Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement
Arizona Orthopedic Surgery Solutions for Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement
What is Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement
Arthritis is swelling within a joint, in this case, the knee. Discomfort, pain, inflammation, and rigidness are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Depending on the severity of arthritis, a partial or total replacement may be necessary. There are three common types of knee arthritis being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis, known as “wear and tear” arthritis, progresses gradually with increased discomfort as time goes on. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the same joints, meaning both knees will have arthritis pain. As rheumatoid arthritis is “autoimmune,” even healthy cartilage and ligaments will be struck by the immune system. Posttraumatic arthritis is inflammation and caused by a significant knee injury. Bone fractures, ligament tears, and muscle tears can all cause posttraumatic arthritis later on in life.
Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement Diagnosis
A doctor will ask about your medical history and when the pain in your knee(s) originated. A physical examination will be performed to look for where the joint inflammation sits specifically as well as redness and warmth. Sensitivity to the knee(s), range of both passive/assisted and active/self-directed motion, along with the stability of the joint will be noted. Doctors will want to see how much pain is inflicted upon the knee when standing and if the posture while walking is impaired. A doctor will additionally make sure any muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the knee haven’t been injured while looking for crepitus, a grinding feeling within the joint caused by movement, is not apparent. It is important to know if there are any other joints adding to the pain or experiencing the same pain, which is a sign a patient may have rheumatoid arthritis. An x-ray can help identify changes in bone and growth of bone spurs while an MRI or CT scan will define the state of bones and soft tissues.
Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement Treatment - Non Surgical
You may need to change from high-impact to low-impact activities, such as biking and swimming. Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate the stress exerted upon the knees. Certain stretches paired with other physical therapy exercises will improve the range of motion while also making the muscles stronger. Insoles and orthotics, a knee brace, and even a walker or cane can help the afflicted knee. Applying heat and ice with topical creams can help relieve acute pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Glucosamine and chondroitin are dietary supplements to help ease pain. A Viscosupplementation may be used to enhance the quality of the joint’s synovial fluid. For severe inflammation, a Cortisone injection can be used with a maximum of three or four injections per year. The onset of rheumatoid arthritis may be combatted with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Acupuncture, magnetic pulse therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and stem cell injections are alternative treatment options with varying efficacy.
Knee Arthritis & Knee Replacement Treatment - Surgical
An arthroscopy can be used to see inside the knee joint and diagnose issues. Arthroscopy is typically used to repair a degenerative meniscal tear when associated with osteoarthritis. Cartilage grafting is where strong cartilage is taken from another part of the knee or a cadaver to replace a small section of damaged articular cartilage. Cartilage grafting is usually offered for younger patients with minimal cartilage damage. A synovectomy can be performed, taking all the ruined cartilage out to release pain and inflammation. An osteotomy will take pressure off the joint by cutting and redesigning the tibia, shinbone, or femur, thighbone. An osteotomy is recommended for osteoarthritis caught early with enriched knee function. In most severe cases, a partial or total knee replacement, known as arthroplasty, can be performed. This operation is where all impaired bone and cartilage is taken out and replaced with metal or plastic replicas of the joint.