What Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee?
Knee joint osteoarthritis is a very common cause of debility in patients over 60 years of age.
Just as any other true synovial joint can become arthritic due to degeneration of the cartilage and excess bony growth either due to age or degeneration, and can become inflamed causing pain. The pain from inflamed affected joints can cause radiation of symptoms and pain to an area distant from the actual pathology.
This is called referred pain as opposed to radicular pain which is caused by the irritation of a large spinal nerve.
The pain is usually worsened with extension and lateral motion of the joint, sitting crosslegged, descending or ascending stairs, and during cold weather.
Pain that is often described on the outside of the knee above or below the joint is usually due to the soft tissues including muscles ligaments tendons and connective tissues.
Certain medical conditions can present as knee pain though they are unrelated to that joint. This is what we call referred pain.
Diagnoses involve a thorough history and physical as well as proper imaging including CAT scans, x-rays, MRI and
blood work in certain cases.
Treatment options include analgesics for temporary pain relief, low-dose antidepressants which are helpful in both sleep and chronic pain, as well as opioid use for worsening chronic pain.
Physical therapy includes home exercises to help strengthen and improve the flexibility and range of motion of the joint and associated muscles.
Diagnostic / Therapeutic joint injections with steroids as well as injections of viscosupplement material may also be effective and augment the effects of oral medication and physical therapy.
Regenerative treatments including PRP and Amniotic Fluid have also been successful.
If all of these fail one can be evaluated for their candidacy for reconstructive repair or joint replacement surgery.
Treatment options for current condition
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-inflammatory Medications
- Knee Arthroscopy
- Total Knee Replacement