Total Knee Arthritis Myths

Total Knee Arthritis Myths

  1. A custom-made knee brace will prevent me from getting a knee replacement.

Shocked by bills being presented to Medicare for total knee replacement, the government decided to pay for hideously expensive and uncomfortable knee braces to delay the outflow of funds for total knee replacements.  Knee braces are rarely worn, and most end up in the patient’s closet!  Studies show that 97% of patients throw their braces in the closet.  They are uncomfortable and difficult to wear with clothes.

  1. Stem cells will correct knee arthritis.

Frankly, there are no scientific studies that show that stem cells of any sort are of value in severe knee arthritis.  I have seen many patients with severe knocked knees (valgus) or bowleggedness (varus) baffled as to why stem cells did not cure their arthritis!  Stem cells are not that smart to straighten legs!  Why does this fraud persist?  The FDA is charged with preventing harm.  Stem cells cause no harm other than financial hardship, so this is not an FDA issue.

  1. Cortisone shots are bad for your bones.

Knee cortisone injections given up to 4 times a year have been given to hundreds of millions of patients since the 1960s.  There is no proof that they cause harm or accelerate arthritis.  Most cortisone injection medication stays in the joint and does not circulate in the bloodstream.  There is no evidence that intra-articular cortisone injections contribute to osteoporosis or any of the side effects one might see if the patient is taking oral prednisone on a continued basis.

  1. Total knee replacements wear out in 10 to 15 years.

Advancements in plastic science, alignment precision, and demand-matching of more robust total knee replacement components for people with high activity or obesity have allowed us to say that knee replacements will function properly for at least 25 to 30 years.

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