Thursday, August 13, 2009

Medial Compartment Osteoarthritis

The most common place to have osteoarthritis is in the medial compartment. This typically causes pain at the front and inside of the knee joint.
Over time, as the cartilage covering the joint is eroded, the joint space narrows on the inside. This changes the angle of the knee joint causing what is known in medical terminology as a varus deformity. A varus deformity is what is commonly called bow legged.
The deformity starts off very slowly and usually is only noticed after a number of years with an arthritic knee. In the later stages however, the increasing angle of the joint can place even more force on the inside of the knee. This can see the deformity increasing over a matter of months.
Total knee replacement surgery allows the surgeon to correct the angle of the knee. It is not uncommon for a post operative patient to have a straight leg for the first time in decades.
In extreme cases, when the angle is large, normal knee replacements are no longer suitable and a special prosthesis is required. There is also a limit to how much correction a surgeon can achieve. If you notice a rapidly increasing deformity (over a matter of months) you are advised to discuss it with your surgeon.
In most cases it is not the deformity that bothers you but the pain. A large varus deformity is usually very painful and it is this pain that sees you knocking on your surgeons door.

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