Once all non-surgical options have been tried for those suffering from knee pain and the associated disability, knee replacement surgery may be an option. For the elderly who have been offered this as a solution from their primary health care provider, fear and concern are often corresponding emotions. Helping your parent weigh in on all the possible positives and making sure that they have covered all the non-surgical options first will help them and you make an informed decision.

The Underlying Cause

Arthritis is the most common cause of knee-replacement surgery which is the most common joint replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis is the most common disease in the elderly that results in this surgery. It is also called degenerative joint disease and is the result of the breakdown of the cartilage that lies between joints, ultimately leading to bone rubbing against bone.

Other Options

Several lifestyle changes should be tried before surgery. Weight loss is the number one consideration due to the enormous pressure excess weight puts on joints. Exercise that strengthens the muscles around the joints and improves flexibility is also of benefit. Consider water aerobics—an exercise that takes the pressure off the joints while offering increasing flexibility and strength. Walking aids can help reduce the pressure on joints and medication may be recommended for the pain.


The good news is: If your parent has tried all the alternative options and their pain is still producing a lower quality of life and their doctor has offered surgery as a solution, surgery is often successful. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “90 percent of people who have total knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living.” Total knee replacement is one of the most successful procedures in medicine. Most of these patients are between the ages of 50 to 80.

Home Environment

If your loved one has decided to undergo surgery, help them recover by creating a safe environment when they return home. This includes installing grab bars in appropriate places such as the shower and by the toilet. Raise the toilet seat as well as chairs, if possible. Place a bench in the shower. If their bedroom is upstairs, rent a portable bed for the living room or a
bedroom downstairs for their recovery period. They will most likely be using a walker in the initial stage of healing. Make sure there are no tripping or slipping hazards such as throw rugs, wires or furniture that are creating obstacles. Consider obtaining the services of an elder care provider who can assist them with the daily activities of living during their healing stage.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Eagan, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.