Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zackary Byrd
Knee Arthritis Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery
Your knee joints take on a lot of strain, especially if you are physically active or participate in contact sports. Being physically active can also put you at a greater risk of certain knee injuries. Some knee injuries can cause problems later in life if not treated early on.
Knee preservation surgery is a way of fixing knee problems early so you can potentially avoid joint replacement surgery later in life.
If you are experiencing knee pain and are interested in learning about our joint preservation techniques, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany, Athens, and St. Clairsville, Ohio. Our knee specialists look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Who Is a Candidate for Knee Preservation Surgery?
For the right patient, your doctor may want to perform knee preservation surgery over joint replacement surgery. However, there are some factors that may influence the surgeon’s decisions.
The following list contains some considerations for the surgeon:
- Age — Younger patients often respond better to joint preservation surgery.
- Strength — Muscles play a considerable role in protecting the knee joint. Not only do they help in the movement and stability of the knee joint, but they also act as shock absorbers.
- Weight — Your weight can have a significant impact on the pressure that is exerted through your knee. Losing weight can be part of the joint preservation strategy.
- Severity of cartilage damage — Small amounts of damage to the cartilage can often be repaired. However, joint replacement may be the best option if there is extensive damage.
Types of Knee Joint Preservation Surgery
Below are some joint preservation procedures performed by the orthopedic surgeons at JIS Orthopedics:
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a strong band of tissue that connects your thigh bone to your shinbone. It is the most common ligament to tear in the knee.
To reconstruct the ACL, your surgeon may take a piece of tendon from another part of your body and use it to replace the torn ligament.
Meniscus Repair or Clean-Up
The meniscus is a thick piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh bone and the shinbone. There is a medial (inside) and lateral (outside) meniscus. Tears usually occur when force is applied through the knee as it twists.
Tears through acute injury can usually be repaired. Your surgeon will insert an arthroscope, or a small camera, inside the knee and small tools through a tiny incision. These tools will be used to repair the torn meniscus.
At times, the meniscus tear cannot be repaired, and the surgeon will have to remove the damaged tissue.
If a meniscus tear occurs along with arthritis, knee replacement surgery may be the best option.
Articular Cartilage Restoration
Cartilage is the smooth, gliding surface that covers our joints. It stops the bones from rubbing together, contributing to pain-free movement.
When the cartilage wears out over the entire surface of a joint, we refer to this as arthritis. However, sometimes there is isolated damage to the cartilage that can be repaired.
You can think of this like a pothole on an otherwise smooth road. Our goal with cartilage preservation surgery is to fill in that “pothole” to decrease pain and prolong the health of the knee.
Your orthopedic surgeon at JIS Orthopedics will discuss the best treatment methods for you.
Non-Surgical Techniques for Knee Preservation
In some cases, non-surgical treatments can be used to treat a deteriorating joint. Some of the non-surgical treatment options for knee preservation are listed below.
- NSAIDs: Over-the-counter medicines, such as NSAIDs, can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Injections: Steroids can be used to reduce joint inflammation when NSAIDs are ineffective. Hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in your synovial fluid, may also be injected to help to ease joint stiffness.
- Physical therapy: Specific exercises learned through physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, giving it more support.
- Cartilage-protecting drugs: Glucosamine and chondroitin are two over-the-counter supplements that some believe will help in preserving cartilage.
- Walking aids: A walker or cane can be used to help relieve pressure from an arthritic knee while walking.
If you are experiencing knee pain and are interested in learning about joint preservation, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany, Athens, and St. Clairsville, OH. Our knee specialists are ready to help you get back to doing what you love!