The knee is a common site for "wear and tear" arthritis. Although there may be many predisposing factors such as previous injury, being overweight or having relatives with the same condition, the common feature is a wearing out of the smooth cartilage that lines the joint. This results in friction being generated on movement and the characteristic symptoms of pain and swelling.
The best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of the wear as seen on X-rays and scans. Many patients derive benefit from losing weight and strengthening the muscles in their legs, around the hips and in the "core" area. Sometimes injections can ease the discomfort to allow these exercises to be carried out.
The best operative treatment will depend on the extent of the damage and the symptoms it is causing. Occasionally keyhole surgery can be used if there is a specific problem to solve, such as a loose chunk of cartilage getting caught in the joint. Often, changing the pressure on the damaged area through joint realignment (Osteotomy) or changing the surface of the joint through replacement with prosthetic implants may be necessary. Please see sections on JOINT REPLACEMENT and OSTEOTOMY for further information on these procedures.