Treatment of Knee Arthritis
As we get older many of our joints start to show signs of wear and tear. One of the more common problems that I see in my practice at Sobel Spine and Sports in Phoenix Arizona is osteoarthritis of the knee. The knee joint has three compartments- the one on the inside known as the medial joint compartment, the one on the outside know as the lateral compartment and the last just behind the knee cap called the patella-femoral joint space. Arthritis can involve one, two or all three of these areas. On a standard x-ray of the knee your doctor can see narrowing of these joint compartments. The space narrows because of loss of cartilage either from normal wear and tear from aging or from a previous injury or surgery.
Non-surgical treatments that can be effective include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or ketoprofen as well as a whole host of prescription NSAIDs- Celebrex, Indocin, Dicofenac, etc., physical therapy with an emphasis on strengthening the muscles that move the knee, improving flexibility and doing cardio exercises such as swimming and cycling. Other treatments that can be helpful include an injection of corticosteroids (cortisone) or one of the knee lubricants such as Synvisc. Dr. Jerry Sobel often times recommends physical therapy along with a series of Synvisc injections to help his patients with knee pain from arthritis.