When non-surgical care is not effective for knee osteoarthritis – and it usually takes a while to get to this point, but sometimes it does get to the point where non-surgical care is not offering the kind of relief where a person can go about and do all the things they want to be doing in their life and activities – there are surgical alternatives.
There are two broad categories of surgeries for knee osteoarthritis, one is going in arthroscopically to clean out the knee, which is a relatively small surgery. There is also total knee replacement, where you basically take the knee out and replace it. Total knee replacement is still a big surgery, but it does tend to work pretty well. And so, what I usually tell people is that, if we can keep the knee good, which we usually can, and people can be doing all of their activities and have the pain not be a major factor in their life, then that’s certainly what we should be doing. At the same time, if the pain and the limitations from knee osteoarthritis are really significantly interfering with a person’s activities of daily living and impacting their daily life, then at that point it’s certainly appropriate to at least have a conversation with a surgeon about the surgical alternatives that may be appropriate.