I have X-rays to show the inner edge of my knee joint is wearing out faster than the outer edge. My doctor tells me they can replace just one side of the knee now. Is there anything else that can be done first that doesn't involve surgery?
Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) has become very popular for patients with one-sided joint changes. Many people have medial joint changes. Such changes occur because of increased angles between the hip, knee, and ankle. Excessive angles can shift the weight toward the inner edge of the knee. Over time, the increased load wears down the joint on one side faster than the other.
If joint changes are caught early enough, you may be able to benefit from a simple shoe insole to off-load the joint. A plastic, silicon, leather, or rubber cup or wedge can be slipped inside the shoe. Some of these devices are designed to be placed under the shoe's own insole. Others rest on top of the shoe's insole and fit around your heel.
Lateral wedge insoles have been shown to help in cases of mild (grade one or two) osteoarthritis (OA). Ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for this kind of noninvasive treatment.