Osteoarthritis of the knee is the wear of the cartilaginous surfaces of the knee. The knee consists of three compartments, each of which may be affected separately or together. In case of wear of the cartilaginous surface of the patellae, we can refer to as osteoarthritis of the patellofemoral joint. The wear may affect either the medial or the lateral compartment.

In case of a degenerated knee joint, a total replacement of the surfaces must take place. The cartilaginous surface will be replaced by a femoral implant on the femur and a corresponding tibial implant on the tibia. Depending on the bone quality, the body weight and the patient’s activities, stabilization of the implants will take place with or without cement on the bones. Then, an anatomically shaped piece of specially made polyethylene is placed between the femoral and tibial implant, as to allow the implants to easily slide on it. The implants are made of special metal alloys with ceramic surfaces, which increases their resistance.

Mobilization of the joint starts at the first day after the surgery. When the implants are stabilized with cement, the patient is allowed to fully bare his limb. In a few months after surgery full range of movement of the joint is achieved. All kinds of sports activities that do not charge the joint are allowed, such as swimming, bicycle riding, and skiing. Obesity is a factor that affects the lifetime of the implant. On the other hand, intensive physiotherapy helps early movement and strengthening of the muscles. The success of the surgery and the time of recovery depend on the physiotherapy program the doctor and physiotherapist order, as well as on the cooperation of the patient.

Osteoarthritis of the knee can also be treated conservatively. Drugs and intraarticular infusions are the most common methods.  The goal for the patients is the painless movement of the joint while the doctor hopes for a long-standing function of the joint. In knee osteoarthritis, there is a degenerative wear of the cartilaginous surface, which means that as time passes, the bone remains without cartilage.

Treatment of knee osteoarthritis must always be multifactorial and customized to each patient alone.