There are a number of reasons for knee pain, including sprains or strains of ligaments or muscles, tendonitis (inflammation resulting from overuse), cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, meniscus tears, or posterior cruciate ligament tears. Some injuries can be treated with icing, inflammation-reducing medication and physical therapy. Some injuries need to be repaired surgically.
The most common cause of knee pain among people over age 45 is the “wear-and-tear” arthritis – osteoarthritis. It is the result of the thinning of the natural cushioning (cartilage) between joints. Without that protection, bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Nonsurgical treatment such as physical therapy and medication may relieve pain enough to postpone or even prevent surgery. But when conservative treatments fail, knee replacement surgery may be the best option.
Phelps orthopedic surgeons are skilled in various knee surgery techniques:
Partial knee replacement surgery – In some patients, arthritis affects only one part of the knee. When this is the case, partial knee replacement may be an option. Also known as uni-compartmental knee replacement, this surgical treatment replaces part of the knee that is damaged with an implant and keeps the healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee. The benefits of partial knee replacement include a smaller incision, less blood loss, faster recovery time, and quicker return to normal activities.
Total knee replacement – During total knee replacement, diseased bone and cartilage are removed, and the knee joint is resurfaced with a metal and plastic implant. The implant helps alleviate the pain of arthritis and also increases mobility and function. Knee implants come in many sizes so an implant can be selected to specifically to accommodate bone size for different patients and help ensure durability of the implant.
Phelps orthaopedic patients benefit from “Patient Specific Instrumentation” (PSI), which enables more accurate knee implant placement and sizing. PSI uses precise 3D MRI imaging and special software for 3D printing to make customized instruments for each patient and identify exactly how the new knee should be positioned.
How do you know when you should see an orthopedic surgeon about your knee?
- Does knee pain cause you trouble when you go up and down the stairs?
- Does knee pain limit how far you can walk?
- Have you previously had a cortisone or other type of injection in your knee?
- Does your knee feel stiff?
- Are you unable to fully bend or straighten your knee?
- Do you feel like your knee is becoming bowed or knock-kneed?
- Has your knee been hurting for longer than three months?
If you answer “yes” to any of the questions above, a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon may be warranted.
Phelps orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee replacement are:
Corey Burak, MD
Jason Hochfelder, MD