Recently, there was an article published in the December 2013 issue of Women’s Health Magazine titled “How Old Are Your Knees?” written by Jeanne Erdmann. The article discusses the different stages of osteoarthritis and its increased prevalence in young women, especially between the ages of 20 and 39. According to the latest research, the factors that may contribute to this early joint deterioration include increased activity levels, weight gain, female biology and physiological factors. For example, women tend to land in a more “knock-kneed” position from jumps, putting extra stress on their ACL, which is the primary stabilizing ligament in the knee. This may create a higher risk of cartilage tearing, and may be one piece of evidence that demonstrates why women are 3-8 times more likely to damage their knees.
Based on the amount time after injury, the article explains that it may take between 4-10 years before the joint becomes very symptomatic and painful. Erdmann writes that “injections of cortisone or hyaluronic acid may ease pain and swelling” up to four years after the initial injury. However, at the five to ten year mark, the joint may have progressed to “full blown” arthritis which doctors would consider “end stage joint disease.” After injections, the article implies that a complete joint replacement is a person’s only option. This shows once again how large the gap of treatment options are between these two extremes and why a bridge technology is necessary. When injections fail and you are too young for a total joint replacement, Arthrosurface can provide the technology that fills the gap.
While it may be impossible to stop the progression of arthritis, there are things that you can do to minimize the further destruction of your knee. Some options to consider include: reducing your weight, quitting smoking, minimizing the use of high heels, strengthening your knee muscles and following a knee friendly fitness plan. It is recommended to see a doctor earlier rather than later for joint pain that is persistent.
If surgery becomes necessary, there are now more joint restoration options available. One of those options is the Arthrosurface HemiCAP procedure which can help patients maintain the natural anatomy of their joint and allow them to resume full activity levels. The procedure also may postpone the need for a total joint replacement for 10 years and possibly even longer. Learn more about this technology.