What are the Most Common Knee Replacement Problems?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure for individuals who have had the interior workings of a knee damaged. Parts of the knee are replaced with artificial surface, but this usually does not occur without the chance of knee replacement problems. These can include infection, nerve damage, dislocation of the joint, and development of blood clots.

As the procedure is very invasive, recovery is often a long and painful process that requires physical therapy, proper exercise, and care of the joint. Not following the directions of physical therapists and medical professionals involved in the surgery and rehabilitation can increase the chances of knee replacement problems. The development of severe knee replacement problems can result in undergoing the procedure again.

Not regaining full range of motion with the knee that has been replaced is a common problem. After the surgery, the individual will typically go through a number of physical therapy sessions and be given exercises to do at home. Following instructions carefully will help ensure as close to a full range of motion as possible, but some individuals will find a severe loss of motion even after following these directions. In some cases, this can become aggravated if the joints of the knee are not aligned with exacting precision during the surgery.


In some cases, an individual may fracture the bone around the knee replacement. This may or may not be a condition that can be fixed with surgery, as it depends on where the fracture is. Over the long term, there can also be knee replacement problems with the inserted material separating from the patient's natural bone tissue. There may also be a wearing down of this replacement tissue, similar to the wear and tear that caused the knee damage originally.

An individual's physical condition before the surgery can also impact the development of knee replacement problems after the surgery. If the individual is overweight or has a preexisting blood condition, it may make him or her more likely to develop blood clots during the recovery period. Since movement can be limited while the knee heals, it isn't uncommon for these clots to form. For patients at a high risk for blood clots, blood thinning medications may be administered or adjusted. Unfortunately, if this condition is not balanced properly, it is possible for the individual to suffer from bleeding from the surgical area after the procedure has been completed.

The knee can also become infected, either during surgery or during the recovery process. If there is an infection in another area of the body, such as from a cut, dental work, or illness, it is possible that the bacteria from this infection can travel to the knee. Most medical professionals will ensure that the patient is otherwise healthy before performing the operation in order to cut down on the chances of this happening.



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