Knee arthritis is incredibly common, and can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis after a trauma such as a broken bone or previous surgery, or the most common option, osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is intense localized inflammation in the knee joint that causes joint destruction of the cartilage, wearing it thin, and causing swelling and pain and decreased function.
Knee replacement is the “cure” for arthritis, as we replace all the worn out cartilage and damaged bone with metal and plastic. However, conservative treatment before you decide you are ready for surgery include anti inflammatories, injections, braces, therapy, activity modification and weight loss. NSAIDS( non steroidal anti inflammatories) aim at decreasing the inflammation in the joint, relieving pain and increasing function.
Steroid injections or more specialized injections like viscosupplementation/gel ( hyaluronic acid) or PRP( platelet rich plasma) are also options you can ask your orthopedic physician about, as well as stem cells in very unique circumstances. Braces are also effective to try and unload the affected area of the joint, and can be prescribed by your physician.
The advances in new NSAID’s and effectiveness of gel injections and PRP are expanding at an incredible rate, and allow excellent pain relief and increased function, while diminishing side effects.