Share: LinkedIn-on-White

Updated: May 2020

Preparing for hip or knee surgery

Your surgeon has listed you for an operation to replace your hip or knee, but the surgery has been delayed. We recommend contacting your general practitioner (GP) or your surgeon to discuss treatment options until you can have your operation. However, the following guidelines are provided to help you manage your symptoms as best as you can.

Research has shown that patients who understand more about their condition are more likely to cope with managing their day-to-day problems. Here is a list of useful websites designed to help patients with arthritis:

A list of the most important and medically proven non-surgical treatments for arthritis is summarised below.


  • We recommend taking regular paracetamol, following the dosing advice on the box. While we realise that this might not take away all of your pain, it can help reduce it and allow you to continue your daily activities.
  • Anti-inflammatories can be used more regularly in the short term, but it is important
    to follow the instructions on the box. These medications are not safe for some people. Check with your GP or pharmacist if you are unsure.
  • Your GP or surgeon may provide stronger pain killers by script if you are not coping, but it is best to minimise these wherever possible.
  • Sometimes cortisone injections can provide temporary relief for arthritis. You might like to discuss this option with your GP or surgeon.
  • Hyaluronic acid, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections currently do not have good scientific evidence for patients with severe hip or knee arthritis.
  • Complementary medicines (eg glucosamine, fish oils, turmeric, etc) do not provide good pain relief for severe arthritis


  • Keeping your joints moving and your muscles strong is important.
  • If you are able to see a physiotherapist, they can provide you with exercises for your arthritic joint.
  • If you are unable to see a physiotherapist, the following YouTube Channel has a series of educational videos demonstrating exercises that you can do at home.

Weight loss

  • Weight loss is very important for patients with hip or knee arthritis. [AH1]
  • We encourage safe reduction in food intake to reduce calories, as we recognise that you are not able to walk as far because of your painful joints.
  • A GP or dietician can also provide you with advice on healthy dieting.
  • It is still important to do regular, low-impact exercise such as walking on flat ground. An exercise bike is also a good option.
  • Most heated pools and gymnasiums will be closed during this time, so home-based exercise is very important.

Gait aids

  • If walking is difficult or painful, you might like to try using a walking stick, crutches or a frame
  • If you have a painful hip then a walking stick should be used in the opposite hand to the painful hip


  • The use of braces for painful knee arthritis can work for some people, and maybe helpful especially in the upcoming colder weather


Mental health

  • One in five people with arthritis experiences symptoms of depression or anxiety. These feelings are very common and nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Having your surgery cancelled may make these feelings worse.
  • We encourage you to seek help if you are feeling depressed or anxious. Please see your GP or a counsellor or psychologist.
  • We would like to reassure you that your arthritis is unlikely to get drastically worse over the next few months; however, if you are concerned please contact your GP or surgeon.

Disclaimer: This information is intended to be used as a general guide and does not take into account individual circumstances. The information presented should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice or proper assessment by a doctor. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, relevance and up-to-date nature of the information contained in this publication, AOA, its officers, councillors and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AOA by this statement intends to exclude liability for any statements contained in this publication.