AAOS logoAs knee arthritis does not possibly have a cure, a physician may suggest employing various treatments in order to slow the progression of the disease. Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco have seemingly introduced more options for treatments. These treatments may permit middle-aged men and women with the disease to continue remaining active in their favorite sports.

The authors analyzed both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for younger patients with knee arthritis. This probably enabled them to ascertain the best treatment suggestion for patients wanting to continue playing their respective sports. The doctors of elderly patients may aim to decrease pain and maintain basic mobility.

Brian Feeley, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, University of California, San Francisco said, “The number of patients between the ages of 40 and 60 who are experiencing knee arthritis is growing, and unlike most older patients, this patient population presents a unique set of treatment challenges. Understanding available options and tailoring treatments to each patient’s needs and desires is the key to successful outcomes.”

More flexible treatment programs can be seemingly put forth for younger, more active patients. This may enable such patients to remain as active as they would like. Even though many a time’s patients are supposedly recommended to undergo a surgery, this requirement should be avoided. Reduction in surgery requirement may be achieved by suggesting non-operative management such as bracing, viscosupplementation namely an injection of hyaluronic acid, activity modification or anti-inflammatory medication in the early stages of the disease itself.

Dr. Feeley shared, “There is an increasing trend in the United States of people who want to stay active in sports and recreational activities after the age of 40. These patients are not content with being told to stop what they love doing. As a result, orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians need to come up with different treatment strategies including non-operative treatments or even cartilage restoration procedures, to address pain and functionality, and to help keep patients as active as possible.”

The lead author enlightened that although alternative treatments like acupuncture, glucosamine and chondroitin are available, their efficiency can be questioned. He therefore, placed a few prescriptions for patients with arthritis of the knee. First and foremost the lead author advices patients to keep themselves aware about the disease process and various other treatment options that are made available.

Dr. Feeley remarked, “In a vast majority of cases, the onset of arthritis is a slow, degenerative process and therefore there is rarely a need to rush to surgery. Depending on the symptoms and activity level, many patients can be managed well with non-operative treatment strategies, whereas others truly benefit from surgical procedures. For each patient, it is important to tailor treatment to their symptoms and activity level, and to look for a healthcare provider who is willing to work with them over time to keep their knee as healthy as possible.”

Another crucial step is to probably keep working with the physician. This may help undertake short-term and long-term courses of treatment. Physicians may also be able to ascertain the symptoms in the early stages itself and can successfully maintain health of the patient’s knee and body for as long as possible. Patients are seemingly suggested to remain active everyday but without stressing on the knee.

Dr. Feeley affirmed, “Even when surgery is necessary, proper follow-up treatment and physical therapy tailored to the patient’s needs can go along way toward keeping that patient active and satisfied in the long-term.”

The number and severity of symptoms can possibly be decreased by switching to more biking or swimming and less running. Also, patients may get involved in some new activities to keep their morale high. The author alleged that patients may always clear their queries about the progress of their disease. Physicians can probably inform the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option to their patient and cater to their needs individually.

The study is published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).