Dr. Allen S. Kent on Knee Joint Arthritis – LIVING WELL Magazine

Knee Joint Arthritis

Advances in Treatment Updates

Allen S. Kent, MD, LIVING WELL Magazine

There are many different causes of knee joint arthritis, with the most common being osteoarthritis (“wear and tear” over the years) and traumatic arthritis (arthritis which develops after an injury to the joint). The diagnosis is made by taking a detailed patient history, physical exam of the joint, x-rays, and possibly an MRI scan.

Arthritis cannot be cured, but it can be typically managed in a number of ways. Initial treatment includes over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and intermittent ice or heat, physical therapy, and low impact exercises.

If the initial conservative treatment approach is not effective, a short six-day oral course of a stronger steroid anti-inflammatory medication can be tried. If pain is extreme, a steroid injection into the joint is normally effective. The length of the effectiveness of the injection varies, but can be many weeks or even months. If the symptoms persist (i.e.: pain, swelling, popping), we normally recommend arthroscopic surgery (micro surgery through two tiny holes into the knee) to “clean out” the knee joint. If the arthritis process is not too advanced, this procedure is usually effective in greatly reducing the pain and popping associated with the arthritis.

For more advanced cases, where the pain, grinding, and stiffness persist even after arthroscopy, we offer a totally different injectable medication, hyaluronic acid (“Synvisc” or “Supartz”) which is a biologic joint lubricant. This medication reduces friction on the arthritic joint surfaces and allows freer motion with less pain. Its effectiveness is approximately 80%.

Finally, in cases where the arthritis has destroyed the integrity of the joint cartilage and the above treatment regimes are no longer effective, total knee replacement is an excellent surgical option that results in almost complete pain relief and restoration of significant function. We use Smith & Nephew knee replacement systems, which have artificial surfaces and have been known to last greater than 30 years! (Please click on their website, www.rediscoveryourgo.com, for additional, extensive information. Click on “Visionare” Technology)

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the office at 817-332-5591.