When Arthritis Hits Your Kneecap
When you think of arthritis in the knee, you likely think of the cartilage between the bones and ends of the femur and the tibia. But patellofemoral arthritis affects the kneecap, actually the cartilage directly behind it.
Dr. Moore performs different surgical procedures, if necessary, to address a patient’s patellofemoral arthritis.
What is involved with patellofemoral arthritis?
Really, any arthritis involving wear and tear can be lumped under the term “osteoarthritis.” This is the “wear and tear” form of arthritis that affects just about everyone at some point in their life.
With the kneecap, patellofemoral arthritis affects the cartilage. This cartilage is normally somewhat slippery, enabling the knee to move freely. But when it begins to wear away, the cushioning between bones diminishes. Eventually this will lead to pain.
Who is at higher risk for developing patellofemoral arthritis?
- Age — This arthritis, as with all areas affected by wear and tear, occurs mainly in people over the age of 40.
- Sex — Patellofemoral arthritis is more common in women than men.
- Prior injury — Injuries such as a fractured kneecap increase the odds.
- Obesity — The increased pressure placed on the knees eventually takes a toll.
- Repetitive movement — If a person sustains the same movement for long periods of time, this can lead to patellofemoral arthritis.
- Health conditions — Other health conditions, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, dysplasia, and Paget’s disease are at higher risk.
What are the symptoms of patellofemoral arthritis?
Pain is the primary symptom. This pain will usually occur at the front of the kneecap when the person is doing something like climbing stairs. The knee may also crackle when in motion.
When surgery is necessary?
Once the damage has been done, there is no way to heal the kneecap and reverse patellofemoral arthritis. Non-surgical treatments, such as wearing a knee brace, having corticosteroid injections, and medications, can reduce the pain during activities. But surgery is often eventually necessary.
Dr. Moore would have three surgical options in these cases:
- Arthroscopy — This minimally invasive surgery only involves a small incision to gain access. The cartilage is then trimmed and smoothed.
- Kneecap alignment — This minor surgical procedure tightens or releases soft tissues around the knee to modify the actual position of the kneecap to reduce pressure and improve comfort.
- Knee replacement — In some cases, only the patellofemoral aspect of the knee joint needs to be replaced. However, it’s more likely a total knee replacement is the better option for more severe deterioration.
Do you have chronic knee pain? Call Dr. Moore at Pinehurst Surgical, (910) 295-0224, to schedule an appointment to have him check it out.