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What Can Be Done for a Knee That Is Bone-on-Bone?

Bone-on-bone on the knees is a condition where the cartilage that cushions the ends of your knee joints deteriorates. Once the cartilage wears off, the ends of the bones in your knee joints rub together when you move your knees, causing stiffness and pain. Bone-on-bone knee pain can be debilitating, but treatment by an orthopedic knee surgeon may help resolve your problem. 

Treatments for Bone-on-Bone Knee Pain

Bone-on-bone knee pain feels like a dull ache that sometimes becomes sharper. The pain is especially sharp after activities like squatting and bending, which engage your knee joints. You may also experience swelling, stiffness, and a grinding sound when you walk. Osteoarthritis is the common culprit behind bone-on-bone knee pain. 

When you visit your orthopediste genou with knee pain, they can do an X-ray to check for signs of cartilage deterioration and damage to your knee joints. Once your doctor diagnoses your bone-on-bone knee pain, they may offer the following treatments:

Pain Medication

Orthopedists may prescribe over-the-counter pain medication to manage bone-on-bone knee pain. Prescription pain meds can give you instant relief, but their effect wears off after some time. Your doctor may recommend cortisone injections in the knee joint if you want longer-lasting pain relief. 

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Bone-on-bone knee pain may be worse if you are overweight. Doctors may suggest weight loss to reduce the pressure on your knee joints. Reducing your body weight means your knees carry a lesser load, which may help preserve your cartilage. 

Physical therapy and exercise strengthen your knees and the muscles that support them, reducing your pain during physical activity. 

External Supports

The goal of treating bone-on-bone knee pain is to reduce the load on your joint bones. Canes and walkers can help you offload the pressure on your knee joints, helping to reduce your pain. Patients who want to avoid the restrictions that come with canes and walkers may wear knee braces. 

Surgical Treatments

It is impossible to regrow your cartilage once it deteriorates, so your condition may worsen over the years. There are three surgical procedures commonly used to treat bone-on-bone knee pain. 

Total Knee Replacement Surgery 

You may need total knee replacement surgery if your knee pain is unbearable. During total knee replacement surgery, an orthopedic surgeon may resurface the ends of your knee joints with artificial materials to cushion them against friction.

Your surgeon can cement metallic components at the ends of your knee joint bones to shield them from friction. Then they may place a plastic insert between the two bones. When you flex your knee, the metal-covered bones glide on the plastic instead of rubbing together.

Partial Knee Replacement

In this procedure, only the damaged part of the knee joint can be replaced with an artificial implant, preserving the healthy parts of the joint. This may be recommended for patients with osteoarthritis limited to one knee compartment. Partial knee replacement may result in quicker recovery times and a better range of motion than total knee replacement.

Cartilage Restoration

An orthopedic knee surgeon may avoid total knee replacement for younger patients, opting to restore the damaged cartilage. Arthroscopy is a common cartilage restoration procedure. Your orthopedic surgeon can make small incisions around your joint during this procedure. They may insert an arthroscope through the incisions to examine your joints.  

Your surgeon can remove the damaged cartilage, clean the bone surface, and repair the tissue damage on your knees. Your surgeon may also transplant cartilage into your knee if you have significant damage. Cartilage restoration procedures may be quicker and less invasive than total knee replacement. 

What To Expect After Knee Surgery

Once your knee surgery is complete, your orthopedic surgeon may give you a recovery plan to put you back on your feet. You may experience pain as your knee recovers, especially in the first few weeks after surgery. After a certain period of time, you may be ready to resume most of your daily activities. 

Part of your recovery plan may involve getting physical therapy to strengthen your knees and help you regain your full range of motion. 

Be careful to avoid falls that may injure your delicate knee. Eating a balanced diet can help to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover. Even if you no longer have discomfort in your knee, avoid resuming strenuous activities without clearance from your doctor.  

See an Orthopedic Knee Surgeon for Your Pain

You may be reluctant to get surgery for bone-on-bone knee pain. While pain meds and injections can ease your discomfort, they cannot repair the damage to your knee. Knee surgery procedures are now less invasive and may have faster recovery times. If you are experiencing bone-on-bone knee pain, see an orthopedic knee surgeon for a lasting solution.

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