Knee osteoarthritis(OA), also known as Non-inflammatory Degenerative Joint Disease, is a common form of arthritis condition found in the elderly population across the globe & is one of the major causes of disability in them. It can found in the younger population too.
Knee Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial health condition that is incurable. It is a condition in which the natural lubricant between the joints cartilage wears away causing to rub the bones of the joins more closely against one another leading to pain, discomfort, inflammation, swelling, etc. in the joints.
What leads to Knee Osteoarthritis?
- Repetitive stress on joint
- Sports injury
What are the symptoms that can lead to Knee Replacement?
- Severe knee pain & limited daily routine.
- Moderate pain while resting or throughout the day.
- Medicine resistant long-lasting inflammation and swelling even after using proper rest/relaxation techniques.
- No relief even after using NSAIDs.
Is there no cure for OA other than surgery?
OA cannot be cured completely, but existing treatments can reduce pain and suffering and help in better mobility. It includes
- Medications: To relieve the pain
a) Acetaminophen: The drug has been used to help relieve pain for people suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain.
b) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), on recommended dose consumption, are known to relieve osteoarthritis pain.
c) Duloxetine (Cymbalta). It is an antidepressant, also approved to treat chronic pain, is also used to treat osteoarthritis pain.
a) Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joints, to increase flexibility, and to minimize the pain. Swimming and walking have been found to be effective.
b) Occupational therapy: It can help to discover different ways to carry out daily routine/tasks without putting extra stress on the painful joint.
a) Cortisone injections: They are used to relieve pain in the joint. They are given directly to the affected joint. One can receive a maximum of 3-4 injections in a year, above that is not advisable by the doctor as it worsens the joint damage.
b) Lubrication injections: These help to provide some cushioning to the knee joint.
Knee Replacement Surgeries
When the above mentioned medical treatments fail to provide relief to the patients, knee replacement surgery may be considered as an effective treatment.
The goal of knee replacement surgery is to relieve knee pain by resurfacing the parts of the knee joint that have been damaged due to various reasons. Studies have proved that knee replacement surgeries have helped the individual to be able to lead a better quality of life with no discomfort or pain following the procedure.
Is there any risk involved in knee replacement surgery?
With recent technological advancements, the surgery involves almost no complications. However, in some cases, the patient may face issues such as:
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Loosening or wearing out of the prosthesis
- Continued pain or stiffness
- Loose knee joints post-surgery
- Weakness or numbness due to injured nerves during surgery
The good news is that almost 90% of knee replacement surgeries are successful with little to no complications post-surgery.
The doctor may advise certain medications depending on other underlying health conditions. However, in general, the patients are advised to follow exercises such as:
- Frequent breathing exercises
- Movement of foot and ankle
- Gradually increasing the activity level
- A change in diet to keep a check on weight
Still, have questions? Drop a comment and our Orthopedic expert will get back to you with an answer.