My father was just diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his left knee. Our family doctor says it’s likely his other knee will develop symptoms at some point, too. Should we take Dad to see a specialist for this problem?
Only a small number of patients with knee OA need to see a specialist. Most often it’s to see an orthopedic surgeon for a joint replacement. In the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA), a management program is advised. Your family doctor or primary care physician is best for this.
A management program will include patient education, exercise, and sometimes, over-the-counter drugs. Prescription drugs may be needed for severe pain or major disease flare-ups. Patient education starts with giving the patient information about the condition, what to expect, and what to do.
Weight loss and exercise are the two most important steps in treating and managing OA. A physical therapist can help your father match his interests with the right kind of exercise for OA. A program of low-impact exercise combined with moderate resistance training is best.
Your family doctor will continue to follow his progress and make adjustments as needed. If a specialist is needed, he or she will direct you to the right one at the right time. Don’t hesitate to ask if and when this might be needed.
For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.