‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 27 February 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Mr John Campbell , consultant orthopaedic surgeon:
“Hi, I have arthritis of the knee socket and I am in constant pain. The painkillers don’t work have poor mobility due to 2 spine ops. What’s the problem? What’s the next step – how can I get this sorted privately? What are my options”? Anonymous, West Sussex.
You need careful assessment of your knee to determine the extent of the arthritis and the severity of the wear. X-rays and MRI scans can help in this process.
There are now a whole range of conservative and surgical treatments to lessen the pain and help to maintain your mobility. Physiotherapy can strengthen muscles and make the knee more mobile, leading to easing of the pain. The correct use anti-inflammatory medication can also be most beneficial. However, if conservative treatments are not effective, there are many new surgical options that can help.
Arthroscopic keyhole surgery can ease symptoms by washing out debris from the joint and removing torn fragments of cartilage or loose bodies as a day case. Part replacement rather than total knee surgery are now successful and can preserve the rest of the joint with improved function. Total knee replacements, however, are still the answer for many people with advance arthritis. They can greatly reduce pain with improvement in mobility and independence. 70,000 knee replacements are carried out in this country each year. Thus don’t be despondent about your knee. Get it assessed and find out what would be best for your problem.