10 Signs You Need Knee Replacement Surgery

  1. You’re struggling with severe pain
  2. Your knee is always swollen
  3. Your knee is deformed
  4. You get no relief from other treatments
  5. You feel constantly stiff
  6. You’re unable to complete normal tasks
  7. You can’t fully straighten or bend your leg
  8. You feel moderate or severe pain at rest
  9. You want to get back to normal
  10. You are healthy enough to undergo surgery

1. You’re Struggling with Severe Pain

Pain is never normal. If you’re experiencing any knee pain, it’s a good sign that you’ve got osteoarthritis (or joint wear-and-tear). Ask your doctor for an x-ray (or CT scan) to confirm the diagnosis.

In some cases, the joint degeneration is so severe the only treatment is a total knee replacement. Consider your options if your pain is extremely severe, e.g., it keeps you up at night or prevents normal function.


2. Is Always Swollen

Pain is just one common symptom – the other is swelling. Occasional swelling is normal – especially after an injury. However prolonged swelling that does not subside with medication and conservative treatment is a cardinal sign of significant underlying damage.

If combined with a fever, you should seek immediate medical treatment (this is a sign of infectious arthritis). In most people, however, it will only swell after significant activity, e.g., running, hiking, or jumping.

3. Your Knee is Deformed

Certain deformities can only be treated with surgery. For example:

  • Valgus or varus deformity refers to ‘knock-knees’ or ‘bow-leggedness,’ respectively, and occurs when the knee is at an angle.
  • Hyperextension deformity occurs when the leg extends beyond its normal range.
  • Post-traumatic deformity is an adverse effect from a fracture or traumatic injury that prevents normal function.
  • Rotational deformity involves the abnormal rotation of the joint.

4. You Get No Relief from Other Treatments

Common treatments involve physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen), or joint injections (e.g., corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid). For the majority of patients with mild or moderate osteoarthritis, these treatments are adequate.

However, osteoarthritis (and some other conditions) are degenerative. Over time, the joint will continue to degrade, meaning surgery is inevitable.

5. You Feel Constantly Stiff

Constant stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged period, is a cardinal sign of chronic, severe arthritis. If not accompanied by pain, some individuals can manage this symptom. However, it will not resolve without surgical intervention.


6. You’re Unable to Complete Normal Tasks

Not technically a “symptom” or “sign,” it is a major diagnostic factor for surgery. Normal tasks, or activities of daily living (ADLs), constitute the best indicator for surgery. Examples include:

  • Difficulty or inability to walk short distances without severe pain.
  • Struggling or being unable to ascend or descend stairs normally.
  • Experiencing pain or difficulty when trying to stand up from a seated position.
  • Finding it painful or challenging to sit down, particularly in low chairs or toilets.
  • Inability to kneel down or squat without severe discomfort.
  • Being unable to engage in exercise or recreational activities due to pain and stiffness.

7. You Can’t Fully Straighten or Bend Your Leg

Your knee has only one primary axis of movement: it can bend. If your joint cannot fully straighten or bend, it indicates significant underlying degeneration. Only joint replacement surgery will improve this symptom.

8. You Feel Moderate or Severe Pain at Rest

Pain at rest is usually a bad sign of joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of pain and stiffness at rest. However, other causes (that may indicate surgical intervention) include rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

Speak to your doctor if you experience this symptom, as you could also have bursitis, tendinitis, or a joint infection.

9. You Want to Get Back to Normal

Fed up with pain and discomfort? Want to play with your grandchildren, get back into golf, or just go for a walk with your dog?

Knee replacement surgery comes with a recovery period and several months of physiotherapy to get back to normal. Surgery isn’t always the best option unless you’re committed to returning to normal.


10. Your Healthy Enough to Undergo Surgery

Knee replacements are an invasive surgery (although modern techniques mitigate this). You should be healthy enough to undergo a general anesthetic and a surgical procedure without significant risks.

That could mean taking a little time before the surgery to get yourself in tip-top condition, e.g., losing weight, quitting smoking, and lowering other risks.

Choose Kardiolita for Your Knee Replacement Surgery

The average knee surgery price in Ireland is €12,500. That’s without counting the costs of pre-and post-operative care and treatment. In short, patients can expect to spend a significant amount to regain their independence and health.

There is another option: Kardiolita Hospital. Our Lithuania-based hospital delivers comparable results to Irish hospitals (if not better) at a fraction of the cost. In fact, our treatments cost approximately 10% of the alternative.

You can expect your knee replacement surgery cost to include preoperative test, surgery, full medical care, hospital stay (including 5 daily meals), all your medicals, and even assistance organizing your trip.4

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