Am I Too Young for a Knee Replacement?

Jun 01, 2022

Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces your painful, damaged knee joint with an artificial one. It’s one of the most effective solutions for severe knee arthritis that isn’t relieved with more conservative treatments.

In fact, orthopaedic surgeons perform about 800,000 knee replacements each year in the United States. It’s a popular procedure, but prosthetic joints don’t last forever. 

Knee replacement is most often recommended for older people, and if you’re younger than 60, you might wonder if you’re too young to consider it.

Our team at Cascade Orthopaedics is here to answer your questions. Joint replacement can offer benefits from pain relief to better mobility. And while there’s no age threshold for knee replacement, many factors go into deciding if this surgery is the best option for you. Here’s what you need to consider.

Consider the extent of your condition

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It develops when the cartilage that cushions your joints deteriorates, and it causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis typically starts after age 40, but certain factors could make arthritis start earlier or get worse faster. 

People in their 30s and 40s may suffer severe knee arthritis if they have a history of injury, have a job that requires repetitive motion, or they participate in intense physical activity. 

Conservative care can relieve symptoms for some people, but severe cases may necessitate advanced treatment like knee replacement.

Review your treatment history

There are many treatment options for knee arthritis that don’t involve joint replacement surgery. We typically recommend trying conservative treatments to see what works before we recommend surgery.

Some nonsurgical arthritis treatment options are:

  • Activity modification
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Bone marrow concentrate therapy
  • Joint injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
  • Weight loss

A combination of these treatments can relieve symptoms of knee arthritis for many people. But if you’ve tried nonsurgical treatment and you still have severe knee pain, joint replacement may be a good option for you.

Evaluate your age

If you’re younger than 60 and you have severe knee arthritis that isn’t relieved with nonsurgical care, it might be time to consider joint replacement. Weigh your options and find an orthopaedic surgeon you trust to help you make your decision.

Every case is unique, and our surgeons can review the pros and cons of joint replacement surgery with you. Artificial knee joints are durable, but they don’t last forever.

To get the most from your knee replacement, you need to follow recovery guidelines carefully. Participate in physical therapy after surgery, and do all your stretches and exercises as recommended. Refrain from high-impact activities to extend the life of your artificial joint.

About 90% of knee replacements last 10 years, and 80% last 20 years with proper care. Depending on your age and activity level, you may need to have the joint replaced again in your lifetime, so talk with our team about what you can expect.

Severe knee arthritis pain doesn’t have to limit your life. Contact us to find out more about joint replacement and other treatment options with our specialists at Cascade Orthopaedics, located in Auburn and Bonney Lake, Washington.