Various Knee Treatment Options are Open to You
Knee replacement involves creating an artificial joint to replace damaged bone and cartilage. The vast majority of patients say this treatment significantly lowered pain levels and restored their quality of life.
Knee replacement is recommended for patients who have severe pain while walking, climbing stairs, rising, or sitting down, or those with moderate to severe pain while resting; for an individual with a deformity such as bowed legs; or patients who fail to respond to other treatments such as cortisone injections.
While 90% of knee-replacement patients report a dramatic reduction of pain and improved mobility, knee replacement surgery is not for everyone. Each patient is unique, but your surgeon would probably not recommend running a marathon. Instead, you may be able to swim, play golf or tennis, drive a car, ride a bicycle or dance without pain.
The first step in deciding whether you are a candidate for knee replacement, is imaging tests to reveal the type and extent of damage to bone, cartilage and ligaments. Your orthopedic surgeon will explain what could be causing the pain, and together, you can decide on a treatment plan.
For more information about knee replacement, check out this web site of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Beyond Surgery Day: The Full Impact of Knee Replacement
Arthroscopic surgery is a less invasive procedure and the recovery period is shorter.
With arthroscopy, a camera about the size of a pencil is inserted into your knee. ‘Seeing’ inside your knee via an image on the video monitor, the surgeon inserts tiny instruments to repair or remove any damaged tissue.
Some 4 million patients undergo arthroscopic knee surgery each year, and the vast majority say the surgery resolved their pain.
For more information about arthroscopy for knees, see this web site.
There is another type of treatment for damaged knees, called ligament reconstruction.
Ligaments are like rubber bands that surround the knee and give us flexibility while limiting dangerous movements. If the ligaments are torn (which happens in sports), there will be pain when the patient tries to turn, pivot, or twist their leg.
There are four major ligaments in the knee:
- anterior cruciate ligament (ACL);
- posterior cruciate ligament (PCL);
- medial collateral ligament (MCL);
- and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
Ligaments can be surgically repaired by using a piece of healthy tendon from the patient’s own body or a donor.
For more about this procedure, visit Johns Hopkins Health Library
A torn meniscus is not an injury seen only in athletes. Knee cartilage becomes thinner and weaker as we age. Any sudden action can trigger a meniscal injury.
Many patients carry on with with daily activities without realizing they’ve suffered a meniscal tear. If your knee continues to ache and you feel a popping or locking of the joint, it’s best to have the doctor examine you.
Treatment depends on the type of meniscal injury. Some can be treated conservatively, with rest, ice and medication. Other tears can be relieved by surgery, to trim the torn cartilage or repair it.