Q.I have arthritic knees that are becoming so painful that it is hard to even walk two blocks. My knees also wake me at night a lot. My orthopedic surgeon has tried cortisone shots, physical therapy and lubricant shots but these are not helping. He says my knees are bone on bone and I need knee replacements to get better. Are there other treatments and if not, will new knees make me better?
A. When you have knees with severe bone-on-bone arthritis and have tried and failed most non-surgical options, the next step is knee-replacement surgery. Although non-surgical options such as bracing, PRP injections or stem-cell injections are possible, at this stage they are not likely to help for any extended period.
The technology for knee-replacement surgery has improved greatly in the last few years. This has allowed for less invasive techniques, better knee alignments and greater longevity of the knee implants. The major indication for joint replacement is not being able to deal with the pain anymore. The vast majority of patients after the surgery have significant pain relief and better function. The absolute key to success from this surgery is a motivated patient who works hard with physical therapy to regain range of motion and strength.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.