The 10 year Myth of Total Knee Replacements

If you or somebody you know is coming up to having a Total Knee Replacement (TKR), you will have more than likely heard about the 10 year TKR Myth. It isn’t actually known where the 10 year myth originated from, or no-one is willing to own up to it anymore!

The 10 year myth is about the length or duration a TKR prosthesis lasts for, before it “wears out” so to speak. Whereas if we take a peek at the statistics, we see that it is just that – a myth. If person has a TKR in their 70’s, there is only a 10% chance of the knee needing a revision in their life time. If a person has a TKR in their 50’s, the risk of them needing a revision in their lifetime is 50%.

There is an approximate 0.5% drop off in performance per year. This means that 80% of prostheses are fine at 20 years. Naturally, younger TKR patients are more active, and tend to use their prosthesis more, and so they tend to ‘wear out’ more quickly, leading to a more complicated revision operation.

As 80% of prostheses are absolutely fine at 20 years, you can be safe in the knowledge that there is a strong likelihood it will be the only operation you ever need on your knee, and the older you are, the higher those odds are.

One point of interest that is raised by these statistics is about the time in which you opt to have your TKR. Some patients are advised to wait as long as is physically possible before they have the operation, where as other are not so set on waiting that long.

The ideal time to wait before having an operation is decided on an individual basis, but there are some important factors to consider. This is too big a topic to be covered here so keep an eye out for an upcoming blog about when is the best time to have it. The studies do suggest that a slightly longer wait is a good idea, and for now, that is a good general rule to abide by.

From a physiotherapy perspective, ensuring that you get specialised and timely rehabilitation post-surgery will increase your range of motion, increase flexibility, improve muscle strength, and benefit overall joint function.

All these clinical markers, combined with the fact that you will feel more confident and secure with your knee, will enhance the chances of never needing to have that tricky revision surgery.

If you would like more information or if you would like to speak to one of our physiotherapist’s about a home appointment, email us at

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