Does Knee Arthritis Require Joint Replacement?

Does Knee Arthritis Require Joint Replacement?

Pain in your knees isn’t uncommon as you get older. Daily wear-and-tear causes your joint to deteriorate over time, often from a condition known as osteoarthritis. This damages the cartilage that protects your joint, making it vulnerable to damage and injury. 

Sometimes, a knee replacement is needed to get rid of your pain and restore functionality in your knee.

At Commonwealth Musculoskeletal MedicineDr. Mark Conliffe and the team help you get to the bottom of your knee pain. If Dr. Conliffe determines that you do have osteoarthritis, he provides you with options to get your pain under control and get you back to your normal activities.

What is knee arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term that describes a wide variety of disorders that affect your joints. There are more than 100 forms of this disease, each affecting your joint differently. 

However, the two most prevalent forms of arthritis in the knee are inflammatory arthritis and degenerative arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis that’s quite common in your knee joint. This type of arthritis causes degeneration of the protective layer of cartilage that protects the bones in the knee joint.

Over time, osteoarthritis wears away the cartilage, causing irreversible damage to your knee cap and other bones that make up your joint. In severe cases, you may need a total knee replacement to restore your joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that damages the joints in your body. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining in your joint space, causing inflammation and pain.

No matter what form of arthritis you have, it’s important to know the signs of the disease so you can seek treatment early on. This helps prevent further damage to the knee joint.

Common signs of arthritis

Each type of arthritis has its own set of symptoms; however, they also all share similar signs. If your knee is hurting, look out for the following signs and symptoms that could signal arthritis:

Any of these symptoms could signal arthritis. If you notice that you’re having pain in your knee that isn’t getting better with home care, it’s important to get your knee looked at early on. The sooner you seek treatment, the better off your knee is in the long run.

Do you need a knee replacement?

You don’t always need a knee replacement when it comes to arthritis in the joint. When you catch arthritis early, Dr. Conliffe is able to create a customized treatment plan that slows the progression of the disease.

If your knee pain is mild to moderate and doesn’t affect your normal activities, you likely don’t need a knee replacement. This type of surgery is invasive and requires a lot of rehabilitation, which is why it’s reserved for the following criteria:

If you meet any of these criteria, it may be time to consider a knee replacement. Ultimately, your symptoms and imaging of your knee are the main factors that determine the route of treatment you need.

Alternative treatments to consider

A knee replacement isn’t always needed when you have knee arthritis. Sometimes, a few lifestyle changes and physical medicine treatments are enough to reduce your pain and restore function in your knee. 

If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds can take excess pressure off of your knee joints. This is one way to slow the progression of knee arthritis. Other alternative treatments that Dr. Conliffe recommends include:

Dr. Conliffe specializes in physical medicine, which helps you restore your joints through holistic measures. This includes physical therapy, osteopathic manipulation, and massage therapy. 

Dr. Conliffe and his team come up with a personalized approach to your treatment to get you the relief you need in your knee to hopefully avoid joint replacement surgery.

If you have knee pain that won’t go away, don’t hesitate to call our office today at 502-771-1012, or book an appointment online with Dr. Conliffe on our website.

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