Therapy & Investigation
Disease: Former injuries of the knee joint, overload, deviation of the axis of the extremity and several other factors (old age, excess body weight) may result in softening and fissuring of the bones’ smooth cartilage surface.
Symptom: Smaller and smaller loads evoke locking of the knee, sharp pain radiates into the joint gap and swelling of the joint occurs. Pain frequently occurs overnight, when the joint is at rest. The axis of the leg may be altered; varus or valgus deformity can develop.
Treatment: Drugs which help in the reconstruction of the cartilage surface may have a temporary effect. Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce joint swelling. Regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy can alleviate extreme complaints.
In cases where cartilage damage is of smaller extent and depth, injured fragments can be removed via arthroscopy, by the use of special scissors and shavers (for a detailed description of the operation see sub-chapter “Surgery”). We often perform straightening of the extremity in cases of axial deviations, or in order to protect bone cartilage from further deterioration. In these cases, a wedge is removed either from the femur or from the tibia. The joint surface requires replacement with prosthesis in cases of extensive cartilage damage.