Knee Replacement - Diagnosis


Patients with knee arthritis usually describe a gradual onset of knee pain, restricted motion and activities, and pain at rest.

The physical examination

Findings of knee arthritis may include:

  • painful gait on the involved side which causes a limp.
  • a knock-kneed or bowlegged condition. Most often there is a loss of complete extension (flexion contracture), and the inability to fully bend the knee.
  • Very often there is swelling.
  • Frequently bone spurs may be felt on the inside or outside of the joint.
  • When the knee is moved through a range of motion, crepitus is present.
  • There is usually tenderness around the inside and outside portions of the joint line.

It is important to distinguish knee arthritis from hip arthritis or disc degeneration in the lumbar spine, since the symptoms are similar.

Diagnostic test and imaging

Usually, plain X-rays will show the presence of arthritis and any abnormalities in the alignment of the lower leg and changes in the mechanical axis. MRI scanning is usually not necessary to diagnose knee arthritis. There are four classic features of knee arthritis:

  • Joint space narrowing
  • Flattening of the femoral condyle (the end of the femur)
  • Subchondral sclerosis (reactive bone thickening)
  • Peripheral bone spur formation

About Doctor Barrow...

Dr Michael Stuart Barrow is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in knee surgery. He practices from Sunninghill Hospital and the Waterfall Sports Centre.
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Contact Details

Dr. Michael Barrow

Tel: 011 806 1772/0 and 011 806 1657
Fax: 011 806 1796
Cell: 082 925 4940

After Hours:
Sunninghill Casualty: 011 806 1652

Sunninghill Hospital
Suite 5, East Wing
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