Degenerative joint disease of the knee, also known as osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In simple terms osteoarthritis is inflammation of the joint that leads to the breakdown of cartilage. The disease is progressive and the symptoms can be debilitating as time progresses. Total Knee Joint Replacements, also known as TKR, are a viable option in treating advanced degenerative joint disease of the knee. TKR surgeries are one of the most common surgeries performed today and the outcomes are excellent.
Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease of The Knee
- Decreased Range of Motion
Causes of Osteoarthritis
- Natural aging
Treatments for Degenerative Joint Disease of the Knee
- Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Tylenol and other anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve the pain experienced by osteoarthritis sufferers.
- Cortisone Injections: Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory medication. These injections are especially effective in relieving debilitating pain flares. However, studies are showing that repeated injections of cortisone can lead to further cartilage breakdown in the knee joint. Cortisone should be used with caution in the knee.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These supplements are often combined into one tablet. Many people have pain and function relief by using these over the counter supplements. I have a friend who swears by this therapy combined with Omega 3 supplements. It should be noted that some people experience no relief and studies are, so far, inconclusive. The bottom line is that if it works for you, glucosamine, chondroitin and omega 3 supplements should be part of your routine. Make sure you discuss taking any over the counter medication with your doctor before adding them to your medication list.
- Lifestyle Changes: Obesity is a huge risk factor for osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. Weight loss can decrease pain and slow progression of the disease.
- Total Knee Replacements also known as TKR: Total knee joint replacements have a high degree of success. Most people experience a high degree of success with a joint replacement including a high degree of range of motion, a high level of function and a pain-free life. The success of a TKR can be seen in the following Infographic by healthline.com
Recovery time after a total knee replacement is usually about 3 months. Physical therapy is often necessary to ensure you get the highest level of range of motion possible in the joint. After you have healed from your surgery you will be able to enjoy life to its fullest without the limitations that degenerative joint disease puts on your life. My own father had a TKR. Before he went in for surgery he used a scooter to get around long distances and limited his mobility due to pain. Shortly after his surgery he was back to working in the yard, building decks, painting houses and all the other things that he seems to get suckered into doing. The result of the surgery for him was outstanding. I have seen the same level of satisfaction from my patients as well. The statistics as seen in the infographic support the use of TKR to treat degenerative joint disease of the knee. What I am saying is: You are going to LOVE your new knee!