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When Knee Surgery May Not Be for You continued...

Other medical problems. Do you have heart or lung problems, diabetes, or blood clots? It may raise the chances of complications from your surgery. You'll need to get these under control before you can make a decision about knee replacement.

Other reasons for your joint trouble. "Is your knee really causing your pain?" Lajam says. "Sometimes you get pain from the low back that causes your knee pain. Sometimes people with bad hip arthritis have pain in the knee." Work with your doctor to make sure you've found the real reason you hurt. If you don't, your knee may still bother you just as much months after surgery.

Get Ready

Are you getting a new knee? Here are a few things to know:

Line up some help. You won't be able to drive or get around for several weeks, so you'll need someone to do your errands and everyday chores. Make sure you've got a support system in place. "I ask people: Do you have pets?" Lajam says. "Do you have stairs? Who does your shopping? Think about these things now so you're not worrying about your cat when you're trying to recover."

Plan to make changes. Keep up with your physical therapy so your joint and muscles get strong and heal. Even after you recover from surgery, you may have to make a few lifestyle changes. If your weight wasn't healthy before, it's a good idea to get fit. A healthy diet and exercise should be key now.