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What Is the Best Age to Have a Knee Replacement?

June 3, 2022
A patient holds a pained knee

When patients experience knee pain, one solution might be knee replacement surgery. But what is the best age to have a knee replacement? Since not all knee pain springs from the same source, your individual diagnosis is an important element. Other factors include your current mobility and pain levels, as well as the prognosis. Orthopedics physicians at Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island, NY, offer information to help patients decide whether they are at the right age for knee replacement.

Factors to Consider with Knee Replacement Surgery

The most important factor for anyone considering knee replacement, regardless of age, is whether they can handle their usual and daily activities. Are you able to walk, run, or ride a bike? Can you go to work comfortably, does the knee pain affect the performance of your job? If you are considering knee replacement surgery, there likely are negative answers to some of these questions.

Another factor is the level of treatment you have received so far. Did you undergo physical therapy? Regularly doing the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist for strength and flexibility is another way to moderate pain in some cases. Did you try weight loss? Putting less weight on your joints can reduce pain. Non-surgical treatment also includes medication, such as anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections.

Your overall health, as well as the condition of your knee, also should be discussed with your medical team. Are you able to undergo surgery? Are there risk factors for your individual health profile that should be weighed? Knee pain is commonly attributed to either trauma or arthritis. Severe trauma may leave little choice except to replace the joint. Arthritis often worsens over time, but patients of any age may have specific arthritis or other autoimmune diagnoses that might recommend knee replacement.

Is There an Optimal Age for Knee Replacement Surgery?

Most knee replacement surgeries are performed on patients who are between the ages of 50 and 70, but obviously, there are exceptions. There is no one rule for everybody in medicine. Our bodies are different enough from each other that medical care is individualized.

However, one reason that the surgery usually is performed on patients older than 50 has to do with the prosthetic devices. Currently, most prosthetic knee replacements last 15 to 20 years; after that the replacement knee parts may wear out and loosen. Because of this, younger patients who receive knee replacements likely will need an additional, future knee replacement surgery.

Does Your Age Make You a Candidate for Knee Replacement Surgery?

Patients in their 80s are receiving knee replacements and reporting good results. Patients younger than 50, who are athletes, have experienced trauma in the joint from accident or overuse, or have received early diagnoses of severe arthritis also have opted to receive a knee replacement. However, sometimes these younger patients are advised to avoid physical activities that may cause too much wear on the prosthetic.

On the other hand, many patients might be waiting too long for knee replacement surgery, and this can affect the outcome. If the joint has significant deterioration, the surgical procedure might be more difficult to perform. Worsening joints also affect mobility over time, inhibiting the patient’s ability to get enough physical exercise. Lack of exercise affects overall strength and health. And it is important to be in good health prior to surgery. Sufficient strength and flexibility before knee replacement surgery positively affect the success of follow-up rehabilitation and recovery programs.

Consult with Orthopedic Physicians at Richmond University Medical Center

So, exactly what is the best age to have a knee replacement? The answer is that it depends on the conditions and activities of the patient. The best way to decide is to get expert medical advice from your medical team. They can help you weigh the various factors involved with making this potentially life-expanding decision.

At Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island, NY, you will find orthopedic physicians and physical therapists who offer up-to-date treatments and care for successful outcomes of knee replacement surgery. Examine their orthopedics and sports medicine brochure and patient guide for more information, or contact us today.