The most common cause of knee damage that leads to knee replacement is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the bones of the knee. It causes the surfaces of the knee joint to become irregular and rough, preventing smooth painless motion of the knee joint.
Knee joint replacement may be recommended for:
- Knee osteoarthritis, or arthritis, which causes knee pain that has failed to respond to conservative therapy (NSAID medication for 6 months or more)
- Decreased knee function caused by arthritis
- Inability to work because of knee pain
- Inability to sleep through the night because of knee pain
- Inability to walk more than 3 blocks because of knee pain
- Loose knee prosthesis
- Some knee fractures
Review Date 9/20/2022
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.