Knee Arthritis and Fixed Knee Replacement

Arthritis in the knee is common as people get older. But the reality is it can happen to anyone, even young people.

Arthritis is pain in your joints is due to inflammation. To better understand what causes this inflammation and how it affects your knee, it helps to know how your knee works.

Your knee joint is where several bones meet; these include your thigh bone, or femur; your kneecap, or patella; and your shin bone, or tibia. The ends of each bone are covered by a flexible tissue called cartilage. Your knee joint is surrounded by a capsule of other tissue that is filled with fluid. Two cartilage cushions called menisci sit between your bones.There are several types of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes your cartilage and menisci to wear down over time. When this happens, bony growths called bone spurs may form. This can cause pain and inflammation, and limit the motion of your knee.

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear. It can also be caused by past injuries. Weight-bearing joints, such as your knee, are prone to osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or R-A, can also occur in your knee. This kind of arthritis develops when the body’s own cells attack the lining of your joints. The lining then becomes inflamed, painful, and swollen.


Some of the symptoms you might get with knee arthritis include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Stiffness

  • Redness

  • Difficulty walking

  • Knee deformity, and

  • Clicking or grinding with movement

Your symptoms may happen slowly, but they can become severe over time.


Your healthcare provider will examine your knee, and feel for spots of tenderness. If R-A is suspected, you will have a blood test. X-rays and other imaging tests may be used to confirm that you have arthritis. They can also show how much damage it has caused.


The goal of arthritis treatment is to reduce your pain and increase your movement. Your healthcare provider may have you take over-the-counter medications for pain and inflammation. These can include ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. If these don’t work, you might be given a prescription for a stronger medicine.

Exercises to build strength and increase flexibility in your legs can help reduce your symptoms. Your healthcare provider may prescribe physical therapy. You may need special shoe inserts or a cane to help you walk. If you’re overweight, weight loss may help reduce your symptoms.

If your symptoms continue or get worse, an injection of steroids into your knee might help Steroids help to reduce inflammation and pain.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may get a prescription for medications to slow the progression of arthritis.

Sometimes symptoms don’t improve with these kinds of treatment. Or you may have arthritis-related deformities or disability. If this is the case, your healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement can reduce your pain and improve knee flexibility.

In knee replacement surgery, a small amount of your femur, tibia, and patella are removed. A metal or ceramic cap is placed on the end of your femur. A metal cap is placed on the top of your tibia. A plastic cushion is placed in between the caps. Plastic may also be placed on the back of your patella. In a fixed knee replacement, the plastic cushion is stationary on top of your tibia.

To recover from knee surgery, you’ll need to do physical therapy for several months.

Things to Remember

  • You may get knee arthritis due to wear and tear, an injury, or R-A.

  • Early knee arthritis can usually be treated without surgery.

  • If you continue to have problems, you may need surgery.

A knee replacement may reduce your pain and improve your mobility.

What We Have Learned

  1. Over-the-counter acetaminophen cannot help treat the pain from arthritis. True or false?
    The answer is false. Acetaminophen can help reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis.

  2. Pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness in your knee are symptoms you might get with knee arthritis. True or false?
    The answer is true.

  3. If surgery doesn’t work, you may get an injection of steroids in the knee. True or false?
    The answer is false. Injections are tried before surgery is done. Surgery is only recommended when other treatments don’t work.