Although knee replacement surgery is the most effective treatment to get permanent relief from the pain and agony caused by arthritis, it is usually the last resort. The surgery involves capping the end of the bones forming the knee joint with a metal or plastic knee cap. However, as artificial joints limit the range of motion, doctors always try all possible alternatives before prescribing a knee replacement surgery. The blog post discusses five such alternatives to a knee replacement surgery. Take a look.
1. Physical Therapy
Consult a physical therapist that can plan a physiotherapy routine to increase the strength of the muscles affecting the knees and reduce pain. The therapist may use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, apply ice and heat, or use other therapies to increase cutaneous blood flow. When it comes to muscle strengthening exercises for arthritis, rather than going the DIY way, always working with the licensed therapist.
2. Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid injections lubricate the knee and also work as shock absorbers by helping bone tissues and cartilage slide smoothly in the joint. This improves the mobility of the knee and reduces the pain. If you are allergic to poultry or eggs, you may have an allergic reaction with the knee injection. Some patients also complaint of side effects such pain and additional swelling.
Prolotherapy is the process of injecting dextrose solution in tendons or ligaments to improve blood flow. Dextrose solution is a sugar mix that stimulates tissues so that they repair on their own. You may need four to six treatments and a periodic visit to the doctor for retreatment. Prolotherapy might not provide complete relief to the patient, but is helpful when paired with other therapies.
Osteotomy is recommended for younger patients with a deformity or damage in one side of the knee. The doctor cuts the shin bone crosswise and creates a wedge to shift the load from the affected area. Osteotomy, though an alternative to knee replacement surgery, might make it difficult for the patient to undergo a successful total knee replacement surgery later, if the need arises in future.
5. Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is performed to repair tendons and cartilage inside the knee or remove bone fragments. The surgery is less invasive than traditional surgery, the surgeon makes two to four small incisions to view the inside of the joint and operate. If the patient has a symptom such as “knee locking”, the doctor removes the loose fragments of the bone and/or cartilage, thereby eliminating the need of a knee replacement surgery.
Weighing the Options
When it comes to choosing a treatment for arthritis, the doctor considers all possible alternatives to a knee replacement surgery, and if all options are exhausted they will prescribe a total or partial knee replacement. If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about arthritis management, treatment, and alternatives to knee replacement surgery, the experts at The Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center can help. We are an alliance of nationally recognized practitioners with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of all spinal and orthopedic disorders. To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-608-4762 or click here.