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Joint unloading
About osteoarthritisAbout knee osteoarthritis (OA)

In knee OA, the joint surface begins to break down. This joint surface is normally covered with cartilage, the firm material at the bone ends that acts as a cushion against shocks. As the cartilage of an OA sufferer’s joint wears away, the bone ends may begin to rub against each other, causing pain.


The importance of reducing excess joint load

Research shows that knee OA can begin or progress if the joint is exposed to excess stress or load1,2, which can result in pain and loss of motion. Several conditions can lead to joint overload, including anatomy, injury, or obesity. When too much load is placed on a joint, the progression of joint disease can lead to painful knee OA.3,4,5,6,7. Restoring the joint to normal loading conditions may relieve pain while maintaining healthy cartilage8.


The goals of OA treatment include minimizing pain, restoring normal activity levels, and slowing disease progression. While drugs and certain cartilage repair procedures may temporarily relieve pain, they often do not treat the underlying problems that led to OA. Although some invasive surgical procedures can effectively reduce joint stress, they often involve permanent changes to the joint’s natural anatomy, which may limit future treatment options.

What is the Atlas Knee System
Unique benefits
 Pain relief

Knee joint unloading is clinically proven to provide pain relief

Atlas System unloads up to 13 kg

Atlas System unloads up to 13 kg

Joint preserving and reversible

Joint preserving and reversible

Advanced carbon fi ber and titanium biomaterials

Advanced carbon fiber and titanium biomaterials

What is the Atlas knee system?


The Atlas System is an implantable joint unloader that works like a shock absorber for your knee. The concept has been validated to provide pain relief for patients since 2008 and was specifically designed to allow OA sufferers to maintain high activity or productivity levels. The Atlas System is manufactured from advanced biomaterials and has passed durability and biocompatibility testing.

The Atlas system may be appropriate if you:


  • Suffer from pain on the medial (inner) side of your knee, especially with activity
  • Desire to be more active again
  • Have medial compartment knee osteoarthritis (OA)

The Atlas System will not cure your osteoarthritis, but it may provide pain relief.


Following surgery
SofaExercisesSmall_Exercise nada

(Fig 1)

Elevate the leg (above heart level) for extended periods of the day to reduce swelling

Sofa exercise 2

(Fig 2)

Quadriceps strengthening (e.g. straight leg raises)

Sofa exercise 3

(Fig 3)

Ankle flexibility exercises

What to expect after surgery

The procedure to implant the Atlas System is surgery. To correctly position
and fix the implant, your surgeon stretched your skin and soft tissues
(muscles, ligaments). You should expect some pain around the incision and
swelling around your knee and lower leg as you recover from surgery.


Rehabilitation protocol overview

After surgery, you will need to follow a rehabilitation protocol to regain your strength and flexibility.
It is especially important to comply with the instructions in the first two weeks after surgery.


First two weeks after surgery
  • Elevate the leg (above heart level) for extended periods of the day to reduce swelling (Fig 1)
  • Apply ice per your surgeon’s instructions
  • Protect the wound: do not touch or rub the incision or sutures
  • Use pain medication as instructed
  • Do not wear a brace
  • Discuss static quadriceps strengthening (e.g. straight leg raises Fig 2), ankle flexibility exercises (Fig 3) and expected range of motion with your surgeon
  • Continue core and hip muscular strengthening


Weeks three to six after surgery
  • Progress with range of motion, strengthening, and balance exercises as prescribed by your surgeon or physiotherapist (e.g. heel to toe walking, single leg balance)
  • Return to active full range of motion and initiate hip/knee/ankle stretching


Week six and beyond
  • Follow-up visit with surgeon by week six
  • Increase the intensity of functional exercises
  • Discuss return to other activities with surgeon and physiotherapist 


To avoid unnecessary pain during this recovery period, please avoid exercise that:
  • Rub on the surgical incision
  • Press hard directly on the surgery area


Your doctor can help determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation, depending on the severity of your disease and your desired activity level. If you have any questions about osteoarthritis or your specific treatment options, please consult with your doctor.


Patient ID-card
Patient ID-card

Have your surgeon complete the need information on the card and carry it with you

  • To show at airports that you have a medical implant
  • To show doctors the details about your medical implant and surgery

Download PDF (2MB)

  1. Radin EL. Who gets osteoarthritis and why? An update. J Rheumatol 2005; 32:1136–8.
  2. Block JA, Shakoor N. The biomechanics of osteoarthritis: implications for therapy. Curr Rheumatol Rep 2009; 11: 15–22.
  3. Radin EL, et al. Role of mechanical factors in pathogenesis of primary osteoarthritis. Lancet 1972; 1:519–22.
  4. Radin EL, et al. Response of joints to impact loading. J Biomech 1973; 6:51–7.
  5. Radin EL, Rose RM. Role of subchondral bone in the initiation and progression of cartilage damage. Clin Orthop Relat Res 1986:34–40.
  6. Burr DB, Radin EL. Microfractures and microcracks in subchondral bone: are they relevant to osteoarthritis? Rheum Dis Clin North Am 2003; 29: 675–85.
  7. Lindsey CT, et al. Magnetic resonance evaluation of the interrelationship between articular cartilage and trabecular bone of the osteoarthritic knee. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2004; 12: 86–96.
  8. Radin EL, Burr DB. Hypothesis: joints can heal. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1984; 13:293–302.