A: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of knee pain in adults. It is a disorder that causes the cartilage in the joint to wear and can lead to symptoms such as pain and swelling. It can be diagnosed with X-rays, MRI or by looking at the joint in surgery. There are many factors that can cause OA, including genetics, developmental abnormalities and a history of previous injury to the joint. Most patients with OA of the knee can be treated with simple measures such as activity modification or the use of anti-inflammatory medications. It is helpful to maintain a healthy lifestyle including maintaining ideal body weight and regularly exercising. Many patients gain excellent relief of their symptoms with joint injections. In some cases, if the symptoms are severe and don’t respond to simple treatments, surgery may be considered. The surgical treatment options vary depending upon many factors such as the location and severity of cartilage damage in the joint. Some lesions may be treated with cartilage transplantation or realignment procedures. Other cases may be treated with partial or total joint replacement. An orthopaedic surgeon can help you determine what options would be most appropriate.
Information provided by Dr. David Vittetoe, hip and knee surgeon, Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons (DMOS), 1301 Penn Ave., Suite 213, (515) 299-6364.