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For those enduring chronic knee pain each day, it is natural to begin to wonder if surgery is a viable option. Whether it is an ACL, MCL, meniscus injury or an arthritic condition, many patients simply want to find long-term relief so that they can get back to an active lifestyle. While surgery may be an option for some, it is important for the patient to educate themselves on their condition and treatments available before deciding.

Below, renowned Orthopedic Surgeon and Chairman of the Total Joint Center at Valley Hospital, Dr. Nicholas Alexander, discusses 4 things patients should consider before surgery.

Have you tried physical therapy? – Surgery is almost never the first option and many conditions can be treated simply through physical therapy. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles and structures around the injury and often helps relieve pain. Cortisone shots, synthetic joint fluid injections and anti-inflammatory medications are also commonly used in conjunction with physical therapy.

Are you feeling constant pain? Most patients will find a noticeable increase in pain after physical or strenuous activity and it is important to know what is triggering this pain and where it originates. However, if pain exists even while resting, this may be a sign of an underlying bone or ligament condition and should be evaluated by a specialist. After all non-surgical treatments have been exhausted; surgery then may become an option.

Is it affecting your quality of life? – Patients often complain about struggling to pick up their children, climbing stairs, bending over or doing anything they were accustomed to doing.  These limitations can make patients feel make patients feel like they are a shell of who they once were.  For these patients, the long-term benefits of surgery should be considered.  By relieving the chronic pain, patients are able to return to the active and healthy lifestyle they once enjoyed.

Are you suffering from other health issues? – Obesity and smoking can exacerbate chronic knee pain. A specialist may suggest that a patient make some lifestyle choices before considering surgery. Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking or weight loss can reduce the amount of pain a patient is experiencing.

Dr. Nicholas Alexander is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with over 20 years experience treating disorders of the hip and knee.  Dr. Alexander is the founder of Mahwah Valley Orthopedic Associates and Chairman of the Total Joint Center at Valley Hospital. He specializes in hip and knee surgery and has offices in Mahwah and Clifton, His goal is to return patients back to a healthy and active lifestyle quickly and effectively by utilizing the latest advancements in hip and knee surgery.

If you or someone you love is experiencing chronic knee pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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