Repairing One Knee to Save Both

Our bodies feature many things that work in pairs–eyes, lungs, kidneys, and more. Generally speaking, when one of them is weak, the other can pick up the slack enough to ensure reasonable function and health. However, when the parts involved are supposed to share the load equally, this substitution strategy does not work.

Our knees are a good example. When one of them is diseased or injured, the extra work falls to the healthy knee. We lead with the healthy knee when walking up steps, we shift most of the weight to the good knee when standing still, and we lift ourselves from beds and chairs primarily with the good knee.

While we’re fortunate to be built with a temporary solution, too many of us use it as a permanent solution. In time, the healthy knee begins to suffer, and the person ends up with trouble in both knees instead of just one.

That is why it is important to take care of knee problems as soon as possible. When you begin to experience chronic pain in your knee, see your doctor. If necessary, request a referral to a good orthopedic surgeon who can make the determination of whether you need a knee replacement.

Of course, a bad knee doesn’t only create another bad knee. The physics of your body change completely when you begin to favor one knee, ankle, hip, or other joint. The imbalance causes your posture to change, leading to pain in your back, and the extra burden on the side with the good knee also creates problems for the hip and foot on that side, and even for the arm and shoulder.

Those are just the joint issues. Muscles can suffer as well. We all experience various types of muscle aches, and there are many different causes for them, but one obvious one is when we do not stand or walk normally due to a bad knee.

In time, achy muscles can force even more changes in the way we move. A limp caused by a bad knee leads to muscle pain in the lower back, which forces us to sit in an unusual position, leading us to twist our hips and spine unnaturally for long periods. We may also pull and push awkwardly with our arms many times a day, just trying to move around without the full use of the uncooperative knee. This can cause trouble with the elbows, shoulders, and back.

In time, all of those compensating areas begin to ache too, and we can quickly find ourselves struggling under an avalanche of orthopedic problems that could have all been avoided if we had taken action sooner to resolve the knee problem that started it all.

Sometimes there’s just no way to get around the need for surgery, as unpleasant as that prospect sounds. Nobody expects to be excited about surgery. It can be frightening and painful, and the recovery process can take a while.

But if you have a knee problem that obviously calls for such intervention, it can be much easier to cope with the process if you don’t focus on the short-term situation and instead keep your mind on the outcomes you’ll see after surgery. Besides, the procedures themselves and the recovery process have come a long way in the last few years. You’ll be up and about soon after surgery, and physical therapy will help you get back to normal function far faster than you probably expect.

Repairing a bad knee now will not just solve that problem, it will prevent many more. If you have a knee that aches enough that you try to shift your weight and movement to the other side of your body, you will find that a joint replacement will give you good results for your whole body.

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