3 signs you may be ready for a joint replacement

Understanding your health can help if you’re wondering if you need a hip or knee replacement.

If you’ve been living with joint pain due to arthritis, you may be wondering if you need a knee or hip replacement. When considering joint replacement surgery, there are a few ways you can determine if you’re ready to discuss it with your orthopedic provider.

Chad E. Smith, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Norton Orthopedic Institute, suggests thinking about the following three factors:


Does your pain in your hip or knee come and go? Does it occur only during strenuous activity? Or is it constant and interfering with daily life?

If your pain comes and goes, you’re likely not ready for surgery. The good news: There are some nonsurgical ways to get relief. These may include taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), steroid injections or physical therapy.

Age and activity

Next, think about your age and activity level. If you are active and would like to stay active for many years to come, a hip or knee replacement may make that possible. Surgeons are performing joint replacements on younger patients than they have in the past, however, surgery typically will not be considered until you are in your 50s. Also, unless X-rays show moderate to advanced arthritis in your knee or hip, nonsurgical treatment will be recommended.

Weight and overall health

Finally, how is the rest of your health, including your weight? Carrying extra weight is a big factor in knee or hip pain. Surgeons typically will not perform knee replacements on patients with a body mass index over 40, as it increases complications during and after surgery.

However, there are physical therapy programs tailored to help with weight loss while supporting and aiming to improve the painful joint. Your health provider can help you find a physical therapy or weight loss program to suit your needs.

Do you have heart disease or diabetes? Is your diabetes under control with an appropriate hemoglobin A1C level? Optimizing chronic medical conditions will be necessary prior to surgery.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re mentally prepared for a tough couple of weeks after surgery.

Can you push through pain during physical therapy as you work on strengthening and moving your new joint?

Norton Orthopedic Institute

If you feel it might be time to consider knee or hip replacement, contact the specialists at Norton Orthopedic Institute to schedule an appointment at one of seven locations in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area.

Call (502) 559-5500

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