Arizona Orthopedic Surgery Solutions for Knee Osteoarthritis
What is Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, known as “wear and tear” arthritis, is a rather common problem among middle-aged and senior adults, noticeable at about fifty years of age, but can transpire sooner. Osteoarthritis is most common in joints that carry the weight of the body, such as knees and hips. The cartilage in a weight bearing joint wears away over the years and causes pain, hence why it is more common in older people rather than younger people. As the cartilage damage progresses, everyday tasks can become more challenging due to increasing pain and limited range of motion. In rare cases, joint will have little to no cartilage cushioning bones to where the bones begin to grind against one another. The increased bone-on-bone friction produces osteophytes, known as bone spurs. Knee osteoarthritis is a combination of age, weight, heredity, athletics, multiple stress injuries, metabolic conditions, and even rheumatoid arthritis can develop osteoarthritis.
Knee Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your medical history before conducting a physical examination. Additionally, it is important to let your doctor know what symptoms you are experiencing and what makes the symptoms better or worse. This information will help them conclude if what you’re experiencing is osteoarthritis or another ailment. As osteoarthritis can be hereditary, it wouldn’t hurt asking your family members if they experience any forms of arthritis. Image testing such as x-rays can reveal bone spurs, bone damage, and cartilage damage. An MRI can be used when x-rays fail to provide insight to the joint pain or if an x-ray shows other types of possible joint issues. A blood test may be needed to eliminate the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis.
Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment - Non Surgical
Sufficient exercise and weight loss is recommended if a patient is relatively inactive or overweight. Physical therapy, assistive technology, along with over the counter medicine can be used to treat pain and strengthen muscles and ligaments in and around the knee. Topical creams with capsaicin, acupuncture, and glucosamine or chondroitin supplements can help. As the pain continues to grow, cortisone shots can be used to relieve discomfort. In some cases, surgery will need to be performed.
Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment - Surgical
Arthroscopy, osteotomy, or arthroplasty can be performed. Arthroscopy makes use of a small camera inserted inside small incisions made along the knee. This allows the surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgery by using the camera to take out any damaged or loose cartilage and bone. Other impaired tissue can be repaired or taken out as well. Arthroscopy is recommended for those under the age of fifty five to postpone more critical surgery. Osteotomy is where the bones are redesigned in an attempt to improve knee alignment. If there is a specific location of knee damage or have fractured your knee with an inadequate recovery, a surgeon may recommend an osteotomy. An osteotomy may require future surgery. In severe cases, arthroplasty, known as joint replacement surgery, will be needed. This is where damaged joint cartilage and bone are removed and replaced with metal or plastic replicas. Surgeons prefer to perform arthroplasty on individuals over fifty in the mid to late stages of osteoarthritis as artificial joints can degrade over time, and no one wants to undergo joint replacement surgery several times throughout their life. Fortunately, modern technology makes it possible for prosthetic joints to last for twenty years, if not longer.