Is knee replacement the only option if I have bone on bone in my knee?

Knee replacement surgery is the last option to be considered, but with bone-on-bone arthritis that causes severe knee pain and limitation, it typically is the only long term solution. Prior to replacement surgery, you should try low impact aerobic exercise, activity modification, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, weight loss and steroid injections.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

No, a knee replacement is not the only option for bone on bone in your knee. The other option is a knee fusion which fuses the tibia to the femur. Since this procedure will eliminate the knee joint and cause a total loss of joint motion, the procedure is rarely done except in cases of infection, trauma or when a total knee is not indicated.

If the bone on bone is limited to one area of the knee, a partial knee replacement can be done. A viscosupplementation is also an option from a non-surgical standpoint, with an improvement seen in about 50 percent of patients.

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