Treatment for stage 4 osteoarthritis, which is the severe stage, include bone realignment surgery and total knee replacement, according to Healthline. Bone realignment surgery involves shortening the knee, making it longer or changing its alignment by cutting the bone above or beneath the knee.
A bone realignment surgery places the body's weight away from the parts of the bone with the highest bone spur growth and damage, explains Healthline. Total knee replacement is often the last option for patients with stage 4 osteoarthritis. The procedure involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a metal or plastic implant.
Possible side effects of a total knee replacement include blood clots and infections at the area of incision, states Healthline. Most patients undergo comprehensive physical and occupational therapy after the surgery and recover after several weeks. People with severe osteoarthritis may have to undergo further surgeries in the future after having a total knee replacement surgery. They may also need another knee replacement in their later years.
Stage 4 osteoarthritis sufferers typically experience an extremely painful and uncomfortable knee when walking or moving the affected joint, notes Healthline. Sharp pain results from reduced joint space between bones. Moreover, the joint becomes rigid and almost immobile, as the cartilage is nearly gone, and the synovial fluid that helps decrease friction is significantly reduced.