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Published on March 08, 2016

Steps to a Healthy Knee

Knee PainA stiff, aching knee can prevent you from doing the things you enjoy. Join Christopher Blackman, MD, with Piedmont Orthopedics, a member of Cone Health Medical Group, as he walks through steps to a healthy knee…and a new you.

Steps to a Healthy Knee

Answers to submitted questions.

Q: I'm 58 and active. I don't have pain in my left knee even when I run, but if I try to do a squat, the knee joint crunches and grinds. Again not painful but it feels like there's no cartilage there to cushion the bones. I've been doing body pump and spin (both just once a week) to try to strengthen my thigh muscle (to protect the knee). Might see an increased ability to squat lower, but the crunch/grind is still there. Do I wait for pain to happen or is there something that can be done now? Thanks!

A: As we get older, our patella tends to track lower on the femur. The grinding doing deeps squats comes from our knee caps rubbing over the trochlea groove of the femur. This is our body’s aging process unfortunately. As we get older, we tend to wear down the cartilage under our patella. This can be felt most going up and down stairs as well as when doing deeps knee bends and squats. There is really nothing to do about it except for avoiding those activities that cause it to happen. If someone is currently pain-free doing those activities, but still feels the grinding and popping, it can only cause more damage over the long term. Glusosamine over-the-counter can help temporize things and is worth trying.

Q: I had a surgery 2 years ago, and I still have a pain to wake me up, and my knee is still swelling like before surgery! Thanks.

A: For the person who had surgery 2 years ago and is having pain and swelling, I feel that new x-rays and an exam are needed to better assess what may be going on with the knee. Treatment can then be recommended based on those findings.

Q: I am 73 years old, female, have bone on bone knees. Sometimes I do real well but after repeated use of stairs my knees hurt. I take only Tylenol no NASIDs due to past ulcers. I have received Synvise shots treatments in '13 & '14 with good results none in '15. I’m getting ready to receive them again soon. When should I consider replacement surgery? Who or how it's decided partial or full replacements.

A: I believe a knee replacement is warranted when all conservative measures fail and a person’s life is effected daily by their painful knee. When mobility starts to be effected, quality of life is being negatively impacted, and even simple things cause knee pain, that is when a knee replacement can help. A partial knee vs a total knee depends on several factors including a knee’s alignment, intact ligaments, and if arthritis in present throughout the knee. If arthritis (worn cartilage, bone spurs, etc. is found in all three compartments of the knee (under the patella, medially, and laterally) then a total knee is needed. If there is only medial compartment arthritic changes or only a single area of the knee, then a patient may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement.