The severity of this can be very variable, both in terms of Xray or MRI changes and symptoms. It is possible to get on top of your symptoms even with quite advanced arthritis. Below is a list of interventions, in order of importance, which can be more successful than surgery for the long-term management of mild to moderate knee arthritis.
There is no doubt that weight loss can be difficult to achieve. There are many different approaches to weight loss, including speaking to your GP and/or dietician. I like the scientific and common sense approach of BBC science journalist and doctor Michael Mosley, who has popularised the 5:2 and Fast 800 diets.
There are many online resources and books under his name, including a structured online program at www.thefast800.com.
Exercise can help with weight loss and improves mental wellbeing. Certain exercises can aggravate your arthritis, and it is important to find what works for you. Your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can help with this.
Avoiding aggravating factors
Everyone’s response to these is different, and it is important for you to identify what aggravates your knees and find a work around. For example, knee pads for kneeling at work, or using a cycling or rowing machine instead of running.
Walking stick or hiking poles
Hiking poles can make you an athlete rather than an invalid. There are many different types, some very expensive, but you can pick up a pair for between $50–$100, so don’t pay too much. Used correctly, these poles will help you go further, faster for longer with less pain. Your physio can help you use these correctly, alternatively google ‘Inspiration outdoors proper hiking pole technique’.
Simple pain killers
Anti-inflammatory gel (eg. Voltaren gel) can be as effective as tablets with fewer side effects.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate are the building blocks of articular cartilage. Taken as a dietary supplement, the scientific evidence of their benefit is patchy. They are usually safe and well tolerated. They are worth taking for 6 months and reassessing the personal benefit. Continue with them if you feel they are positive and discontinue if you feel no benefit.
There is more recent scientific evidence to suggest that a PRP injection may provide the most effective pain relief for knee osteoarthritis. These injections can be administered at a local imaging provider. There is cost involved for this service.
Knee arthroscopic debridement is useful for a number of conditions, especially if there is no established osteoarthritis. In certain circumstances, if you have exhausted all non-operative measures, arthroscopy may have a role to play.
- Pathway for total hip replacement and resurfacing hip replacement
- Bearings for hip replacement
- Hip replacement in the young