Patients who have a history of an ACL reconstruction or who've had some meniscal surgery, they're much more likely, over their lifetime, to develop post-traumatic arthritis. In this video learn why it is a problem and what can be done about it
Who gets post-traumatic osteoarthritis?
So, any patient who's had a history of an injury can get post-traumatic arthritis. And I think the one that's easiest to discuss is the knee. So, patients who have a history of an ACL reconstruction or who've had some meniscal surgery, they're much more likely, over their lifetime, to develop post-traumatic arthritis. And that's something to keep in mind, particularly with our younger patients who've had surgery, say in their teens or twenties, they can present with post-traumatic arthritis, sometimes in their twenties and thirties, and so that it can have a big impact on their life.
Why's that a problem?
Well, it's a problem because the joint pain and swelling can really impact the patient's ability to work sometimes, but certainly their ability to do the things that they like so they may not be able to play the sports. And it's a really big problem because they're often very young and they're a time of their life when sport and activity is very important for them. And, I guess, the final thing is it can be very, very difficult to treat. So in general terms, more surgery is not the answer and rehabilitation, education and focusing on improving the knee symptoms and function is the way to go.
What can be done to manage the problem?
I think it's really important to stress to the patient that there are lots of things that can be done. So sometimes the perception that they get is that there's not an operation for them, that they have to wait 10 or 20 years to be bad enough to need a knee replacement. But the reality is there are a lot of things that we can be doing. Maintaining activity is important and sometimes it's their normal activity. They just need a period where we unload them, to allow their knee or their joint can catch up.
There are a range of different injection therapies that can be helpful to improve pain and reduce swelling and it's important to say that that's an adjuvant to their treatment. Managing their weight and other lifestyle factors are important. But I think the critical intervention is a good quality education and explain to the patient that they may need to do things to manage their knee over their lifetime and making sure that they understand that this is a lifelong condition that just needs some attention. It doesn't need to impact their life, and it doesn't need to necessarily change what they do, but they do need to look after their joint.
Are you or one of your patients suffering from osteoarthritis? Is the pain, swelling, stiffness, or potentially worse, symptoms significantly impacting your ability to undertake physical activity? Our specialist Arthritis Clinic could provide you with improvements you’ve been searching for.
Our clinic brings together a range of medical and allied health specialists to provide a comprehensive treatment plan, looking to optimise the non-surgical management (including exercise and diet) of osteoarthritis.
If this sounds like something you or your patient could benefit from, make an appointment to come in and see us.
To make an appointment call 09 521 9846By Dr Mark Fulcher on