As you age, the cartilage in your knee joint wears down. This may cause activities you once enjoyed to become difficult to get through due to pain. You can take medications or supplements to help your joint pain subside but you may also benefit from seeing an occupational therapist who can help you decrease pain in your knee and improve your overall range of motion and joint health without medication!
Your orthopedic doctor may talk to you about knee replacement surgery if you suffer from knee joint degeneration and pain that is too severe to treat with conventional care methods like physical therapy exercises for knee pain. Knee replacement can be a great option for some patients who suffer from significant bone on knee friction syndrome symptoms with no hope of getting better with natural conservative treatment.
Like any major surgery, there are risks involved with knee replacement, specially in the elderly. The likelihood of complications during or after the surgery increases with age, so your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits of knee replacement surgery. Although rare side effects and reactions can occur with any medical procedure or treatment involving anesthesia (surgery) some risk of heart attack exists immediately after surgery and for a few days after the procedure as well which can be minimized / prevented by following post op instructions carefully and understanding your limitations.
According to senior facilities like www.carltonseniorliving.com/community/fremont/ that usually have patients in need of this treatment have said that seniors who undergo knee replacement are more independent and less reliant on assistance compared to people who do not receive this surgery. A study conducted on over 12,000 Medicare patients who had either received a knee or hip replacement between certain periods of time revealed that those who received joint replacement fared better two years after the surgeries than those who did not opt for this procedure. In fact it was found that the average functional improvement among the group who received the procedure was double that of individuals who did not have this treatment done on their knees and hips respectively despite having the similar age.