When you are diagnosed with knee arthritis, your doctor will generally tell you that a knee replacement is likely in your future. But when will you have that replacement? That part is typically left up to you. When you feel you're ready for a knee replacement, you let your doctor know, and they will help you take the steps to work towards knee replacement. So how do you know when you're ready for a knee replacement? Here are some key signs that it is time.

Your knee has been giving out on you or causing you to fall.

Have you had your knee give out on you when you tried to put weight on it? Maybe the pain was unbearable and you stumbled when you pulled your leg up automatically, or perhaps the joint itself just gave way and folded. In either case, if your knee is starting to make you fall, then you are at risk for other injuries, like broken bones and concussions. It's a good idea to have your knee replaced before it causes you to have a long list of other injuries that need treatment.

Pain relievers are not doing much for you anymore.

When you first start developing arthritis in your knee, you can generally take a dose of pain reliever and experience relief. Over time, though, pain relievers tend to become less effective as the arthritis worsens. If you are popping pain pills but they don't seem to be working, then it is time for a knee replacement. Continuing to take larger and more frequent doses of pain relievers is not good for your body overall.

You've stopped working or doing activities you love.

Most patients with arthritis slowly start scaling back on the things they do. First, you may stop running and switch to cycling. Then, even cycling may be too hard on your knee, so you stop exercising altogether. You might cut back your hours at work or move into a role that requires less physical labor. You deserve to enjoy your favorite activities again, and you may need to continue working for at least a few more years. A knee replacement can give you those things.

It's up to you to choose the best time for your knee replacement. But if knee arthritis has caused you to start falling, is no longer responsive to pain relievers, and has made it hard for you to live and work, it's probably time to make the call to a surgeon who provides joint replacement services.