Osteoarthritis is an all-encompassing joint disease as well as one of the most common forms of arthritis which can cause chronic pain and disability.
This disease can also be specific to the knees and statistics show that knee osteoarthritis impacts approximately 19% of adults in America over the age of 45. It is a joint disability that has almost doubled in the last decade according to research. 
Some of the most common causes of knee osteoarthritis include a gradual degeneration of tissues in knee joints and inflammation by mechanical loading.
Old age and obesity can also exacerbate its prevalence however there needs to be more substantial research.
Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis
Those who live with the condition can find it difficult to carry out basic tasks due to restricted mobility such as walking, sitting, bending, climbing stairs or even lying down. Many opt for non-surgical treatments at first, which include:
- Over the counter medication, however, this comes with the risk of developing a dependency and does not provide a long term solution.
- Topical treatments in the form of ointments and creams are also popular.
- Injecting hyaluronic acid in the knees to boost natural joint fluid.
- Extensive physical therapy to strengthen muscles that support the knee also helps to take some pressure off the joint along with making efforts to reduce weight.
However, while these may mitigate the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis for immediate relief, they don’t provide a long term solution. In fact, some might even lose their effectiveness over time.
Consult a physician or your doctor as this is the right time to consider surgery and they will be able to assess the extent of the damage to the joints after a thorough examination.
Risks of not getting surgery
Ultimately, the decision is up to youwhether or not you want to undergo surgery. However, there are certain risks involved with delaying surgery.
For example, you become more susceptible to greater bone damage since knee osteoarthritis tends to worsen over time.
Moreover, if you fall or run into an accident, it can cause a lifelong injury. Joint pain in the knees can also lead to other kinds of joint pain such as in the hip, because you might change the way you walk to accommodate the pain in your knees.
It can start to take a toll on the surrounding muscles unless you consider surgical replacement.
What kind of surgery is suitable for treatment?
These are two of the most common knee replacement surgeries.
- Knee replacement(also known as total knee arthroplasty)
This involves replacing the entire knee joint with prosthetic pieces made with either metal or polyethylene. The newer, smoother surface moves more easily and helps improve functionality by making it easier to resume daily activities as long as they are relatively low impact.
- Knee arthroscopy
This surgery allows the surgeon to assess the joint degeneration that can occur due to arthritis and then process to get rid of loose cartilage and bone that can cause friction in the knee. Other processes include trimming the cartilage or removing inflamed tissue as well as flushing the joint.
At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we focus on providing the highest quality care for a variety of problems. Find out more about knee osteoarthritis and seek quality care with innovative technology at our clinic.