The knee is a hinge joint where the large bone in your lower leg (tibia) connects with the end of the thigh bone (femur). A healthy knee has smooth cartilage that covers the end of the tibia and the end of the femur. The smooth cartilage allows the two bones to glide together when you bend your knee.
Severe pain and decreased movement can result when the cushion of cartilage wears away in a knee joint affected by osteoarthritis or other diseases. As a result, the joint bones rub against eac
h other becoming rough, pitted, and irritated. Many times the answer for this condition is a knee replacement. The diseased knee joint is replaced with an artificial knee joint called a prosthesis.
At St. Vincent's HealthCare, approximately 1,400 knee replacements are done each year. The average hospital stay is three days, with an average time of one to two months before the patient can return to work.