At least 80% of my total knee replacement patients have lumbar spine and/or concurrent hip arthritis. Seeing that total knee replacement recovery/rehab is quite strenuous, our team is dedicated to our patients and not just their knees!
Lumbar spine disorders give rise to both low back pain and sciatica—pain radiating into the leg. When lumbar spine problems are significant, we turn to our spine-care specialists who manage those lumbar spine-related issues before total knee replacement surgery. In some cases, patients will benefit from lumbar spine cortisone injections; and in other cases, only lumbar surgery is suggested before embarking on a total knee replacement. Remember that after total knee replacement, you will be permitted to take powerful pain medicines during your total knee replacement recovery, and this may concurrently control your lumbar or hip arthritis pain.
Symptomatic hip arthritis is also a deterrent to total knee replacement recovery. The “textbook” says, “Always offer hip replacement before embarking on knee replacement.” I follow this advice and will reassure my patients that total hip replacement is a relatively nonevent—in fact, one-third as difficult as total knee replacement surgery and recovery. It is appropriate to wait 3 to 4 months after total hip replacement for total knee replacement.