Pain after a knee replacement surgery may vary from patient to patient, and may last anywhere between three and six months. However, experiencing excessive pain beyond this period may mean that an individual is suffering from chronic pain.
Needless to say, this can be devastating for anyone. After all, the very purpose of undergoing a joint replacement procedure is to get one’s daily functioning back on track and free a patient from their knee problems. But this is not always the case for some people.
For instance, patients who were implanted with the defective Exactech knee, ankle, and hip implants have experienced complications years after their undergoing the surgical procedure. As a result,they required additional revision surgery to correct the damage associated with the implants, such as swelling, severe pain, and instability, to name a few.
The manufacturer Exactech has recently recalled thousands of its joint replacement products because of these issues. However, it may be too late for those who have been experiencing problems with the implants for so long. Today, patients who have been implanted with the devices and have subsequently sustained injuries are now filing an Exactech lawsuit.
Plaintiffs claim that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the complications or issues that their products may cause, given the knee failure rates associated with the devices.
Tht said, a total knee replacement surgery is a major procedure. And although it is one of the most successful surgical procedures in modern medicine, it is important that any patient has realistic expectations regarding their recovery period.
Read on to learn more about how long knee replacement pain may last after surgery and what causes it.
What can cause knee pain years after a knee replacement?
There is no single cause of pain after a knee surgery. Experts believe that it may be due to a number of biological factors already present before the procedure, while others stem from complications that arise during surgery.
For instance, one biological contributing factor to persistent pain may be arthritis, which a patient may have already suffered from even before the surgery. Having arthritis increases the likelihood of experiencing increased sensitivity after the procedure.
Other sources of pain may be allergy-related problems and referred pain, which is pain in other parts of the body aside from the knee.
However, if one experiences ongoing pain without a history of arthritis or other conditions that are mentioned, then the pain may be due to surgical complications.
On the surgical side, the most common causes of pain after knee surgery include:
- Knee instability
- Loosening of the implant
- Alignment problems
- Knee stiffness
- Nerve injuries
If your pain is not getting better after the initial postoperative period, it is important to be honest with your doctors about symptoms you are experiencing. This will help the both of you come up with the best treatment plan for pain management.
Is it normal to still have pain 6 weeks after knee replacement?
Yes, it is perfectly normal to still have pain 6 weeks after knee replacement. In fact, the knee will still be sore at this point. Your doctor may manage this with physiotherapy, ice packs, and oral pain medications.
It is worth noting, however, that rehabilitation exercises may also contribute to the soreness in your knee. Over time, the intensity of exercises may put strain on the muscles and joints that were unused for a certain period of time.
Postoperative swelling is another main source of pain for many patients. And although it is uncommon, patients can continue to have chronic knee pain that may last anywhere between three to six months and even for a year. Chronic pain is defined as ongoing pain that typically lasts for more than six months.
It is a type of pain that affects around 20% of knee replacement surgery patients. The condition can worsen in the next weeks and months after surgery. However, one does not have to be discouraged and just put up with the pain.
If there is still excessive pain beyond the three to six month period, one should have their condition evaluated by a doctor. There is a wide array of treatment options that may ease chronic pain following knee replacement.
How do you get rid of pain after knee replacement?
Depending on what may be causing your pain, the doctor may recommend the following treatment options:
- Non-invasive methods
- Pain medications
- Knee injections
- Revision surgery
Non-invasive remedies for knee replacement pain include cold or hot compresses, physical therapy, and knee braces. Applying ice packs is very effective in reducing swelling and inflammation in the sore area of the knee and the surrounding tissue.
Your doctor may also ask you to wear a knee brace. If they do so, wear it. A knee brace helps stabilize your movement and prevent unnecessary strain.
A formal physical therapy is another treatment option that involves select exercises and manual stretching that can help a patient improve their range of motion.
A certain degree of pain is normal for many knee replacement patients and this tends to reduce over time. However, for those with persisting severe pain, a doctor may recommend stronger pain medications such as tramadol (Ultram) and oxycodone (OxyContin).
If the pain diminishes after several weeks, you may need over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help ease temporary pain later on. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
Corticosteroid injections are the most common knee injections. Doctors inject these directly into the knee joint to provide rapid relief to the affected area. Aside from providing quick relief, knee injections also do not have many side effects unlike other medications.
The downside, however, is that its effects are temporary and will only reduce pain for about one to six months. Doctors do not recommend receiving more than one shot per year.
In cases where pain does not respond to any other treatment options, the last resort is a revision surgery. Knee replacement revision surgery is a procedure where a failed knee implant is replaced with a new prosthesis.
This reoperation may involve the replacement of some parts or all components of an individual’s previous knee prosthesis. This additional surgery, however, is more complicated as it utilizes specialized tools and also requires longer recovery time.
Do you have an implant-related knee pain?
If severe pain persists after knee replacement surgery, it is imperative to seek treatment to avoid further complications. If your doctor has evaluated your condition and determined that a defective implant caused your chronic pain, you might want to check if the product used in your initial knee surgery has been subject to a recall by its manufacturer or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is possible to see the product identification by getting in touch with the medical records department of the hospital where you underwent surgery.
If you have received an Exactech knee, ankle, and hip implant that has failed prematurely, your other best option is to talk to an attorney.
Although the idea of taking part in a legal battle may be overwhelming at first, we are here to take that pressure off of you. We can get you in touch with reliable and experienced Exactech attorneys who can evaluate your case and inform you about your legal rights.
Do not hesitate to contact us today to know more about your legal options regarding your Exactech lawsuit.