Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of arthritis and a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of joint cartilage. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a cushion between the bones of a joint. With OA, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing bones under the cartilage to rub together.
Although the root cause of OA is unknown, the risk of developing symptomatic OA is influenced by multiple factors such as age, gender and inherited traits that can affect the shape and stability of your joints. Individuals are also at high risk for OA if they have a previous knee injury, repetitive strain on the knee, improper joint alignment, a BMI classified as “overweight,” or exercise or sports-generated stress placed on the knee joint.
Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Knees
- Pain while standing or walking short distances, climbing up or down stairs, or getting in and out of chairs
- Pain with activity
- Start up pain or stiffness when activities are initiated from a sitting position
- Joint stiffness after getting out of bed
- Swelling in one or more areas of the knee
- A grating sensation or crunching feeling in the knee during use
Your physician will begin by reviewing your medical history and symptoms. He or she will observe the natural movement of your knee, evaluate your knee and ankle joint alignment, and check your reflexes, muscle strength, range of motion and ligament stability in the affected knee.
Your physician may order x-rays to determine how much joint or bone damage has been done, how much cartilage has been lost and if there are bone spurs present. Additional medical imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to determine exactly where the damage is and its extent. Your physician may also order blood tests to rule out other causes of symptoms, or order a joint aspiration which involves drawing fluid from the joint through a needle and examining the fluid under a microscope.
Treating Osteoarthritis Pain
Whether your OA is mild or severe, your physician will most likely recommend certain lifestyle changes to reduce stress on your knee joints. Additional disease and pain management strategies may include: physical therapy, steroid injections, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical pain relieving creams.
Please speak with your physician if your symptoms aren’t responding to non-surgical solutions, or your pain can no longer be controlled by medication. You could be a candidate for joint surgery.
The most common surgical knee intervention performed for OA is a total knee replacement. During this procedure, the natural joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. This treatment option is usually offered to patients with advanced osteoarthritis of the knee. Total knee replacement is not always optimal for patients with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis in just one or two compartments of the knee. For patients with partial OA of the knee, MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing may be the more appropriate solution.
How can MAKOplasty® help?
MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing is an innovative treatment option for adults living with early to mid-stage OA that has not progressed to all three compartments of the knee. It is powered by the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, which allows for consistently reproducible precision in performing partial knee resurfacing.
During the procedure, the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, sparing the patient’s healthy bone and surrounding tissue. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again. MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing can:
- Facilitate ideal implant positioning to result in a more natural feeling knee following surgery
- Result in a more rapid recovery and shorter hospital stay than traditional knee replacement surgery
- Be performed on an outpatient basis
- Promote a rapid relief from pain and return to daily activities
As a knee arthroplasty procedure, MAKOplasty® is typically covered by most Medicare-approved and private health insurers.