Millions of Americans suffer from painful knee arthritis and cannot partake in many of the activities they enjoy because of the condition. Arthritis is caused by wearing down (degeneration) of a patient’s articular cartilage from age or an injury to the joint. Articular cartilage does not have the ability to heal on its own, like a number of other structures within the knee joint, so many patients opt to undergo a surgical knee arthritis treatment to repair the damage and to prevent further damage. A knee osteotomy is a surgical arthritis treatment performed by Dr. Matthew Provencher, orthopedic knee surgeon, in Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado patients to help alleviate chronic pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

A knee osteotomy is commonly reserved for young, active patients with articular cartilage damage on just one side of the knee joint. During the surgical knee arthritis treatment, Dr. Provencher will remove a small wedge of bone from the upper tibia (shinbone), known as a high tibial osteotomy, or from the lower femur (thigh bone), known as a distal femoral osteotomy. These procedures call for removal of the small wedge from the outside of the knee and are termed closing wedge osteotomies. Both techniques are designed to reshape the bone and shift the body’s weight to relieve pressure and pain on the knee joint.

In certain patients, the opposite approach is called for and an opening wedge osteotomy may be performed by Dr. Provencher. This procedure consists of utilizing a small wedge bone graft to the inside of the knee, as well as adding plates and screws to hold the newly shaped bones in proper position in order to restore balance to the knee.

It is important to note that even though a knee osteotomy is highly effective in many patients, this knee arthritis treatment is not a permanent solution. The procedure provides alleviated symptoms and prolongs the need for total knee replacement, usually for 8-10 years.

Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Knee Osteotomy

Following a knee osteotomy procedure, patients will be required to be non-weight bearing for approximately six weeks. Patients will be progressively taken off crutches after six weeks and will begin more active physical therapy exercises. The physical therapy program will begin immediately following the knee arthritis treatment and will progress through a variety of exercises to control post-operative swelling, to increase range of motion and to reactivate the surrounding muscles. It is strongly suggested that patients work with the in-house physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine to optimize their rehabilitation.

For additional information on knee osteotomy, an effective knee arthritis treatment, please contact Dr. Matthew Provencher, orthopedic knee surgeon proudly serving the greater Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado communities.