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Are Your Knees Worn Out?

Oct 10, 2019

You deserve to move with ease. But if you’re among the 30 million US adults with osteoarthritis, which causes inflammation, stiffness and pain because the cartilage in the joint has broken down and no longer provides a cushion between bones, even just walking the dog can be painful.

Don’t let painful, creaky knees make doing routine tasks difficult and keep you from the activities you love.

The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey (OINJ) offers the best and latest non-surgical treatments and minimally invasive knee surgery approaches for osteoarthritis close to home.

“At OINJ, we customize your treatment approach,” says John M. Dundon, MD, an OINJ orthopedic surgeon, specializing in hip and knee reconstruction. If X-rays show little to no cartilage cushioning your knee and everyday activities such as walking, driving your car or taking the stairs are painful, you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty. The nuts and bolts: Metal caps are secured to the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) with bone cement. A plastic cushion is then placed between these two metal parts to replace the missing cartilage. Most of your ligaments are left intact to provide stability for the new joint.

“From the artificial joint we choose and the pain medications, to the rehabilitation program, it all changes based on each patient,” Dr. Dundon says.

Although knee replacement surgery is generally a last resort, more people as young as midlife are deciding it’s their smartest choice for regaining their mobility and staying active. Likewise, “for those in their 70s and 80s, knee replacement can allow them to continue to live independently,” says Stephen Koss, MD, an OINJ orthopedic hip & knee sports medicine physician.

Sidestepping Surgery

If your knee osteoarthritis isn’t severe, however, an OINJ knee specialist may recommend non-surgical treatment options that can dull pain, improve mobility and protect your knee from further injury. Are you ready to get back to an active lifestyle? These steps can help improve mobility--and maybe even help you avoid surgery altogether.

Get moving. Strengthening the muscles surrounding an ailing knee joint -- with activities such as swimming, cycling, yoga and Pilates -- can help maintain muscle strength and flexibility while enhancing joint stability. Consider working with an OINJ-recommended physical therapist to develop a weight-training program that’s just right for you. 

Take pain medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like Advil, Motrin or Aleve can help reduce osteoarthritis pain. Take them as directed.

Slim down. As little as 10 extra pounds can create undue wear and tear on knees. "People take one to three million steps per year, and each step places a force on the joints of up to five times body weight," Dr. Koss says. "If you lose just ten pounds, you may decrease the force on a joint for each step by 50 pounds.”

If you notice your knee is becoming painful, stiffer or just not moving the way it once was, call us at for an evaluation at (908) 684-3005.

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