Arthritis pain affects more than 40 million Americans.1 If you’re reading this website, you may be one of them. There are many causes of knee pain and there are a variety of treatment options. This website will review the causes and treatments of knee pain, highlighting more conservative knee treatment. Alleviating the pain and restoring mobility in your knee may allow you to do the simple things — from walking to gardening, even playing with your grandchildren, and most importantly, just enjoying life again. Information is the first step toward potential relief from joint pain.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and is central to nearly every routine activity. The knee joint is formed by the ends of 3 bones: the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella). Thick, tough tissue bands called ligaments connect the bones and stabilize the joint. A smooth, plastic-like lining called cartilage covers the ends of the bones and prevents them from rubbing against each other, allowing for flexible and nearly frictionless movement. Cartilage also serves as a shock absorber, cushioning the bones from the forces between them. Finally, a soft tissue called synovium lines the joint and produces a lubricating fluid that reduces friction and wear.
Normally, all of the parts of the knee joint work together and the joint moves easily and without pain. However, diseases or injury can disturb the normal functioning of the joint resulting in:
One of the most common causes of knee pain and loss of mobility is the wearing away of the joint’s cartilage lining. When this happens, the bones rub against each other, causing significant pain and swelling — a condition known as osteoarthritis. Trauma or direct injury to the knee can also cause osteoarthritis. Additionally, without cartilage there is no shock absorption between the bones in the joint, allowing stress to build up in the bones and contributing to pain.
Osteoarthritis is probably the most common joint disorder in the United States, affecting approximately 20 million people.1
Following an orthopaedic evaluation, your orthopaedic specialist will review and discuss the results with you. Your treatment options may include:
If non-invasive treatment options are not giving you satisfactory pain relief, knee surgery may become necessary. However, a total knee replacement (TKR) may not be necessary — alternate types of knee implants are available.
There are three compartments to the knee: the medial (inside) compartment, the lateral (outside) compartment and the patellofemoral (kneecap) compartment. Depending on where the arthritis affects your knee, partial knee resurfacing may be an option for you. PKR is a growing procedure. There are approximately 70,000 partial knee resurfacing procedures done in the U.S. each year.2
Partial knee resurfacing (PKR) is a surgical procedure for relieving arthritis in one compartment of the knee. With PKR, only the damaged surface of the knee joint is replaced, helping to minimize trauma to healthy bone and tissue. The surgeon removes only damaged bone in the affected knee and fits the implant to that bone. Because the PKR artificial joints are smaller than total knee implants, the surgical incision may be smaller as well.
Since most of the knee joint is unaffected and the basic knee structure remains intact, post-operative pain may be reduced and the recovery period may be shorter than total knee replacement.3
Triathlon® PKR was developed with patient needs in mind. The implant is anatomically shaped and helps enable surgeons to use the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques. With this procedure, only the affected compartment of the arthritic femur and the tibia are resurfaced with artificial implants.
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