Many people suffer from arthritis behind the kneecap, called patellofemoral osteoarthritis. This kind of arthritis causes knee pain when going up or down stairs. Patients also have pain after sitting with the knee bent, or when standing up after sitting.
About 80 percent of adults with this condition are helped by nonsurgical treatment such as medication, special exercises, and avoiding painful activities. Other patients may get relief from a simple surgery called lateral retinacular release.
With this procedure, the surgeon cuts the retinaculum. This is a dense, fibrous band of tissue along the outer edge of the kneecap. The arthritis doesn’t go away with the release of the retinaculum. However, pain relief is reported by many people who have this surgery.
Retinacular release can delay major surgery such as total knee replacement. Patients who are too young for joint replacement or too sick for major surgery may choose this easy operation for arthritis relief.