Frequently Asked Questions about Knee Arthritis
What is knee arthritis?
Knee arthritis occurs when the cartilage covering of your knee joint wears down. The cartilage is there to protect the bone and allow for smooth and pain free motion. When the cartilage is no longer present, the rough surfaces of the exposed bones rub against one another causing pain.
What symptoms might I be experiencing if I have knee arthritis?
Patients with knee arthritis typically experience pain in the knee joint when standing, walking or going up and down the stairs. You may feel that your knee feels swollen or stiff and find it difficult to participate in activities you once were able to do with ease. Some patients also experience a feeling that their knee is going to “give out.” You may also experience that when you move your knee a grinding noise or feeling occurs.
What causes knee arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by many different things including older age, family history, prior injury to the knee joint, prior knee surgery and obesity. Often times there is no underlying cause that can be identified.
Are there any treatments for knee arthritis that do not involve surgery?
- Lifestyle modifications such as weight loss if you are overweight and switching to lower impact activities can lower stress across your knee joint
- Physical therapy to work on range of motion, stretching and strengthening
- Using a cane in the opposite arm to offload some of the force that is being transmitted through your knee (e.g. if your right knee hurts, use the cane in your left hand and vice versa)
- Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Advil for pain relief (always speak with your primary care doctor before starting any medications)
- A cortisone injection into the knee joint can be done in the office to relieve pain
- Viscosupplementation (“gel shot”) injections into the knee joint can be done in the office to relieve pain