Osteoarthritis of the Knee and Implantation

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+41 41 228 09 94

Does your knee initially feel stiff in the morning after getting up, or after a rest break?

Does it also hurt when you move? If so, then osteoarthritis could be the underlying factor.

Osteoarthritis of the knee (also known as knee arthrosis) can be viewed as normal, age-related wear and tear of the articular cartilage. Certain predispositions, such as bow leg or knock-knee positions, additionally promote wear and tear. But still, you yourself can do a great deal for your joints – especially with strength and flexibility exercises. In doing so, you can minimise or delay the impact of osteoarthritis of the knee.

  • It is not true that knee joints must be spared in the event of osteoarthritis. However, avoid sports that place a heavy load on the joints. Well-trained muscles stabilise and protect the joints. Movement and exercise ensure that the articular cartilage is supplied with nutrients.

  • Use opportunities to practice sports and to exercise, whether alone or in a group – this will do you good and will also support holistic motion sequences. Find out about local offers and have a specialist instruct you.

  • Avoid heavy physical activity, or working in a kneeling position, whenever possible.

  • Reduce heavy overweight. Cartilage cannot regenerate as well as other tissue, and even a weight reduction of 5 % can noticeably relieve pain.

  • If the occurrence of your knee pain is infrequent and temporary, pain relievers can help you to stay mobile and to avoid bad posture. Talk about it with your family doctor.

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+41 41 228 09 94

About 10 to 15 % of people over the age of 60 are dealing with osteoarthritis of the knee. Women are affected a little more often than men.

Many means and methods are available for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. The type of treatment depends on, among other things, how far the disease has progressed, whether additional accompanying illnesses exist, and what you expect from the treatment.

It pays off to carefully weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments and to critically scrutinise recommendations. This way, you protect yourself from disappointment and unnecessary costs. Studies show that some treatments are unnecessary because their effectiveness is not sustainable.

  • Normally, an X-ray of the knee joint is sufficient to detect osteoarthritis. More specialised examinations, such as an X-ray of the whole leg, computed tomography (CAT scan), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are usually not required, and if a diagnosis has been established, regular X-ray check-ups are not necessary. The treatment depends on the symptoms and not on what can be seen on X-rays.

  • Staying as active as possible despite osteoarthritis is good for the joints. Regular strength and flexibility exercises, combined with weight loss if you are overweight, can alleviate knee pain and improve joint function.

  • Experts now discourage against interventions, such as arthroscopies, for the treatment of cartilage in the event of osteoarthritis of the knee – these can sometimes even aggravate the symptoms and have no proven long-term benefit.

  • Injections into the joint: Cortisone injections can temporarily relieve pain and improve knee functionality; however, they also entail the risk of infection. Hyaluronic acid injections are controversial. In the most significant studies so far, they did little better than saline solutions. The benefit of so-called autohaemotherapy – injections into the joint with autologous blood plasma that has first be treated – has not been proven.

  • Your doctor will prescribe a medicinal treatment for the pain, and it is important that you take the medication exactly as prescribed. Oral anti-inflammatory analgesics, or pain relievers, have been shown to relieve osteoarthritis pain, but paracetamol is not effective in osteoarthritis of the knee. Opioids often do not help better than anti-inflammatory analgesics, but have more side effects and can lead to addiction.

  • You could try shoe inlays or relief shoes, although their effect has not been well researched so far. Generally, a relief shoe cannot relieve knee problems any better than normal, well-fitting and cushioning shoes in the long term.

  • Living with a chronic illness requires very good self-management in order to be able to successfully master the various challenges in everyday life. Our Chronic Care Coaching can support you in doing so.

For medicinal therapies, we recommend that you use generic medicines instead of original preparations: They are just as effective and will allow you to save money thanks to their lower retention fee. In order to find generics, use our search function. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist.

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Further information:

Fact boxes:
Assessment questionnaire
Individual health situation

Generic medicine: search function
(available in German, French and Italian)

Medication brochure 
to print out (PDF)
(available in German and French)
An artificial knee joint can alleviate the discomfort of advanced, radiologically proven osteoarthritis of the knee in most people. This is especially true if it is not possible to sufficiently reduce the symptoms by means of exercise or painkiller, if the pain occurs daily, or if the quality of life has been severely impaired. Think about what you expect from an operation and discuss your goals with your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if they can be achieved.

Do you need a knee joint replacement? 

CONCORDIA has commissioned the institute B,B,S. Economic Consultants in Basel to evaluate the interventions for knee joint implants in all Swiss acute care hospitals – independently, neutrally, and according to statistical quality criteria.

The quality of inpatient treatment was assessed, along with the length of stay and the hospital costs. 

  • During a personal conversation, we will show you, on the basis of the results, which hospitals throughout Switzerland have excelled over the years in the implantation of knee joints in terms of quality and efficiency.

  • Use our consulting offer to find out which hospital is most suitable for your treatment.

  • Naturally, you still have the choice of when and where you would like to be treated, in line with your basic and supplementary insurances.

If you are unsure about whether the operation is necessary, you can seek an independent and neutral second medical opinion. In almost 50 % of the cases, the second opinion doctor arrives at a therapy recommendation which is different from the first doctor treating you. If you are covered by a hospital insurance at CONCORDIA, a second medical opinion is free of charge if you apply for it via the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (LUKS).

Personal consultation:
+41 41 228 09 94

Advice on hospital choice

 Advice on a second opinion

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With or without knee joint implant, physiotherapy and the use of medication will be part of the treatment plan at least temporarily. After the implantation of an artificial knee, it is important to be patient until you get used to it.

Tips and recommendations for aftercare:

  • If you need walking aids on a long-term basis, it may be worth buying them instead of renting them.

  • You can save on costs if you choose generics and purchase your medication via a mail order pharmacy. In addition, it is worthwhile to purchase larger packaging units for a long-term or permanent treatment.

  • Use our helpful guides if you find it difficult – due to poor eyesight, shaky hands, or forgetfulness, for example – to take your medications.

Do you need orthopaedic rehabilitation?

  • Rehabilitation can often be carried out on an outpatient instead of an inpatient basis.

  • Plan your appointments for outpatient physiotherapy so that you have enough time to go back and forth in a relaxed manner. Think about how best to get there, find out about public transport connections, or ask family members if they can drive you.

  • For inpatient rehabilitation: Check and compare – before entering the hospital – the various offers (e.g. therapies on weekends, pool, room comfort). Your doctor can request a confirmation of coverage with CONCORDIA already before your hospital admission. This way, you can transfer as seamlessly as possible from the hospital to inpatient rehabilitation and possibly cut down on waiting times.

Your guides:

Further information:

Medication brochure 
to print out (PDF)
(available in German and French)

Invoicing of benefits and benefit check

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