International Orthopaedics June 2012, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1185–1189

Causes of a painful total knee arthroplasty. Are patients still receiving total knee arthroplasty for extrinsic pathologies?

Al-Hadithy, N., Rozati, H., Sewell, M.D. et al.


Whilst patients undergoing total knee replacements generally have good relief of their symptoms, up to 20% complain of persisting pain. Revision rates have therefore been rising, particularly so for unexplained pain. We reviewed the causes of painful total knee replacements including extrinsic causes.


Forty-five consecutive patients referred to our department with painful total knee replacement were reviewed with our standard protocol, including history and examination, inflammatory markers and radiological studies including radiographs of the hip and knee and computed tomography scan of the knee joint.


Of the 45 patients, 15 patients had degenerative hip and lumbar spine disease which resolved after injections of the relevant joints. Nine patients had unexplained pain.


Patients may still be undergoing knee arthroplasty for degenerative lumbar spine and hip osteoarthritis. We suggest heightened awareness at pre- and post-operative assessment and thorough history and examination with the use of diagnostic injections to identify the cause of pain if there is doubt.

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