The definition of arthritis is painful inflammation and stiffness in a joint. Several forms of arthritis can affect the knee joint, muscles and bones causing pain stiffness and swelling, and loss of movement. The most common cause is Osteoarthritis (OA) often called ‘wear and tear’ arthritis because it develops over the course a lifetime due to wear and tear on the joint. OA typically affects people older than 60 with a family history of arthritis and is accelerated by obesity. However, OA can be caused by trauma and develop earlier.
OA is a degenerative condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness and limits motion. The arthritic process progressively breaks down the cartilage that lines the surface of the knee bones to reduce friction. The cartilage becomes brittle, frays, breaks into pieces, and floats in the joint fluids causing locking and pain. In end stage OA the cartilage is destroyed causing the bones to rub together, wear unevenly causing deformity and the loss of function. Damaged bone attempts self-repair by creating bone spurs which only aggravates the pain and stiffness and loss of motion. In the end, knee OA results in poor quality of life and a loss of independence
Younger patients can develop knee arthritis from underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, infections, genetic defects in cartilage formation, and prior injury or menisectomy.
What are the symptoms of knee arthritis?
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness that develops from sitting too long, and make just getting out of bed challenging
- Pain, swelling and tenderness
- Crunching sensation as bone rubs against bone with movement
- Knee dysfunction that makes every day ordinary activities difficult
How is it diagnosed?
Dr. Cooper will review your medical history, ask about your symptoms, conduct a thorough examination of your knee and test knee mobility, and order x-rays. X-rays will reveal the first signs of OA, a narrowing of the space between the bones which indicates the loss of cartilage and bone on bone rubbing; and bone spurs. Based on his findings he will make a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.
What are the treatment options?
The goal of treatment is to improve function and reduce pain so the patient can continue to live independently and perform regular daily activities with less pain and stiffness.
Conservative management will include:
- lifestyle modifications
- over the counter and prescription pain medications
- physical therapy
- steroid and cortisone injections
- biologic injections
- losing weight
When knee OA causes disability that can’t be relieved with conservative measures, joint preservation surgery may be offered to delay knee replacement, or total knee replacement surgery will be recommended.
Knee replacement (total knee replacement)
OA is the most common reason for knee replacement. The procedure involves the remove and replacement of arthritic part of the joint, and implantation of replacement parts called implants made of metal and plastic. It is only recommended when all other options have failed to provide sufficient relief.
Dr. Cooper performs knee replacements robotically with the MAKO robot. The robot ensures accurate down to the millimeter replication of the surgical plan. It allows the surgery to be performed with greater precision. Using the robot, Dr. Cooper and position the components to the exact degree, and millimeter that are tailored to each individual patient’s anatomy and needs.
Many patients go home from knee replacement on the same day or the day after surgery. Rehab is fast and you can expect to be walking the same day as your surgery with your new knee.
When you have knee pain contact Dr. Joe Cooper a knee expert. You will receive compassionate expert care.