If you’re among the 250 million people worldwide with osteoarthritis of the knee, you might wonder if surgery is your only recourse. Conservative treatments can effectively manage mild to moderate cases of knee arthritis for some time. But if you reach a point when your daily life is compromised, it may be time for surgery.
Our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists welcomes you to come in to learn about your treatment options for knee arthritis. Here’s when they may suggest a partial or full knee replacement surgery.
Conservative treatments fail
Many nonsurgical treatments can help alleviate the pain and stiffness of knee arthritis. We may suggest:
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Topical pain relievers
- Joint injections, such as corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid
- Exercise and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint
- Weight loss if you’re overweight
- Nutritional supplements
- Assistive devices to make walking more comfortable
These treatment options may work for a while. When you can no longer get relief with these conservative measures and still struggle with knee pain and limited mobility, surgery is likely the next step.
Physical activity is compromised
An active lifestyle is important to your physical and mental health. When your knee pain is so uncomfortable that you can’t walk or exercise, surgery can help.
Without regular movement, you’re at risk of weight gain, which only makes arthritis worse. Deconditioning due to knee problems also puts you at a greater risk of damaging falls.
You may have to make some movement modifications after surgery, but most activities will feel comfortable again.
Pain is present always
If you feel pain even when you’re sitting still or sleeping at night, it’s a sign you need surgery.
If your knee looks deformed, arthritis is doing serious damage to the joint. Surgery can correct the mechanics so your knee no longer bows in or out.
Types of knee surgery
In some instances, we may use arthroscopic knee surgery to clean out the joint and reduce inflammation. During this procedure, your surgeon inserts a thin tube with a tiny camera through a small incision. This gives them an excellent view of the joint so they can remove damaged cartilage and other tissue.
Arthroscopic knee surgery has a short recovery time. It can ease symptoms for some time, so you can avoid more complex knee replacement surgery.
During knee replacement surgery, your surgeon removes all damaged parts of the knee joint and replaces them with prosthetic parts. Knee replacement takes several months of recovery, but it resolves pain and helps you restore most normal function.
With knee replacement, you reduce or eliminate reliance on pain medications, relieve pain, improve function, and reduce the look of knee deformities. You can return to low-impact activities after surgery, including walking, biking, swimming, and golf. Schedule a consultation at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists to determine the best way to treat your knee arthritis pain. Call our Bethesda, Rockville, or Germantown, Maryland, office at 301-515-0900 or set up an appointment here to get a comprehensive evaluation.