Arthritis in the Knees

Question:
My medical doctor says that I have arthritis in my knees. What can I do to avoid undergoing knee-replacement surgery?

Answer:
Fortunately, there are a variety of options that can help you avoid surgery. Losing weight and strengthening the shock absorbency muscles in your thighs and calves is recommended. These muscles protect your knees and can be strengthened with a low-impact regimen such as a stationary bicycle and walking in a pool.

In addition, oral medications that are anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help. Supplements with glucosamine can improve the quality of your joint fluid. Some can be taken orally, while others are injected into the joint by a physician. Steroids injected into your knee can relieve pain, but should be used sparingly.

If your condition does not improve, newer techniques may be the answer. One procedure called “Platelet-Enriched Plasma” (PRP) utilizes the plasma from your own blood, which is then injected into the knee joint. Some cells and growth factors present in PRP may improve cartilage quality.

Finally, arthroscopy can be done to clean up your knees to ease your discomfort and delay the need for joint replacement. See a specialist to explore the options best suited to your needs.