The Wears Resulting Knee Osteoarthritis
By Orthopaedic and Neurology Clinic
Knee Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints — cartilage — wears away. When this happens, the bones of the joints rub more closely against one another with less of the shock-absorbing benefits of cartilage. The rubbing results in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, sometimes, the formation of bone spurs.
Although the damage to joints can’t be reversed, Knee Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and some treatments might slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.
What are some symptoms of a Knee Osteoarthritis?
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in your joints, which can make it difficult to move the affected joints and do certain activities.
The symptoms may come and go in episodes, which can be related to your activity levels and even the weather. In more severe cases, the symptoms can be continuous.
You should see our Orthopedist if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.
Other symptoms include:
- joint tenderness
- increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while
- joints appearing slightly larger or more “knobbly” than usual
- a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints
- limited range of movement in your joints
- weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk)
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, both your knees will usually be affected over time, unless it occurred as the result of an injury or another condition affecting only 1 knee.
Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking up or down hills or stairs.
Sometimes, your knees may “give way” beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.
“Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that often affects the knee. In the first stage, symptoms are mild, but by the fourth, a person may need surgery.”
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What types of diagnosis?
During the physical exam, our Specialist will check your affected joint for tenderness, swelling, redness and flexibility.
To get pictures of the affected joint, our doctor might recommend:
- X-rays. Cartilage doesn’t show up on X-ray images, but cartilage loss is revealed by a narrowing of the space between the bones in your joint. An X-ray can also show bone spurs around a joint.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage.
Analyzing your blood or joint fluid can help confirm the diagnosis.
- Blood tests. Although there’s no blood test for osteoarthritis, certain tests can help rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Joint fluid analysis. Our doctor might use a needle to draw fluid from an affected joint. The fluid is then tested for inflammation and to determine whether your pain is caused by gout or an infection rather than osteoarthritis.
Possible treatment methods?
The treatment of knee osteoarthritis depends entirely on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you understand the cause of your symptoms before embarking on a treatment program. If you are unsure of your diagnosis, or the severity of your condition, you should seek medical advice before beginning any treatment.
The primary goals of treating for such cases are to relieve the pain and return mobility. The treatment plan will typically include a combination of the following:
- Weight loss. Losing even a small amount of weight, if needed, can significantly decrease knee pain from osteoarthritis.
- Exercise. Strengthening the muscles around the knee makes the joint more stable and decreases pain. .
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Our doctor may give you a prescription anti-inflammatory drug or other medication to help ease the pain.
- Injections into the knee. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to bring the pain down.
- Alternative therapies. Some alternative therapies that may be effective include topical creams.
- Using devices such as braces. There are two types of braces: “unloader” braces, which take the weight away from the side of the knee affected by arthritis; and “support” braces, which provide support for the entire knee.
- Therapy. If you are having trouble with daily activities, physical or occupational therapy can help. Physical therapists teach you ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in your joint. Occupational therapists teach you ways to perform regular, daily activities, such as housework, with less pain.
- Surgery. When other treatments don’t work, surgery is a good option.