Do I need a knee Replacement?

A common presentation in my clinic is knee pain, arthritis and swelling. This often-disabling condition really does affect our way of life. I hear patients complain of being unable to play golf, go for walks or struggle to simply climbing the stairs. The options for treating Osteoarthritis (wear and tear) are limited.


The first line is lifestyle changes, such as weight reduction (I can hear you thinking how can I lose weight and exercise when my knees hurt??!!). Cod liver oil and supplements like glucosamine are worth a try but stop them after three months if no improvement. Painkillers like paracetamol and codeine are generally safe, don’t be stoical and worry they mask the pain.


Physiotherapy exercises can help support the structure of the knee and build up wasted muscle that contributes to instability. In some cases, a steroid knee injection can help with pain, especially if you are not fit for surgery or do not even want to contemplate it.  This should only be performed by a doctor in clinical conditions.


If you do not wish to have a steroid, an alternative which may be very effective is injecting a substance which regenerates the synovial fluid (lubricant) around the knee. It can be performed privately and I do a number of these for people who want to delay a possible Knee replacement. A thorough consultation with a doctor who has a special interest in Joint pain is recommended to help you talk through your options.