Skip to navigation
  1. Home Page
  2. Knee

Treatments and Conditions

Common Conditions, Symptoms and Treatments

Common Conditions:

The erosion of cartilage lining the knee often causes pain, swelling, and loss of mobility. The most common cause of erosion is a condition known as osteoarthritis. Trauma or direct injury to the knee can cause osteoarthritis. Without cartilage there is no shock absorption between the bones in the joint, which allows stress to build up in the bones and contributes to pain.

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of joint disorders. More than 50 million people in the United States are diagnosed with arthritis.[1] The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.[2]

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative arthritis because it is a "wearing out" condition involving the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Joint cartilage is a gel-like protective tissue found at joint surfaces that provides support and lubrication during movement. When cartilage wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness. OA usually occurs in people over age 50, and often in people with a family history of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Joint stiffness (especially in the morning)
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Possible crunching sound in joints

Possible Treatment Options:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cold packs to help reduce inflammation
  • Local injection of cortisone to further reduce inflammation
  • Orthotic devices such as: 
    • custom-made shoes
    • shoe inserts
    • braces
    • a cane
  • Surgical procedures such as: 
    • arthroscopic debridement (removing inflamed and/or irritating debris from the joint)
    • arthrodesis (fusing the joint for greater support)
    • arthroplasty (replacing the arthritic joint)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body's natural immune response wreaks havoc on the lining of the joints (called the synovial membrane), causing chronic inflammation and pain. The inflammation may eventually damage the joint's cartilage and bone, weaken the soft tissue around the joint (cartilage, ligaments and tendons) and prevent the joint from working properly.

Symptoms:

  • Stage 1:
    • Pain
    • Warmth
    • Redness 
    • Swelling
  • Stage 2:
    • Thickening of the joing lining
  • Stage 3:
    • permanent joint damage occurs as bone and cartilage are attacked by the enzymes released by the inflamed cells in the affected joint's once-healthy cushioning fluid (called synovial fluid).

In addition to joint pain, swelling and stiffness, the symptoms of RA commonly include fatigue, weakness, flu-like symptoms accompanied by a low-grade fever, loss of appetite, depression, chronic dry eye or dry mouth and, in people with more advanced RA, bumps (called rheumatoid nodules) under the skin.

Possible Treatment Options:

Your rheumatologist may recommend different treatment options depending on the severity of your RA and its impact on your joint(s) and your body as a whole.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Analgesics, steroids
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • Biologic response modifiers that work on the immune system.
  • Surgical procedures such as:
    • Arthroscopic debridement (removing inflamed and/or irritating debris from the joint)
    • Arthrodesis (fusing the joint for greater support)
    • Arthroplasty (replacing the arthritic joint)

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis may develop after an injury to the joint in which the bone and cartilage do not heal properly. The joint is no longer smooth and these irregularities ultimately lead to more wear on the joint.

Symptoms:

Injury to a joint, such as a bad sprain or fracture, can cause damage to the articular cartilage. Once this cartilage is damaged, it does not normally grow back. The defects are filled with scar tissue, which is not as good a material for covering joint surfaces as the cartilage.

Possible Treatment Options:

Post-traumatic arthritis is treated similarly to osteoarthritis.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cold packs to help reduce inflammation
  • Local injection of cortisone to further reduce inflammation
  • Orthotic devices such as:
    • custom-made shoes
    • shoe inserts
    • braces
    • a cane

If you are still experiencing arthritis pain and joint damage that's affecting your quality of life even after all other conservative measures have been taken, your doctor may suggest surgery to help relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Your doctor will determine the proper surgical treatment based on the severity of your arthritis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

If you would like additional information about total knee replacement procedures please visit Stryker’s website www.getaroundknee.com.

To learn more about knee pain and knee replacement surgery, please visit www.getaroundknee.com.

 

Designed and created by DDM Marketing & Communications.