As the largest and strongest joint in the body, the knee works hard to keep you moving every single day. A variety of conditions can affect the knee and make daily life more difficult, including arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. There are many types of arthritis, with the main symptoms including pain, swelling, and stiffness. Knee arthritis can make even the most common activities, like climbing stairs or walking, extremely difficult. At OrthoGeorgia, our total joint specialists work with patients facing a wide range of joint issues. We are proud to guide each patient on the path to relief, whether they need a total joint replacement or more conservative treatment methods. Learn more about knee arthritis below, and give us a call to get started with one of our orthopaedic specialists at OrthoGeorgia today.
What are the Symptoms of Knee Arthritis?
The three major types of arthritis that most commonly affect the knee are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis. All of these conditions cause painful inflammation in the knee joint, which usually develops gradually over time. It may be difficult to bend or straighten the knee as the joint becomes more stiff and swollen. Pain is often worse in the morning and can flare up with vigorous activity or bad weather. In some cases of arthritis, loose fragments of cartilage can get into the joint and interfere with its movement. In these cases, patients may notice the knee locking during movement, along with crunching or grinding noises. When you come to see one of our orthopaedic knee specialists at OrthoGeorgia, they will take the time needed to get to know you and understand your symptoms. In this way, we can ensure that we recommend the best possible treatment plan for you.
Diagnosing Knee Arthritis
Diagnosis of knee arthritis usually begins with a complete physical examination. During the exam, your doctor will check your knee for swelling, tenderness, warmth, reduced range of motion, instability, and more. They will look at the way you walk and check for involvement of other joints in the body. They will also talk to you about your symptoms, how long you have experienced them, and what makes them better or worse. From there, imaging tests may be used to reach a definitive diagnosis. An X-ray can help distinguish between the different forms of arthritis, while other tests (such as an MRI or a CT scan) may provide a more detailed view of the bones and soft tissues. In cases of certain types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, blood tests may be helpful as well.
How is Knee Arthritis Treated in Central GA?
There is no cure for knee arthritis, but proper treatment can help you to manage pain and live more comfortably. Care plans normally start with nonsurgical treatment methods, with surgery being considered if conservative treatments are not successful.
Nonsurgical Knee Arthritis Treatment
There are a wide range of nonsurgical treatment options that your doctor may recommend for your knee arthritis. Simple lifestyle changes, such as minimizing painful activities, changing your exercise routine, and losing weight, can help to protect the knee joint from further damage. Your doctor may also recommend working with a physical therapist, who will help you improve your range of motion and flexibility. At OrthoGeorgia, we proudly offer physical therapy care from licensed physical therapists and physical therapy assistants who provide the highest quality of care for a wide range of musculoskeletal issues. Patients have access to high quality care and state-of-the-art physical therapy equipment at our locations in Macon (Buildings A and B), Warner Robins, and Kathleen. Medications such as antiinflammatories and/or different types of injections may also be effective.
Will I Need Surgery for Knee Arthritis?
If the pain caused by your arthritis is severely disabling and nonsurgical treatment methods do not help, your doctor may recommend surgery. Knee surgeries, like all types of surgery, may have complications that your care team will discuss with you beforehand. The exact type of surgery your doctor recommends will depend on your case of arthritis. Surgical procedure options may include cartilage grafting, synovectomy, osteotomy, or even total or partial knee replacement. Knee replacement is often performed on an arthritic or damaged joint. At OrthoGeorgia, we utilize Stryker’s Mako Robot to perform total and partial knee replacements, which provides each patient with a personalized surgical experience based on their specific knee diagnosis and anatomy. This transformative technology allows for more accurate placement and alignment of your knee implant. Your surgeon at OrthoGeorgia will let you know if total or partial knee replacement is the best option for you.
Other Knee Conditions We Treat at OrthoGeorgia
At OrthoGeorgia, our orthopaedic specialists are trained to diagnose and treat all manner of orthopaedic issues, including injuries and conditions of the knee. We will work to determine the cause of your symptoms and get you on the path to recovery as quickly as possible, so you can get back to living life to the fullest. Some of our knee specialties in Central GA include: