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Alternatives to Knee Surgery: What Can I Do Instead of Knee Surgery?

Alternatives to Knee Surgery: What Can I Do Instead of Knee Surgery?

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Knee injuries are the leading cause of medical claims. In the United Kingdom, knee injuries account for about 12 percent of all visits to a doctor's office and about half of all office visits for non-operative care. In addition, it accounts for about five percent of all surgical dissections. One of the more common injuries is a dislocated kneecap. Among patients seeking medical treatment for their knee, a dislocated kneecap is the second most common reason for non-operative treatment, behind only a herniated disc (which is not actually a separate part of the knee).

Our bodies are not perfectly designed to bear the sheer forces encountered when we run or jump; bones that overtime will begin to lose their strength and eventually break. Knee pain and other related discomforts can result from this inevitable process. The first reaction is usually to apply cold therapy as there are many alternatives to knee surgery, ice wrapped in a towel or an ice pack placed directly on the painful area. This may help relieve some of the swelling but will do nothing to repair the damage to the bones and cartilage.

The Prescription Medications

There are some prescription medications that your doctor can prescribe for your pain, but they do not address the source of the problem. As with a broken bone, the knee simply does not have the same structural properties that a healthy body does. Bones that are under stress tend to break down at an alarmingly fast rate. Within a matter of weeks, a microscopic crack in the protective cartilage can leak tear fibers, causing unimaginable pain. These tears often occur in the outer layers of the cartilage, allowing pressure to build.

Most doctors recommend treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is limited to anti-inflammatory drugs and a course of steroid injections. Unfortunately, these drugs are not effective against the underlying bone and cartilage deterioration that is the root cause of joint pain. Once you start taking steroids, you will likely be prescribed them for life, even though they will not repair your knees any better than they started out. They can minimize the symptoms of the joint inflammation, but will do nothing to correct the structural damage to the bones and cartilage. Surgery, although it does fix the physical damage to the knee, can also dramatically correct the alignment of the bones and allow movement again.

What Can You Do Instead of Surgery?

You might ask, "What can I do instead of knee replacement and osteoarthritis treatment?" Your doctor may suggest the surgical solution, but you may want to take a different route. In most cases, the doctor will perform arthroscopic replacement of the affected bones. This procedure involves removing damaged portions of the bone with a tiny camera lens attached. With the aid of an arthroscope, the surgeon can clearly see the insides of the bones, which have been repaired using the patient's own healthy tissues, replacing the damaged portion of the bone.

Patients who undergo this procedure are able to return to their daily lives in almost all cases. There is one very rare exception to this rule, and that is with patients whose knee cap bones have grown so large that they need to be removed. In this case, the arthroscopic replacement of the replacement bones usually has to be performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. It is quite common for the doctor to place screws in the front of the knee cap to hold the bone in place, as well as to provide stability. The postoperative recovery period usually involves resting the affected knee and keeping it fairly mobile, although it is important to avoid excessive activity for the first three to six months. Athletes and those who were involved in sudden and aggressive activities are at much greater risk for developing osteoarthritis in their knees.

The Alternatives to Knee Surgery

Another option for osteoarthritis treatment other than osteoarthritis surgery is the use of alternatives to knee surgery, which are often more effective and less painful than surgery. Glucosamine is a substance found in the glucosamine sulfate supplement that is commonly used in treating arthritis and other problems involving cartilage and the joints. Chondroitin Sulfate is another substance that can be taken as a supplement or in a pill form to treat a variety of ailments including osteoarthritis pain. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a substance that has traditionally been used for treating a variety of ailments including osteoarthritis. Another substance that can be taken is a natural combination of herbs that include alfalfa and burdock root.

The Osteoarthritis Treatment

While osteoarthritis is an extremely painful condition, patients can still choose other options besides having their bones surgically replaced. Patients and doctors alike are beginning to understand that pain and discomfort are not the only things that are debilitating from this condition. Other serious complications such as infections and clotting can result if the condition is not dealt with properly.

Knowing what can I do instead of knee surgery for osteoarthritis pain is important for those who are looking to make positive changes in their lives. A healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise are just a few of the alternative treatments for osteoarthritis that are available.


Ella Isabell lives in Manchester, United Kingdom. She is orthopedic surgeon at the clinic in Manchester. Her areas of specialty are bones, joints and their associated structures that enable movement - ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.


Manchester, SK6 8DR Manchester


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