A new study published within the Menopause Journal, has revealed that a vitamin D deficiency in women could lead to increased pain after a knee replacement. It is not the first study to identify a link between a Vitamin D deficiency and musculoskeletal problems.
Vitamin D is known to be crucial for our health. However, many of us simply are not getting enough of it. Here, we will look at what this latest study revealed and other potential causes of pain after a knee replacement.
Studying the link between vitamin D and knee replacement pain
The latest study examined how vitamin D levels affect the functional outcome, as well as pain levels, after a knee replacement procedure. It included results from 226 postmenopausal women in 2017-2019, who had undergone a knee replacement due to symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The women were separated into two groups. One had a Vitamin D deficiency, while the other had adequate levels of the vitamin. It was revealed that those who had a Vitamin D deficiency, experienced negative early functional outcomes after the knee replacement. It was also shown to increase the amount of pain felt after the procedure.
Worryingly, the study also revealed that around 70% of postmenopausal women who were due to undergo the procedure, had a Vitamin D deficiency.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
There have been a lot of studies which have revealed the importance of Vitamin D levels for our health. In terms of our bones, past studies have shown that a deficiency in the vitamin can increase the risk of developing Osteoarthritis, fractures, lower bone mineral density, and cause more severe bone pain.
The job of Vitamin D is to regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium within the body. This in turn keeps the bones, muscles, and teeth healthy. The main source of the vitamin is the sun, making it important to get outdoors frequently.
Vitamin D deficiency can also cause conditions such as Rickets, and other bone deformities.
Other potential causes of knee replacement pain
While a Vitamin D deficiency has shown to increase pain after a knee replacement procedure, it isn’t the only risk factor. The study also revealed that smoking and a high body mass index can play a role in post-operative pain.
Occasionally, pain after a knee replacement could point to an underlying issue. For example, it could suggest a loosening of the implant, or a potential infection. For this reason, it is important to undergo a check-up with the surgeon if pain is an issue after the procedure.
Pain after a knee replacement operation is common. However, typically over-the-counter medications help to eliminate the pain. If your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, consult with your surgeon to determine whether there is an underlying issue.
This new research provides a useful guideline to both health providers and patients. Those who do have a Vitamin D deficiency may want to take supplements to build up their levels prior to undergoing a knee replacement procedure.