Knee Arthritis

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is a ligament in the knee that helps stabilize the knee during rotational activities.

Knee Arthritis is a wearing down or breakdown of the smooth surfaces of the cartilage and bone in the knee, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and loss of motion.

How does this happen?
Arthritis of the knee can have several causes, the most common being osteoarthritis, often referred to as degenerative arthritis. Other causes include inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Also, prior trauma or infection to the knee can cause arthritis.

How will we know this is your problem?
A history and physical exam along with radiographs (X-rays) will help to make the diagnosis. Symptoms include pain with activity, swelling, decreased motion and possibly a deformity. Pain from knee arthritis is typically located on either side of the knee joint. Radiographs will show decreased joint space and possibly a mal-alignment (either bow-leg or knock-knee). Your doctor may order other advanced imaging studies such as MRI to assist with the diagnosis and treatment plan.

How can this be treated?
Treatment usually begins with activity modification, physical therapy, walking aids such as a cane, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or injections. If conservative treatment fails to give relief, surgery may be indicated. This could include a knee arthroscopic procedure to “clean out” the joint, a re-alignment surgery (osteotomy), or replacing your knee with a new knee joint, called total knee arthroplasty. This involves replacing the diseased joint with one made of metal and plastic.

These are the doctors you want!
Drs. Fernando L. Sanchez and Charles R. Billings practice at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. They are fellowship-trained Orthopaedic Surgeons specializing in Adult Joint Replacement Surgery. The additional training they received in joint replacement surgery is considered to be among the best in the world.