Is it time to get your knee replaced?

There's no need to spend another day in pain.

Is it time for knee surgery?

posted on 8/5/2020 in BLOGS from St. Anthony

Picture it…it’s a beautiful warm sunny day in Iowa and you’re enjoying the outdoors, but after a while, you feel that nagging familiar pain in your knee and have to stop what you’re doing. If this scene sounds familiar it might be time to consider a knee replacement. If you’ve put off getting your knee replaced, there’s no need to spend another day in pain. Knee surgery is a common and safe procedure, in fact, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 790,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. Furthermore, according to one study, this number could rise to 1.2 million by 2030.


According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability is arthritis. Although there are many types of arthritis, most knee pain is caused by just three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis. This is an age-related "wear and tear" type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis often results in bone rubbing on bone. Bone spurs are a common feature of this form of arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed "inflammatory arthritis."

Post-traumatic Arthritis. This can follow a serious knee injury. Fractures of the bones surrounding the knee or tears of the knee ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.

When Surgery Is Recommended

There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery. People who benefit from total knee replacement often have:

  • Severe knee pain or stiffness that limits everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. It may be hard to walk more than a few blocks without significant pain and it may be necessary to use a cane or walker
  • Moderate or severe knee pain while resting, either day or night
  • Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve with rest or medications
  • Knee deformity — a bowing in or out of the knee
  • Failure to substantially improve with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy, or other surgeries.

Prior to Surgery: Joint Replacement Class

One of the first steps to a new joint is to attend one of St. Anthony’s Joint Replacement Classes. This class gives you helpful information about preparing for your surgery, adapting your home for recovery, and knowing what to expect following surgery.

Patients are encouraged to make plans to attend a class a few weeks, or even a few months, before surgery, if possible. Evidence shows that those who have attended a joint class early, and prepared for surgery by doing the recommended exercises, have the best results. Even if your surgery is not yet scheduled, but you know joint replacement is in your future, plan to attend a class so that you can feel confident about your surgery.

Joint Class Schedule:

To join a class, please call the Pre-Admission Office at (712) 794-5733 to RSVP your attendance at a Joint Class, or email Check the online schedule for an upcoming date.

Preparing for Surgery

Before your surgery, you will be contacted by a nurse from the St. Anthony Surgery Pre-Admission office to confirm the date and details of your procedure. The pre-admission nurse will talk with you by phone to review what is needed to prepare for surgery. The preadmission nurse will also make sure that all the necessary preoperative tests have been done and will conduct a complete review of your medical history. This is the time to discuss any special needs you may have, such as translation services, transportation, or necessary items to bring for your stay.

Specialized Orthopedic Care Includes:

  • A dedicated unit caring for patients in St. Anthony Hospital for total joint or other orthopedic care.
  • A team of physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and other staff who are specially trained in caring for orthopedic patients.
  • Physical and occupational therapy provided in the unit that includes a full range of rehabilitation services.
  • Proven patient care paths based on orthopedic best practices.
  • Individualized treatment plans administered by the staff and supervised by the surgeon to include pre-operative education and post-operative exercise.
  • Focus on patient involvement throughout the recovery process.

Currently, more than 90% of modern total knee replacements are still functioning well 15 years after the surgery. Elective surgeries can easily be performed safely and if you’re a good candidate for knee replacement surgery now might be a good time for an evaluation so you and your care team can determine the right course of action for surgery, post-recovery, and physical therapy so you can live your best life. Whether recovering from an injury or deciding to have a knee or hip replacement, orthopedic patients have unique needs that St. Anthony Regional Hospital can meet. Located on the 3rd floor, across the walkway from the main hospital, St. Anthony’s Orthopedic Unit offers each patient spacious, private rooms, with staff who are dedicated to providing the best care to orthopedic patients. Visit us online today or call us today! (712) 792-3581. Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook.



  1. capital orthopaedics & sports medicine
  2. knee
  3. orthopedics
  4. surgery

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