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Pain in your knee with every step? The knee is a joint that comes under a lot of stress in our daily lives, so this isn’t surprising. Cartilage normally surrounds the femur, tibia and kneecap inside the knee and osteoarthritis represents wear in this cartilage surface.
Luckily, knee osteoarthritis can be treated effectively. Our specialists at Schoen Clinic will guide you through both conservative measures and evidence-based surgical procedures, to eliminate your symptoms as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Knee osteoarthritis - what is it exactly?
Daily strain can wear down your knee joint over time. Specialists then refer to this as primary osteoarthritis of the knee. Sometimes, diseases that cause inflammation inside joints can erode the surfaces too eg rheumatoid arthritis, gout and psoriasis.
Previous ligament or cartilage injury can also lead to a worn surface and cause pain and instability.
Osteoarthritis knee symptoms
Osteoarthritis of the knee can present with either pain or instability. The exact symptoms depend on the location of wear within the knee.
Most of the time, our patients report pain during longer walks or when going up and downstairs. Swelling in the knee joint is often present. Occasionally people also experience a pain at the back of the knee, due to a Bakers Cyst. Sometimes the knee can become unstable too and keep giving way on certain movements. All of these symptoms are signs of osteoarthritis of the knee.
In the early stage, the knee may be swollen and may hurt during activity. If the knee osteoarthritis is more advanced, it can even cause pain at rest. Eventually, you may hear grinding and crunching noises in the knees on movement.
Diagnostics: how we determine that you are suffering from knee osteoarthritis
Our experts at Schoen Clinic will check whether you suffer from knee osteoarthritis through an extensive consultation and thorough examination.
We will establish whether your knee joint is swollen and test its movement. Using special examination techniques, our consultants will get to the cause of the pain which may only occur during particular movements. This examination will typically not be painful.
X-ray imaging shows changes in the knee joint
To clarify the condition of your knee joint, at Schoen Clinic, we carry out x-ray examinations obtaining special views of the knee to assess different parts of the joint. Our experts accurately measure the spaces between the individual bones to assess the degree of wear. If the space between the bones is smaller, the knee osteoarthritis is more advanced.
Additional examinations in special cases
If required, our specialists will perform other imaging in addition to x-ray examination. An MRI can sometimes be useful to assess soft tissue problems, cartilage tears and loose bodies in the knee. If we suspect inflammatory arthritis or bacterial inflammation in your knee joint, we may also carry out blood tests. In certain cases, we take a fluid sample from your knee joint for analysis.
Osteoarthritis knee treatment
If you have been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, we consult with you to select the best-possible therapeutic approach. In many cases, we can use conservative treatment to stop or greatly delay the degenerative process in your knee. This way, your knee joint may be preserved for longer. We believe in giving patients good professional advice on the condition of their knee, and agreeing on a treatment plan together.
If the degenerative process is more advanced, we may offer surgical procedures as a solution. Our team of experts will be happy to give detailed advice on the appropriate procedure and discuss the pros and cons of each option so that shared decision making can occur between patient and clinician.
Conservative treatment of knee osteoarthritis
Surgery is not always necessary. Often, conservative treatment includes physiotherapy, injections and medication. Through conservative measures, we try to decrease your pain and strengthen the knee musculature to relieve the strain on your knee.
Our surgical treatment methods
Joint replacement surgery
Knee replacement surgery has evolved tremendously in the last 40 years. At Schoen Clinic, our leading surgeons are experts in joint replacement surgery and have some of the best results on the UK National Joint Registry.
Although called a knee replacement, the procedure could also be referred to as a resurfacing of the worn part of the knee. You surgeon will carefully discuss the type and make of the replacement surface and the latest techniques on sizing and alignment of the knee with you at your consultation.
Prior to surgery, you will normally have a thorough pre-assessment with a Consultant Anaesthetist, nurse and physiotherapist and be prepared for surgery.
Surgery now generally takes 30-60 minutes and is very successful.
We use the latest rapid recovery techniques both during and after surgery to keep you comfortable and most patients will be walking approximately 3-4 hours after surgery.
Schoen Clinic London is the first and only elective orthopaedic hospital to have resident intensive care consultants looking after its patients 24 hours a day on the ward. This enables us to pick up any post-operative medical issues early and deal with them before complications occur. It also enables us to use advanced local anaesthetic techniques on the ward which in turn helps keep patients pain free and mobile during the first few days after joint replacement surgery.
You will usually be discharged home two or three days after your joint replacement surgery and will usually be expected to have outpatient physiotherapy to make a full recovery. Some people may choose to go to a specialist rehabilitation facility for inpatient physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.