After trying weight loss, exercise, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and other drug and non-drug strategies to no avail, it could be time to consider surgery to treat your knee pain, advises John Bergfeld, MD, senior surgeon, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic. "If weve tried all those things and a patient says, I cant do what I want to do. I cant go shopping. I cant walk the golf course. Its keeping me awake at night, then I say Your pain and disability warrants surgery," Dr. Bergfeld explains. The appropriate procedure will depend on your age, activity level, and the extent of your disease. People with significant degenerative disease will probably need a total knee replacement. "But the decision is yours," Dr. Bergfeld emphasizes. "As opposed to cancer, where you really dont have a choice, knee-replacement surgery is optional.