Osteoarthritis of the knee (Gonarthrose)

Knee osteoarthritis occurs when there is an imbalance between the carrying capacity of the cartilage and the actual load over an extended period of time, resulting in damage to the overloaded cartilage. Especially in the knee joint, the shape and axes of the bones must be well coordinated. A disturbance in this system or in the muscle and ligaments can encourage the development of osteoarthritis. In principle, any disease of the articular cartilage, the synovial membrane or synovial fluid can lead to osteoarthritis. The following symptoms may occur in advanced osteoarthritis, and may be experienced differently in each person:

  • Pain when weight is placed on the joint
  • Pain on movement of the joint
  • Pain on initial movement
  • Inflammatory pain with joint effusion
  • Deformation of the knee joint (bow legs or knock knees)
  • Instability (unstable gait with risk of falling)
  • Restriction of movement
  • Muscle tension, muscle shortening and muscle weakness
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If conservative treatments are unsuccessful and quality of life is severely limited due to pain and unstable gait, surgical treatment must be considered:

Kniearthrose Untersuchung

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If the osteoarthritis of the joint is not yet at an advanced stage, it can be treated conservatively with the aid of special shoe inserts, medications for pain and to strengthen the cartilage, and weight loss. However, these methods will merely reduce the pain caused by the osteoarthritis and slow the cartilage degeneration. Osteoarthritis itself cannot be stopped or cured.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers
  • Medications to strengthen the cartilage
  • Injection of lubricants and anti-inflammatory medications into the joint (see hyaluronic acid, autologous blood injection/platelet-rich plasma)
  • Aids such as canes, shoe inserts, orthopaedic shoes
  • Physiotherapy, lifestyle changes including sports, weight management, diet, etc.

Alternative to cortisone injections for osteoarthritis pain in the knee:

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a synthetic lubricating fluid that can be injected into the joint in a procedure known as viscosupplementation. This reduces the friction on the damaged cartilage surface, making it easier to move the joint. The lubrication also reduces irritation of the joint, which decreases osteoarthritis-related inflammation. This in turn reduces the pain of osteoarthritis.

The results of the injections vary, depending on the stage of the osteoarthritis. Many patients are able to regain a high quality of life through hyaluronic acid injections. Initially, two injections are administered, one week apart. This is carried out here at our practice. The effect of the injection lasts for some time. However, it can be repeated at any time if the response is good.

This treatment is not covered by health insurance as not all patients respond equally well to the injections. The price of a hyaluronic acid injection is approximately CHF 130.00.

Autologous blood injection (PRP = platelet-rich plasma)

Approximately 15 ml of your blood is collected for this treatment. The blood is then immediately processed to increase the concentration of various proteins that inhibit inflammation and osteoarthritis. These therapeutic proteins are primarily found in the platelets, which are a normal component of blood. The purified concentrate known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is then immediately injected into the affected joint.

The body’s own healing factors secreted by the platelets lead to reduced inflammation in the joint, support tissue healing and improve joint lubrication. Many patients find that this treatment using their own blood results in significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis. Initially, three injections are administered, each one week apart. This treatment is also carried out here at our practice. The effect of the treatment lasts for some time. The treatment can be repeated at any time if the response is good.

The cost of PRP is not covered by health insurance. The price of a PRP injection is approximately CHF 150.00.

Brochure
«Osteoarthritis of the knee»
(in German)



Brochure Download

Centre for Joint and Sport Surgery
Pyramid Clinic
Bellerivestrasse 34
CH-8034 Zürich

+41 44 388 16 16
+41 44 388 16 00

zgs@pyramide.ch


Contact us by phone from:
8 a.m. – midday and 1 – 5 p.m.