Only a small number of patients with knee OA need to see a specialist. Most often it's to see an orthopedic surgeon for a joint replacement. In the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA), a management program is advised. Your family doctor or primary care physician is best for this.
A management program will include patient education, exercise, and sometimes, over-the-counter drugs. Prescription drugs may be needed for severe pain or major disease flare-ups. Patient education starts with giving the patient information about the condition, what to expect, and what to do.
Weight loss and exercise are the two most important steps in treating and managing OA. A physical therapist can help your father match his interests with the right kind of exercise for OA. A program of low-impact exercise combined with moderate resistance training is best.
Your family doctor will continue to follow his progress and make adjustments as needed. If a specialist is needed, he or she will direct you to the right one at the right time. Don't hesitate to ask if and when this might be needed.