Knee Osteoarthritis: Is It Time for Surgery?
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is commonly attributed to age, but young people could also get it. Knee OA is when the knee cartilage starts to wear away, causing pain. It could impact your every single move: walking, lying down, sitting down, and climbing stairs. Although surgery could provide pain relief, doctors usually recommend these non-invasive treatments first.
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter options usually include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen, as well as acetaminophen. Some stronger NSAID options are only available through prescription. Some patients also find temporary relief with ointments or creams. Other medications include corticosteroid injections for fighting off inflammation. These injections could offer several months of pain relief.
- Physical therapy exercise: These exercises make the muscles that support your knees stronger. A physical therapist could develop a personalized plan for you and determine if you require supportive canes, splints, or braces.
- Weight loss: Every single pound that you gain places additional pressure on your knees. Every pound gives three pounds of pressure on your knees.
These treatment options could offer sufficient pain relief, however, in some cases they become insufficient over time. According to Revere Health, some experts in Fillmore, Utah would suggest knee surgery only if you experience the following symptoms more frequently: knee stiffness, moderate to severe pain in your knee even when resting, knee swelling and inflammation that persists even if you’re resting or under medication, your knee bowing out or in from your leg, and severe pain in the affected knee that affects your daily activities.
Your doctor might then recommend knee surgery for you if you experience these symptoms. The most common knee surgeries for knee osteoarthritis are knee replacement surgery and knee arthroscopy.
- Knee Arthroscopy Surgery: During a knee arthroscopy, your surgeon will make a tiny incision in your skin to check what’s happening inside your knee. Your surgeon could then eliminate any damaged cartilage or flush your knee to eliminate loose cartilage or bone pieces that cause pain.
- Knee Replacement Surgery: This involves eliminating a part or your entire knee joint and substituting all the damaged components with artificial plastic or metal joints. Although full recovery from knee replacement surgery might take months, the relief that it provides could last several years to a lifetime.
Most people see Knee OA as a normal sign of aging, but you don’t have to suffer needlessly in silence. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible to determine which treatment is best for you.