If you have persistent knee pain make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. George Cautilli, Medical Director for the Center for Joint Replacement at St. Mary Medical Center says an orthopedic surgeon is the specialist who can map out a treatment plan for you, often without surgery. He says people are surprised to learn the majority of the work he does is non-surgical.
If arthritis is causing you severe pain and you think you might need a knee replacement, there are many therapies to try before turning to surgery. Anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections and physical therapy can be quite effective, often for years. Once the non-surgical treatments are exhausted, surgery may become necessary and patients should be fully educated on what they will face.
Dr. Cautilli says patients at St. Mary are sent to a class to learn about the surgery and the experience. They are given a notebook which explains what patients are to do before and after surgery and explains what they can expect from the experience. He says they are also given exercises to do before surgery to strengthen the joint. Patients who participate in the surgical experience and understand what they will face have less fear and are more willing to do the work needed to get back on their feet.