Your knees are such an important part of the body. They are instrumental in ensuring that you always remain mobile. The knees take up the major brunt of your weight and over a period of time, this can wear them out and weaken them. Any injury during playing a sport can further damage your knees, requiring treatment. Sometimes, orthopedic conditions may reduce the strength and structural integrity of your knee and you may require medical attention to ensure there isn’t further damage or harm to your knees.
Innovative & Effective Surgery
for Knee Pain
While in some cases medication and physical therapy suffice, in severe instances, you may require knee surgery. The Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists is a specialized orthopedic treatment center in Emeryville, CA. We have extensive experience providing surgical treatment for knee injuries. Our lead physician Dr. Warren J Strudwick Jr. (MD), has worked with hundreds of patients – professional athletes included – and he is one of the most reputed orthopedic surgeons in California. You can trust him for knee surgery.
Signs that you need to see the doctor right away
When you first visit us for treatment, Dr. Strudwick will first put you on medication and physical therapy. Since surgery is an invasive treatment, it is usually recommended as the final course of treatment.
You should contact the doctor right away if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
▸ You are unable to stand, walk or climb up/down the stairs because of knee pain.
▸ There’s persistent and excruciating pain in the knees even when you lay/sit still.
▸ There is swelling on and around the knee – and anti-inflammatory drugs haven’t helped.
▸ You are using canes or wheelchairs more frequently.
▸ Physical therapy and supplements aren’t yielding results.
▸ Your knees have lost shape and bowed inwards or outwards.
Sometimes, patients with a history of knee problems and who have undergone knee surgery in the past may experience a recurrence of their condition. In this case, it is imperative to seek medical care, as a more aggressive treatment may be necessary.
Who can undergo knee surgery?
Ideally, people who are in good physical health and do not have any other medical conditions can undergo knee surgery. They must have sufficiently strong thigh muscles, which can support the new knee joints and knee cap. There shouldn’t be any ulcers or infections on or around the knee and the muscles should be healthy. Plus, the knee should have a certain mobility, as this will enable quicker recovery. The ideal age for candidates is between 40 and 60, although knee surgery can be done on older patients. It is best to speak to Dr. Strudwick for more information.
Usually, knee surgery isn’t recommended to patients who are overweight/obese. This is because any changes to body weight can impact the recovery of the treated knee. Further damage may be caused due to the extra weight, needing more surgery. Additionally, physical therapy is a must for knee surgery recovery, and usually overweight/obese patients experience difficulties with mobility. It is recommended that you lose weight before undergoing the procedure. Even pregnant women are advised to wait after their delivery to receive this treatment, as it is safer for both mother and baby.
Types of knee surgery we perform at Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists
With knee surgery, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment.
Depending on the severity and nature of your condition, you may require one of four knee surgeries:
The meniscus is a C-shaped fibrocartilage pad in your knee. The meniscus forms a type of cushion between your thigh bone and shinbone. When walking, running or doing any physical activity, the meniscus absorbs the impact of the movement, shielding the knee from harm.
Your meniscus can tear or wear-out because of excessive overuse during physical activity. Wrongly rotating/jerking your knee can also cause meniscus tears. Old age is also one of the reasons why you may require a meniscus repair. As your knee joints become less elastic and weak, they lose the ability to absorb the impact of movement.
During the meniscus repair surgery – meniscectomy – the doctor will use small stitches to stitch together the torn joints. However, if the tear is very severe, the doctor may completely remove the torn meniscus.
The knee’s cartilage is responsible for helping your knees move without grinding against other bones in the body. Falling on the knees, accidents, jumping being overweight/obese, prolonged physical activity over the course of years and sudden jerky movements of the knees can cause this cartilage to tear.
Most tissues in the body can regenerate to a certain extent. However, cartilage isn’t one of them. You will need surgical intervention to treat a cartilage tear. In order to treat the injured cartilage, a surgery called Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation is performed. Here, healthy cartilage from your own body is taken (specifically cartilage which isn’t essential for the area from where it’s removed) and it is grafted onto the injured area.
A partial knee repair/replacement becomes essential when there is severe damage to the knee or there are signs of osteoarthritis. However, at this point, most of the functionality and health of the knee can be retained if immediate treatment is provided.
Partial knee repair/replacement can be done both on the medial knee (inside part of the knee) and lateral knee (outside part of the knee). Here, the injury has occurred only to a part of the knee and this part is replaced or repaired using synthetic materials. These materials are very body-safe and will help you regain strength and mobility in the knee.
In cases where knee damage is extremely extensive and a partial repair isn’t sufficient, Dr. Strudwick may advise a total knee replacement surgery. Typically, patients who have shattered their knee due to an accident or those people who have advanced stages of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis will be advised to undergo this procedure.
During the surgery, the damaged joints and knee cap will be completely replaced using synthetic materials like metal implants in the place of bone and cartilage, plastic buttons for the kneecap and a spacer between the implants and button to ensure zero friction during movement.
Recovering from knee surgery
Depending on the type of surgery you undergo, your recovery period can be anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. During this time, the focus is on rehabilitation and strengthening of the knee. A combination of medication and physical therapy are recommended for treatment. Depending on how well you respond to the therapy, your range of movement may be increased or decreased.
It is imperative that you stay off your knee for the first 24 hours, but immediately after, you will be required to start moving and walking. With knee treatment, the sooner you use your new knee, the faster the healing. You will be provided assistive devices like crutches and walkers for the first few weeks. After this, the focus will be on helping you walk without them.
Dr. Strudwick will ask you to visit the Bay Area Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists clinic for regular check-ups and recovery plan modifications. Within a few months, you should be able to comfortably regain most of the mobility of your knees.
Contact us to schedule a consultation.