Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treatment
AVA Vascular September 16, 2022

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which cartilage, which provides a natural cushioning layer between the bones in your joints, wears away. It’s commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, in part because it is associated with aging—the longer your joints have been under stress, the more likely you are to develop this form of arthritis. The lack of cartilage causes the bones of affected joints to rub more closely together, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and impaired mobility. Some patients may also develop bone spurs. While osteoarthritis can potentially damage any joint, the knee is one of the areas most commonly affected.

Who Is at Risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 32.5 million adults in the United States have osteoarthritis, making it the most common type of arthritis. Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include:

  • Age: As people age, their cartilage’s ability to heal decreases. The chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45.
  • Gender: Women aged 55 and up are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis than men.
  • Weight: Higher weight increases pressure on the joints, especially the knees. In fact, every pound of extra weight adds 3 to 4 pounds of weight on the knees.
  • Genetics: People with family members who have osteoarthritis are more likely to develop it themselves. Inherited abnormalities in the shape of the bones surrounding the knee joint may also increase your risk.
  • Joint injury or overuse: Repetitive stress on or injuries to the knee joint can raise the risk of developing osteoarthritis. This could be from a job that requires continual heavy lifting, squatting, or kneeling, or from intense involvement in a sport like long-distance running, soccer, or tennis.
  • Certain other illnesses: Having rheumatoid arthritis can increase the chances of developing osteoarthritis, as can having certain metabolic disorders.

What Happens When You Have Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain that gets worse with activity, but improves somewhat after rest
  • A feeling of heat in the joint
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness in the knee joint, especially after you’ve been sitting for a while or first thing in the morning
  • Limited mobility in the joint that can make it difficult to use the stairs, get in and out of chairs or cars, and/or walk
  • Cracking or creaking sounds when the knee joint moves

Patients experiencing these symptoms should consult a physician for treatment. Sometimes patients are reluctant to investigate knee pain because they fear knee replacement surgery, which is a major procedure with a prolonged recovery period. Unfortunately, that instinct is short-sighted. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease—it will not go away or improve on its own. Without treatment, the structures of the knee joint will become more degraded over time, leading to more pain and loss of function.

Treating Knee Osteoarthritis without Surgery

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee is primarily focused on restoring mobility and reducing pain. Methods of doing so can include exercise to strengthen the muscles around the joint, weight loss to decrease pressure, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, or injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the knee. When these have been tried and found ineffective, surgery is usually recommended.

What happens when patients are suffering from debilitating pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee but aren’t willing or able to undergo a knee replacement surgery? A new, minimally invasive treatment known as genicular artery embolization (GAE) can be an effective alternative. In knee osteoarthritis, the lining of the knee (the synovium) becomes inflamed and painful. GAE is nonsurgical outpatient procedure performed by an interventional radiologist that blocks blood flow to the synovium, reducing pain and inflammation in the joint. Patients experience effective, long-lasting pain relief without a hospital stay or invasive surgery.

Assisting Your Patients

If you have a patient who isn’t experiencing relief from conservative treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, AVA Vascular may be able to help. Experienced interventional radiologist Dr. Patel works with referring physicians to provide minimally invasive procedures such as genicular artery embolization as a complement to the care you provide. To refer a patient for evaluation for GAE, please contact us here.

Solutions Without Surgery

Patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee may think their only choices are suffering or surgery. AVA Vascular can give you an alternative to both. To find out more about genicular artery embolization or to schedule a consultation, contact us here.

We offer an alternative to traditional surgeries which can have long recovery timesand higher rates of complications for many common conditions such as arthritis of the knee, BPH, and hemorrhoids. We bring awareness to both patients and primary care physicians about PAD and alternative minimally invasive treatment options.


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