Do you need a Knee Replacement? Maybe NOT…
If you are reading this post chances are you have been having a lot of knee pain over the years. You also have likely been told recently that you need a knee replacement. This can be very scary for patients for a number of reasons, which will usually drive people to the internet to search for alternatives for a knee replacement.
What disorders lead to the need for a replacement?
The most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability is arthritis. Although there are many types of arthritis, most knee pain is caused by just three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis. This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis.”
- Post-traumatic arthritis. This can follow a serious knee injury. Fractures of the bones surrounding the knee or tears of the knee ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.
What are the alternatives to knee replacement ?
1. Viscosupplementation (Rooster Comb) Injections: These injections are a great treatment for knee pain. They are made from a natural substance that has almost no side effects. They act like a lubricant in the knee and reduce both friction and pain. These injections can be seen advertised in the newspaper, and on TV. When they are used, they can sometimes delay or prevent a knee replacement. These injections are done in a series of 3 shots, and have no down time. This is also a same day procedure that is done in the office rather than in the hospital.
2. Pain relieving / Unloader Braces: When you have arthritis in the knee there is a lot of friction. There are special braces that are designed to change the position of the knee slightly which can reduce the friction , and then reduce the pain in the knee. These braces must be fitted to the patient, and are much better made than a brace that you would buy at Walmart or CVS.
3. Regenerative Therapy (Platelet injections, and Stem Cells) : One of the newest treatments for knee pain is using the patient’s own cells to heal areas of the body that are painful. These include Platelet Injections (PRP), and Stem Cell injections. These are also performed in the office with very little risk of side effects, or recovery time.
Knee replacement is a major surgery that carries with it a set of risks, not least of which might be actually making the pain worse. Prior to any knee replacement, there are many nonsurgical treatments that can either prolong the time to getting a joint replacement, or completely eliminate the need for one.
Schedule an Appointment for Knee Arthritis Treatment in Raleigh, NC
If you have concerns about seeing a surgeon right away, contact us for an appointment and see why Wake Sports Medicine is different than all the other orthopedic practices in the Triangle. Board-certified orthopedic specialist Dr. Kanaan specializes in non-surgical and minimally invasive orthopedic treatments. He will take the time to diagnose your symptoms and provide the best treatment for you. Call our office at (919) 719-2270 and schedule an appointment with Wake Nonsurgical Ortho & Sports Medicine.