Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee.

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Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon Duration: 2 minutes, 44 seconds
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
There are a lot of treatment options for arthritis of the knee.  

Certainly not everybody with osteoarthritis of the knee needs surgery. The mainstay of treatment initially is weight loss, activity modification, you can use a cane in the opposite hand so if the right knee is sore you should use a cane in the left hand.  

You can use medical treatment such as Tylenol which is the safest medication for arthritis. The issue with Tylenol is that people tend not to take enough of it.  

To be effective you have to take two extra strength Tylenols or 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen three to four times per day and that should not be exceeded because otherwise you can get into liver problems.  

If acetaminophen or Tylenol is not effective then you can try the anti-inflammatories. And most anti-inflammatories work pretty well the same way.

You can try the generic over-the-counter ibuprofen or naproxen which is Advil or Aleve and as long as you take a sufficient dose and as long as it doesn’t cause irritation to the stomach and it controls the pain then that should be sufficient.  

One has to keep in mind, however, that long term anti-inflammatory treatment can have its problems. You can get stomach ulcers and you can also get kidney problems.  

So if you are planning on taking anti-inflammatories for a long period of time this should be done under the supervision of a physician to monitor your general health and in particular your kidney function.  

Once this treatment has been exhausted then one can consider alternative treatments such as injections. Steroid injections can be helpful but they tend to be helpful for a very short period of time anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and rarely to a few months.  

And long-term steroid use in the knee can lead to further degeneration of the knee, so when there’s early arthritis we prefer not to give a lot of steroids.  But other injections such as hyaluronic acid injections, which are lubricants that you put inside the joint - and there are lots of brand names such as Synvisc, Durolane, NeoVisc, Orthovisc, all sorts of brands - they all work pretty well the same way.  

The downside to them is the cost. They tend to be expensive. And they tend to be hit and miss as to when they work and when they don’t work. And, once you’ve exhausted all nonsurgical options the final option is surgery which is extremely beneficial and successful in 80 to 90 percent of people.  

If you think that you have osteoarthritis of the knee that may need surgical or nonsurgical treatment or if you have any further questions consult with your physician.
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Presenter: Dr. Bassam Masri, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Orthopaedic Surgeon

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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