David Golding and Paul YF Lee
Knee pain is an increasingly common presentation to general practitioners both in the United Kingdom and worldwide and is thought to be caused by a combination of the obesity epidemic, the ageing population and continuing worldwide population growth. Two distinct aetiologies of knee pain have been described: a bony-type which is usually degenerative in nature; and a ligamentous-type which usually occurs as a result of acute injury but then predisposes to the development of bony-type in later life. There are a wide variety of treatment options available to the clinician: ranging from conservative to major surgery. Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is often the end-point of many causes of knee pain and is used with increasingly frequency. However, there are a wide variety of problems associated with TKR including ongoing pain, patient dissatisfaction and the need for revision surgery. This review aims to demonstrate that TKR should be avoided unless absolutely necessary and also provides the clinician with an overview of the various evidence-based conservative options available to be utilised to improve patient pain and functional knee capabilities.