Avoiding a Knee Replacement

Surgery Alternatives for Joint & Bone on Bone Pain

Is your knee pain constant, intense and keeping you awake at night? Does it feel difficult to stand up, walk or stay active due to stiffness? You’re not alone – almost 20% of people in the US over 45 years of age suffer from knee osteoarthritis. 

What causes the knee pain?
This type of knee pain that can happen as we age occurs as a result of the knee joint cartilage breaking down. Essentially this means that the sponge material in between your bones, allowing the joint to properly bend and move, has either dwindled or disappeared making it difficult for the bones to move.

Why does the cartilage disappear?
While general age and wear & tear is always a factor in the reduction of our healthy cartilage in the knee, other factors such as obesity or inactivity may also play a role in the condition developing. If someone is overweight, that means there is more pressure and literal weight for the legs to carry – pressing on top of the knee joint as you try to stand, walk and exercise. This constant extra pressure can cause the cartilage area to overwork which causes it to degrade at a more rapid pace. 

Another factor may be inactivity. If you are often sedentary or are constantly in a sitting position (sitting at a desk, watching TV at home, etc.) you may not be as active as your leg muscles would like to be. Weaker muscles lead to less strength to carry your body properly and can lead to less healthy cartilage over time – another reason why exercise and movement are such important factors of health.

My cartilage is gone – do I need a Knee Replacement?
While oftentimes people think their only option is to go right to a knee replacement to heal the pain and condition they are experiencing, in recent years there has been an increase in non-surgical treatment options for knee pain.

Some options for treating this type of knee pain include various minimally invasive injections such as cortisone and hyaluronic acid, or gel injections, to help lubricate the inner knee and relieve the arthritis pains. Other minimally invasive injection treatments include various regenerative therapies that can work to help regrow or strengthen the damaged area to promote healing and mobility. In addition, Radio Frequency Ablations (RFA) can help control pain in the knee by eliminating the pain signals sent to the brain from the associated nerve.

All of the above injection therapies have been shown to be effective in both reducing knee pains and helping people avoid full knee replacements, but there are additional tools that you can do to also help alleviate your pain. 

If losing weight is an option, it can help reduce the amount of stress on your knees allowing your knee joint to breathe more and also allow you to begin strengthening the area through exercise. Trying low-impact exercise to strengthen the surrounding muscles to the knee can also help strengthen the area in general to help you stay mobile. 

Is it possible to avoid a knee replacement and heal your knee pain without surgery? Yes! Given the right timing, diagnosis and treatment plan, it is possible to heal your pain through minimally invasive and regenerative techniques, and it is important to schedule an appointment right away with your doctor if you feel you have symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. 

For more information on the available treatments and therapies, contact Pennsylvania Pain and Spine Institute to see what options are available for you! Visit https://www.pennpain.com or call (215) 395-8888 to request an appointment today. New patients and insurance are accepted!

 

*Statistic provided by science.org

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