Why are knee replacements painful?

Written by James Lewis July 2017.

Well some are and some are not. This is fascinating. What are the factors that mean some patients have no pain following surgery? The observed pattern is lower weight patients, often men but sometimes women, have no pain. Yes, NO pain after knee replacement. In hip replacement surgery patients frquently tell me that thier pain goes immediately on the day of having the hip replacement. This does happen in knee replacements surgery too but some have pain from the surgery - but some don't. We have been looking in to this. It seems that there are three factors; the bone quality and how careful we are with the bone - interlinked with this is the degree of arthritis as arthritis "hardens" the bone, the soft tissues as in all surgery, and a positive psychology.

It goes without saying that the comfort providing medical regime of tablets should be tolerated. Those that can't take them (especially anti-inflammatories) for medical reasons such as significant renal failure and ulcers will have a hard time.

However the fact that some people have NO pain is really exciting - suppose all patients had no pain - how amazing would that be? Well we are excited and continue to evaluate and innovate to give comfort to as many people as possible. Last week of 8 knee replacement patients only one complained of pain - we are nearly there! In the 2 week follow up clinic similar story. Happy surgeon and happy patients.

Medical studies have frequently said patients without advanced arthritis have more pain which fits into our bone pain model and steps we take to avaoid bone pain at surgery. 

Exciting times. Thinking of knee replacement? What can you do to make things more comfortable in the recovery? From our work, loose weight and exercise more - walk a bit more even if it is sore. This leads to better bone quality and less force through the bone.