Medical Library: Knee – Knee Replacement

Sometimes, joints wear out or are damaged beyond the point of repair, and in these cases, for certain joints, complete replacement is needed. The knee is the most commonly replaced joint in the body. The decision to have knee replacement surgery is one that you should make after consulting with your orthopedic surgeon and your physical therapist. Usually, total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is performed when people have:

  • Knee joint damage due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, other bone diseases, or fracture
  • Knee pain or alignment problems in the leg that cause difficulty with walking, performing daily activities, or life tasks

A total knee replacement (TKR) involves removing the ends of the bones at the knee joint (the tibia, sometimes called “shin bone”) and the femur (thigh bone) and replacing them with artificial parts. Replacement parts consist of a metal cap placed on the end of the femur and a plastic cap placed on the top of the shin-bone. Sometimes, a plastic insert is used to replace the kneecap.

Your physical therapist can help ensure that your TKR will be successful by providing evaluation and treatment before and after surgery.