Dr. Raj Kanna is a consultant Orthopaedic and Knee surgeon, who have made a mark in the field of Orthopedics with his success stories.

Knee Arthritis

What is arthritis?

The term ‘Arthritis’ is pretty familiar to most of us, yet a very few understand the disease.Although arthritis is seen in both genders, women are more commonly affected. Unlike the popular belief that arthritis affects the elderly people, in reality, it can affect people of all age groups. In joints affected by arthritis the cushions at the ends of the bones wear out. This results in pain and in course of time leads to deformity of the legs. Knee joint is the most common joint affected by arthritis because of its crucial role in day to day activities.

What are the Types of Arthritis?

The most common types of arthritis are the Osteo-arthritis (age related wear and tear) and Rheumatoid-arthritis (seen in middle aged patients caused by malfunction in one’s immune system).
Other less common types of arthritis include a) Gouty arthritis (caused by increased uric acid in blood), b) post-traumatic arthritis (due to old fracture), c) septic arthritis (because of infection) etc…

Worn out area(Arthritis)

Symptoms of Knee Arthritis:

Some of the earliest symptoms of knee arthritis are a) pain while climbing up and coming down the stairs and b) pain while getting up from sitting position. Other symptoms of arthritis include the following.

  • 1) Stiffness in one or both knees usually felt early morning or after prolonged rest.
  • 2) Swelling in one or both knees.
  • 3) Restriction in knee bending making it difficult to sit cross-legged or squat.
  • 4) Patients can sometimes hear crackling sound when they move their knees.
  • 5) In severe arthritis the legs bend leading to bowlegs or knock knees.
Arthritis can affect people of all age groups

Causes of Arthritis:

  • Age – With growing age, the ability of a cartilage to heal decreases.
  • Weight – Being overweight increases the pressure on all the joints, especially the knees.
  • Heredity – Arthritis of the knee may be due to inherited abnormalities seen in families.
  • Gender - Women are more prone to knee arthritis than men.
  • Repetitive injuries – People who are involved in high impact activities e.g. athletes, dancers or soldiers are prone to develop knee arthritis because of the constant pressure on their joints. On the contrary, regular moderate exercise strengthens the knee joints and decreases the risk of arthritis.
Obesity is one of the known risk factors for arthritis


In most cases examination of the patient’s knees and X-rays of the knee (AP standing & Lateral) is all it requires to clinch the diagnosis. In special cases the following additional x-rays would be useful to plan the treatment. X-ray helps to confirm the diagnosis and to grade the severity of arthritis.

  • a. Sky view (Merchant’s view) of the knee.
  • b. Tunnel view (PA view with knee flexion).
  • c. Varus and Valgus stress views of the knee.
Knee x ray showing various grades of arthritis. As you can witness the space between the two bones (arrow) is maintained in early stages (grade 1 & 2).In late stages (grade 3 & 4) the joint space has decreased.
Normal Knee X-ray in standing position: Space between the thigh and the leg bone is maintained

Treatment for Arthritis:

While grade 1 and 2 (early stage) arthritis are managed by medical (non-surgical) treatment, grade 3 and 4 (late stage) arthritis are manages by one of the advanced surgical treatment options.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Early Stage Arthritis:

The basic treatments to get relief from the knee arthritis are:

  • Weight loss which can significantly decrease knee pain.
  • Exercise to strengthen the muscles.
  • Over-the-counter medications to help ease the pain.
  • Using braces to provide support for the knee.
  • Physical therapists can teach ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility of the joint.
Swimming is the best exercise for patients with knee pain.

Although biological treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) have shown promising results, the current studies are based on patients followed for short term (18 to 24 months) and long term results are yet to come. We recommend such therapy for patients who are actually not candidates for surgery for various reasons and in patients who want to post pone surgery for one or two years.

Stem Cell Therapy for Early Stage Arthritis by Key-Hole Surgery
Stem Cell Therapy

It is a form of biological treatment but done through Key-Hole technique. Similar to PRP, the current studies are based on patients followed for short term (18 to 24 months) and long term results are yet to available. We recommend such therapy for patients who are actually not candidates for knee replacement for various reasons and in patients who want to post pone knee replacement for one or two years.

Deformed legs before surgery because of long standing arthritis and precise error free surgical correction of deformities using computer navigation.

Computer Assisted Knee Replacement for Late Stage Arthritis

(We are one of the very few centres in Asia to use Cutting edge Technology such as computer assisted surgery for total and partial knee replacement, which helps us in delivering unmatched results ) Surgical treatment for arthritis includes one of the following depending on the extent of arthritis.

Computer Assisted Knee Replacement.

1) Total knee Replacement is done a) when the arthritis involves more than one third of the joint surface, b) when the knee is deformed severely or c) in cases like rheumatoid arthritis. Performing Total Knee Replacement with Computer Navigation has various established advantages.

2) Partial Knee Replacement is done when the arthritis involves less than one third of the joint surface and when the ligaments are preserved well. When the inner compartment alone is wornout we replace only that compartment which is called Uni-compartmental Knee Replacement. Sometimes when the knee cap alone gets affected then we recommend knee cap replacement which is called as Patello-Femoral Replacement. We are one amongst very few centres globally to do Computer Assisted Partial knee Replacement surgery.

X-ray showing severe arthritis (before surgery) and well placed new joint using computer navigation(after surgery).
Inner Compartment Replacement.
Knee-Cap Replacement.
Authored By DR Raj Kanna - Orthopaedic and Knee surgeon, Chennai

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