If severe knee pain, caused by either arthritis or injury, keeps you from doing the things you love, it may be time to consider a knee replacement. In addition to chronic pain and stiffness, reasons for considering knee surgery can include trouble walking and climbing stairs — and even pain when you’re sitting or lying down.
At your first appointment with one of our experienced orthopedic knee doctors, he or she will review your overall medical history, physical symptoms and images obtained from X-rays and/or MRIs. This will allow your knee specialist to create a customized treatment plan for you.
Why Consider Knee Replacement Surgery?
Before any sort of knee replacement surgery is considered, our orthopedic knee specialists will recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy and walking supports. If those don’t help, knee surgery may be your best option. Knee surgery is designed to relieve pain from arthritis in your knee, help with degenerative joint disease or loss of cartilage or correct a leg deformity.
Common reasons for knee replacement surgery include damage to the knee (such as fractures, torn cartilage and/or torn ligaments) and degenerative joint disease. However, osteoarthritis in the knee is the main reason people receive a knee joint replacement. This condition is very common and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. This causes the bones to rub against each other causing knee joint pain and stiffness.
Other forms of knee arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis, which can occur from a knee injury may also prompt the need for knee replacement surgery.
What Are the Knee Replacement Options?
If your knee replacement surgeon determines that surgery is the best knee pain treatment for you, he or she may recommend total knee replacement surgery or arthroscopic knee replacement, which is a less-invasive procedure.
The major difference between knee arthroscopy and total knee replacement is that one preserves your natural knee joint and the other replaces the knee joint with a knee implant. The choice between the two surgeries will be determined based on the severity of the damage to your knee.
Regardless of which option is chosen, our knee replacement specialists will be with you every step of the way.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthritis Foundation
ACL Injury Treatment
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four main ligaments of the knee. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. The ACL, one of two ligaments that cross in the middle of the knee, connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia) and helps stabilize your knee joint.
ACL sprains or tears (either partial or complete) are among the most commonly occurring knee injuries. They often happen to athletes who play sports that involve jumping, landing and sudden stops or changes in direction. These sports include soccer, basketball, football and downhill skiing.
Treatment for an ACL injury can include physical therapy and wearing a knee brace, but treatment often requires ACL repair surgery.
Signs You May Have an ACL Injury
Injuries to the knee should not be taken lightly because of the complex makeup of bones, ligaments, tendons and tissues that all work together. It’s important to get a prompt diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury.
You should seek immediate care if you experience any of these symptoms that indicate an ACL injury:
- A popping sound on injury
- Knee pain, especially when putting weight on the knee
- Swelling, sometimes occurring a few hours after the injury
- Limited range of motion
- Feeling that the knee isn’t stable
ACL Injury Care
Treatment for your injury will include rehabilitation exercises to help you regain strength and stability, wearing a knee brace and, depending on your lifestyle and the severity of your injury, possible ACL knee surgery. Surgery to repair or replace the torn ligament is usually followed by more physical therapy.
ACL repair is a minimally invasive procedure, performed arthroscopically, and can usually be done as an outpatient procedure. Most ACL tears can’t be stitched back together so a new ligament must be constructed, using a tissue graft for the new ligament to grow on.
After your ACL reconstruction surgery, a strict physical therapy regimen must be followed in order to restore your knee function and strengthen the leg muscles that support your knee. For athletes, it can take up to six months after surgery to regain full use of your knee.
Medline Plus, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Family Physicians
Cartilage and Meniscus Repair
At KSF Orthopaedic Center, our skilled sports medicine and orthopedic specialists perform cartilage and meniscus repairs. Cartilage is the rubber-like padding that coats the bones and allows them to glide at the joints, and meniscus is a type of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the bones. Damage to the meniscus can occur as the result of a forceful twist or sudden stop, deep squatting or kneeling, especially while lifting heavy weight, increased body weight, or wear and tear from regular daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
Damaged cartilage can limit range of motion, preventing a person from bending their knee or being able to straighten their leg completely. Cartilage and meniscus tissues don’t have blood vessels or nerve endings, making them difficult to repair once they are injured or damaged. Because cartilage can’t regrow, a lack of cartilage is often the primary cause of knee joint malfunctions and knee pain, and can ultimately lead to the knee joint needing to be replaced. Cartilage repair or restoration treatments are used to ease pain and prevent or delay the onset of arthritis, which may ultimately prevent the need for a knee replacement.
Once the cartilage injury has been examined, your physician will determine the best course of treatment to repair it. Smaller issues that are in specific locations may be treated with an osteochondral autograft transfer or microfracture, which is performed with smaller incisions and less invasive. Larger issues may require treatments such as autologous chondrocyte implantation or fresh osteochondral allograft transplantation.
When you come to the sports medicine and orthopedic specialists at KSF Orthopaedic Center, they will provide a thorough examination of your condition and then develop a plan for treatment. Call us today at 888-542-7028 to schedule a consultation.
ARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE
Treatment of Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints and can make it painful to not only participate in athletic activities, but even go about day-to-day activities. The orthopedics and sports medicine specialists at KSF Orthopaedic Center can help you manage so that you can continue to have an active lifestyle!
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between joints changes, causing it to break down. When this happens, the bones rub together, causing damage and pain. While arthritis is common in older individuals, it can affect anyone. There is no cure for this disease, but treatments can help with the management of pain and make it easier to move about, as well as preventing damage from getting worse.
Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Pain that is an ache, burning, or sharp
- Stiffness, especially when first getting up in the morning
- Muscle weakness around the joint
- Deformed joints, especially as the condition worsens
- Reduced range of motion and loss of joint use
- Cracking and creaking sounds in the joints
Treatment for arthritis will vary depending on the individual, and your physicians will work with you to develop the course of treatment that is best for you. This may include use of oral pain medicine, injected pain medicine, heat or ice on the painful joint, losing weight to take stress off of the joints, or exercising to strengthen the muscles. If these treatment options do not help to relieve pain, a surgical procedure may be recommended to replace the joint.
Injection therapies that may be used to help with arthritis pain management include:
- Cortisone injections: Corticosteroid injections can help to relieve pain in the joint. During this procedure, the area around the joint is numbed, and a needle is placed in the space within the joint to inject the medication. This medication can worsen joint damage over time, so the number of injections that a patient can receive each year is limited.
- Lubrication injections: Hyaluronic acid injections may offer pain relief by helping to provide cushioning within the joints. Hyaluronic acid is similar to a substance that naturally occurs in the joints and acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, helping them to function properly.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections: This injection therapy is performed by drawing the patient’s blood and separating their blood platelets. The platelets are then injected into the joint to help supplement the fluid there. These platelets act as growth factors that help to decrease inflammation, as well as helping to lubricate and cushion the joint.
While no cure exists for arthritis, the orthopedics and sports medicine specialists at KSF Orthopaedic Center can provide you with treatments to manage symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. Call us today at 281-440-6960 to schedule an appointment.