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Knee Arthritis

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K. Mathew Warnock, MD

Treatments for Knee Arthritis in Houston, TX

If you are experiencing pain or lack or movement in your knee, you may be suffering from knee arthritis. Houston knee doctor K. Mathew Warnock, MD can help you by reviewing your symptoms, determining the cause of your pain, and developing a treatment plan. An issue that develops from the knee is never a small problem; it can go beyond daily pain to limit mobility and personal activities. While you should seek qualified medical attention for any knee problem, the following information offers an overview of knee arthritis and treatment.

Types of Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis could actually be one of three types of arthritis, or joint inflammation. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis; it is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. It causes pain when bones rub against each other or bone spurs form. The second type is Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and bones. It causes pain when the synovial membrane, which covers the knee joint, begins to swell, causing pain and stiffness. The final type is Posttraumatic Arthritis, which develops after a knee injury. It causes pain when meniscal tears and ligament injuries cause instability and additional wear on the knee joint over time.

Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Symptoms of knee arthritis include a stiff or swollen joint, difficulty moving, pain after vigorous activity, weak or buckling knees, grinding noises, or joints “locking” or “sticking” during movement. The movement issues may be due to loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue. Also, many people with arthritic knees note increased joint pain during rainy weather.

Surgical Treatments

There are several different types of surgery used to treat knee arthritis, but your doctor is only likely to recommend them if your arthritis causes disability and cannot be relieved by nonsurgical methods. For young patients with small areas of cartilage damage, surgeons may perform Cartilage Grafting. In this procedure, missing cartilage is replaced by healthy cartilage from another part of the knee or a tissue bank. For those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, surgeons may perform a Synovectomy, in which the damaged joint lining is removed. For patients with early-stage Osteoarthritis, surgeons may opt for an Osteotomy. In this surgery, either the shinbone or thighbone is cut and reshaped to relieve pressure on the knee joint. The most invasive surgery is an Arthroplasty, or knee replacement. In this procedure, the surgeon replaces the damaged cartilage and bone with new metal or plastic joint surfaces. Knee surgery or rehabilitation can require weeks of rest and recovery, even with the help and guidance of a knee doctor.

Non-Surgical Treatments

In the past, very few options existed to treat the intensifying pain of knee arthritis without some form of invasive surgery. However, there are now a variety of non-surgical treatments for knee arthritis including physical therapy, medication, and assistive devices such as a cane, brace, or walker. A doctor may also recommend losing weight or limiting high-impact exercises like jogging, tennis, or climbing stairs.

Cutting-edge Developments

In order to fight against the debilitating effects of knee arthritis, Dr. Warnock has worked tirelessly to offer his patients multiple options, like those above. Now, however, there is a new treatment method, known as PRP injections, which can help patients with arthritis pain without the need for invasive surgery. New research from the Hospital for Special Surgery has shown that patients with knee arthritis reported significant improvements in pain and function for 12 months after a PRP injection. The findings, which were published online in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, suggested that if PRP were administered during the early stages of knee arthritis, it could help to slow down joint damage. Though the study is not conclusive, it provides hope for the treatment of knee arthritis and for alternative treatments of different knee-related injuries.

PRP Injections

PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. Platelets contain proteins known as growth factors, which are important in healing injuries. As the name suggests, PRP is plasma with a high concentration of platelets. Although it is unclear how PRP injections work, studies suggest that when the growth factors in PRP are increasingly concentrated, the healing process can potentially be sped up. PRP is prepared by drawing blood from the patient, separating the needed platelets from the blood cells, and then using centrifugation to increase platelet concentration. The resulting PRP is then injected into the knee, or other joint-problem areas, where it can begin to heal and provide long-lasting pain relief.

To learn more about the types, symptoms, and treatment options for knee arthritis, or to schedule an appointment, contact the offices of K. Mathew Warnock, MD.