As a person who has had five knee surgeries now, this is a very personal subject. One particular pre-op appointment comes to mind. I was living in Los Angeles, and I was preparing for a cartilage implant. After years and years of dance (many on tile floors), I’ve shredded my cartilage, and the doctors agreed this would help to repair the hole in my right knee’s cartilage.
So I go to see my GP for blood work the week before surgery. He looks at what is supposed to be done, looks up at me, and asks when I’m going to have my knee replaced. I dunno doc, can I get through this surgery (that’s supposed to delay a knee replacement) first?
In my own estimation, I was doomed from the beginning. I had arthritis in my right knee at 14. My left knee started sounding like Rice Krispies in my 30s. But I know that if I don’t remain active, I’ll simply put on more weight, and I’ll be more at risk for arthritis, as well as lots of other things. So it’s better to be as active as I can, with the hopes of postponing these other issues and surgeries as long as possible.
Will I have arthritis after my knee injury?
with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT
Unfortunately, if you have a traumatic injury to the knee like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear or even certain types of fractures, your chance of developing osteoarthritis increases significantly.
Osteoarthritis, which is the wearing away of cartilage, can occur normally with years of use, but it can also occur more readily after trauma around the knee. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 700,000 knee injuries a year account for 12.5% of post-traumatic arthritis cases in the U.S., and they warn that younger athletes with ACL injuries are at risk of developing arthritis before they are 40 years old, often within 10 years of the original injury.
If you’re an athlete who has had one of these types of injuries, it’s not something you probably wanted to hear.