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Knee Arthritis Care

Knee Arthritis is the medical condition in which the cartilage between the joints starts to degenerate and starts to wear off. This results in the joints rubbing against each other and causing knee joint pain and other issues in the knee like swelling, stiffness, restriction in movement and bone spur formation. Osteoarthritis of the knee and Rheumatoid arthritis are the common forms of knee arthritis.


The knee arthritis cannot be treated completely but doctors might recommend different treatments to help relieve the pain and disability that follows.

Non-Surgical Treatment

The doctor would recommend starting the treatment plan with non-surgical treatment options, like:

  • Lifestyle Modifications
    Some changes in lifestyle that can help protect the knee and slow down the arthritis are:
    • Minimizing activities like climbing stairs that can aggravate this condition.
    • Switching from high impact activities to lower impact activities that can put less stress on the knee.
    • Reducing the patient’s body weight can help relieve the stress on the knee.
  • Physical Therapy
    The doctor will recommend specific exercises that will help increase the range of motion and flexibility and strengthen the knee muscles.
  • Use of Assistive Accessories
    The doctor will suggest the use of assistive accessories like canes, shock-absorbing shoes and wearing knee braces. These accessories will help maintain the stability and function of the knee.
  • Medications
    The doctor might prescribe medications to treat the arthritis of the knee. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for knee arthritis are:
    • Non-narcotic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
    • Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin
    • Corticosteroids or cortisone are injected into the joint
    • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are used to slow down the progress of rheumatoid arthritis.

Surgical Treatment

The doctor would recommend knee surgery if the pain from arthritis in the patient is not relieved from the non-surgical treatment and can cause a disability. The different surgeries performed for knee arthritis are:

  • Arthroplasty
    This is also called knee replacement surgery. It is the procedure in which the doctor removes the damaged bone and cartilage and replaces them with new joint surfaces made of metal or plastic. These new prosthesis will help in reducing pain and restore the knee’s function. This procedure is performed for the replacement of either the whole knee or a partial knee.
  • Arthroscopy
    The doctor will create small incisions to insert a tiny camera called arthroscope, which gives a good view inside the knee and helps in knowing the extent of the injury. The arthroscope is used to guide small specialized instruments to treat the joint problems. Arthroscopy is not normally used to treat knee arthritis but it comes in handy when knee arthritis accompanies degenerative meniscal tear.
  • Synovectomy
    This is the removal of the joint lining that was damaged by rheumatoid arthritis, to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Osteotomy
    Knee Osteotomy is performed to relieve the pressure on the knee joint by cutting and reshaping either the tibia or femur. This is normally done for patients suffering from early stage osteoarthritis that has damaged one side of the knee.
Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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