What Is The Best Treatment For Arthritis
Painkillers, along with physical therapy, is usually considered the best treatment for arthritis in the early stages. However, if the patient is unable to continue their daily activities, then the surgical option is recommended at the particular painful joint to give relief to the patient.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapists can work with patients on exercises to reduce pain and improve their range of motion. Patients with arthritis have a hard time performing physical activities, but exercise can relieve arthritis pain and lessen joint damage.
- Exercise can also help to lose weight that will put less stress on the joints. Exercises such as stretching, muscle strengthening and aerobics can help patients to stay fit. It also increases flexibility, range of motion and lubrication in their joints.
- Exercises involving lifting weights can build muscle strength, which can help a person to manage daily activities.
- Exercises also strengthen the heart and lungs and can reduce fatigue besides increasing the patients stamina.
- Typical aerobic exercises such as walking, running, riding a bicycle, swimming, or using a treadmill can cut down calories. Walking and water aerobics are considered the best exercises for arthritis patients.
Special Devices And Footwear
Walking sticks can help to reduce the load on your knees and reduce pain when moving about. Other ways to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis include taping the joint, wearing braces, or using shoe insoles that improve your body alignment when standing and walking. Check with your physiotherapist for advice about using aids or supports.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of Knee
Knee osteoarthritis is a progressive disease caused by inflammation and degeneration of the knee joint that worsens over time. It affects the entire joint, including bone, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. Its progression is influenced by age, body mass index , bone structure, genetics, muscular strength, and activity level. Knee OA also may develop as a secondary condition following a traumatic knee injury. Depending on the stage of the disease and whether there are associated injuries or conditions, knee OA can be managed with physical therapy. More severe or advanced cases may require surgery.
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If Surgery Is Required
The meniscus may be involved in some cases of knee OA. In the past, surgery to repair or remove parts or all of this cartilage was common. Current research, however, has shown that ÃÂ¢ in a group of patients who were deemed surgical candidates for knee OA with involvement of the meniscus ÃÂ¢ 60% to 70% of those who first participated in a physical therapy program did not go on to have surgery. One year later, those results were unchanged. This study suggests that physical therapy may be an effective alternative for people with knee OA, who would prefer to avoid surgery.
Sometimes, however, surgical intervention, such as arthroscopy or a total knee replacement, may be recommended. There are many factors to consider when determining the appropriate surgical treatment, including the nature of your condition, your age, activity level, and overall health. Your physical therapist will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss your surgical options.
Should you choose to have surgery, your physical therapist can assist you prior to and following your surgery. The treatment you require following surgery will depend on a variety of factors such as the type of surgery performed, your level of function, and fitness prior to surgery. Contrary to popular belief, surgery is not the easy choice you will still require treatment following your surgery to maximize your level of function.
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What Are The Types Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are around 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that might affect your knees include:
- Osteoarthritis is the most common of the types on this list. Osteoarthritis wears away your cartilage the cushioning between the three bones of your knee joint. Without that protection, your bones rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness and limited movement. It can also lead to the development of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis gets worse as time passes.
- Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. The cartilage starts thinning after trauma to your knee . Your bones rub together, and that causes the same symptoms as osteoarthritis: pain, stiffness and limited movement. Your knee arthritis symptoms might not start until years after the trauma.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system causes inflammation when it’s trying to protect you from an infection, injury, toxin or another foreign invader. The inflammatory response is one way your body protects itself. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have an unhealthy immune system that triggers inflammation in your joints even though theres no foreign invader. The inflammation causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the synovial membrane, which can also wear away your cartilage.
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How Does Arthritis Affect The Knees
The knee is commonly affected by arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis . You may notice pain and stiffness in your knee, particularly when you first get out of bed in the morning, after sitting for a long period, climbing stairs, walking, kneeling or even when youre just sitting still. Your knee might look swollen, or feel like it might give way or buckle.
There are many things that can help you manage arthritis of the knee. The first steps are regular exercise, weight loss and using medicines wisely.
When Surgery Might Be Necessary
Quick refresher: OA, the most common form of arthritis, develops when cartilagethe flexible connective tissue that cushions the ends of bones in a jointwears away. Without that cushion, bones start to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and sometimes bony growths. OA is a degenerative disease, meaning it slowly gets worse over time. In the most advanced stages of OA, joint replacement surgery may be the best way to regain normal functioning. But before it gets to that point, there are plenty of non-surgical treatments that can help you manage symptoms and prevent pain and discomfort from interfering with your life.
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Are There Any Complications
Osteoarthritis can develop over just a year or two, but more often its a slow process over many years that only causes fairly small changes in just part of the knee.
But in some cases, the cartilage can become so thin that it no longer covers the ends of the bones. This causes them to rub against each other and eventually wear away.
The loss of cartilage, the wearing of the bones, and the bony spurs can change the shape of the joint. This forces the bones out of their normal positions, making your knee feel unstable and painful.
Some people with osteoarthritis find a lump appears at the back of their knee. This is called a Bakers cyst or popliteal cyst.
A Bakers cyst is fluid-filled swelling at the back of the knee that happens when part of the joint lining bulges through a small tear in the joint capsule. This can then cause joint fluid to be trapped in the bulge.
It can happen on its own, but is more likely in a knee thats already affected by arthritis. A Bakers cyst doesnt always cause pain, but sometimes they can burst so the fluid leaks down into your calf, causing sharp pain, swelling and redness in the calf.
Osteoarthritis in the knee might change the way you walk or carry your weight, and this could cause you to develop the condition in other joints, such as your hips.
Is The Pain Continuous
Gout, OA, post-traumatic, reactive, and infectious arthritis can cause continual discomfort during the acute phase of the flare or attack. However, symptoms may be worse on some days than others.
Other forms of arthritis may have symptoms alternating between flare-ups and periods of remission where symptoms improve, such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- arthritis due to lupus
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Physical Agents Including Electrotherapeutic Modalities
These include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation shortwave diathermy inferential current therapeutic application of a musically modulated electromagnetic field and ultrasound. Of these, ultrasound has the most evidence showing it can be effective, but overall there’s too little conclusive research to fully judge any of these treatments, according to the AAOS guidelines.
How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some of the following diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have knee arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss in the knee
- Joint aspiration: drawing out and testing the synovial fluid inside the knee joint
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-ray, but narrowing of the joint space between the bones indicates lost cartilage. X-rays show bone spurs and cysts, which can be caused by osteoarthritis. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans are rarely needed for diagnosis.
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What Does A Knee Reconstruction Involve
A knee replacement operation will usually take between one and 2 hours. After evaluation by an anaesthetist, you will be given either a general anaesthetic or a spinal anaesthetic .
A knee reconstruction involves surgery to replace your knee joint with a prosthesisan artificial knee joint. Mostly, these prostheses are made of plastic and metal, and consist of 3 main components:
- femoral component
- tibial component and
- patellar component.
The metal femoral and tibial components are attached to the end of the femur and the top of the tibia . On the end of the metal components is a polyethylene coating which acts as replacement cartilage. The patella may be resurfaced with a plastic button in some cases.
Troubled By Knee Arthritis But Not Ready For Knee Replacement Here Are 5 Alternatives
Topics in this Post
Millions of Americans suffer from knee arthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness and a decrease in activity level and quality of life. Eventually, this often leads to knee replacement surgery, which remains the most effective treatment for permanent pain relief. However, knee replacement should be reserved as a last resort. There are several minimally invasive options you and your surgeon can try before committing to knee replacement surgery:
MAKING THE DECISION
Topics in this Post
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How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
Home Remedies And Medical Options
Experts say that people who play an active role in managing their OA, for example, are likely to see a more positive outcome. You can do so by learning about arthritis, becoming aware of what makes symptoms better or worse, and making decisions with your doctor.
Discover exercises to strengthen the knee muscles.
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What Is Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is inflammation and deterioration of knee joint cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery coating on the ends of bones that serves as a cushion and allows the knee to smoothly bend and straighten. Knee cartilage coats the end of the thighbone , top of the shinbone and the backside of the kneecap . When cartilage wears away, the space between the bones narrows. In advanced arthritis, bone rubs on bone and bone spurs may form.
Damage to the joint cartilage over time may result in the development or worsening of deformities of the knee, including knock knees and bowleg.
Managing Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
There are many treatments short of surgical replacement.
If your knees have become painful, tender, or swollen, are stiff first thing in the morning, or are making crackling noises, the probable cause is osteoarthritis, which affects more than two-thirds of women over age 60. Osteoarthritis results from the breakdown of joint cartilage, the tough, slippery tissue that protects the ends of bones . Eventually, the cartilage may wear away completely, permitting bone to rub painfully against bone. The goals of osteoarthritis treatment are to reduce pain and stiffness, limit the progression of joint damage, and maintain and improve knee function and mobility.
About 5% of women in the United States over age 50 have had total knee replacement surgery, the recommended treatment when more conservative measures have failed and pain and disability are intolerable. The number of these procedures has more than doubled over the past decade, according to research presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . This is partly because knee replacement worksmore than 80% of patients say they’re satisfied with the results. But experts say it’s also a sign that people aren’t fully utilizing the many noninvasive strategies that evidence suggests should be tried firstabove all, weight loss and exercise.
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What About Injections For The Treatment Of Arthritis
Overall, we use injections for the treatment of arthritis if the effects of other treatments are inadequate.
While the guidelines recommend cortisone injections, the pain-relieving effect is only short-acting. Also, there is some evidence that cortisone may accelerate arthritis in some people there is a recommendation against other injections such as hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma. However, these guidelines ignore the recent evidence for hyaluronic acid and platelet-rich plasma injections in knee osteoarthritis.
Evidence suggests that high molecular weight hyaluronic acid such as Durolane has a better effect on knee arthritis than other treatments such as cortisone, anti-inflammatory medication, or exercise therapy.
We discuss the evidence for platelet-rich plasma injections in this blog.
Find Out What Type Of Arthritis You Have
Learn about the type of arthritis you have and your treatment options. Ask your doctor about creating a tailored management plan and team care arrangement for you. This includes subsidised care from a team of healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, dietitians, and others. Your local Arthritis office may also run self management courses to help you develop skills to manage your symptoms, communicate with your healthcare team and lessen the impact of arthritis on your life.
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What You Need To Know
- Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage in the joint wears down, making the knee stiff and painful with certain movements.
- Osteoarthritis gradual, age-related degeneration of cartilage is the most common form of arthritis in the knee, but trauma and autoimmune conditions can also lead to cartilage damage.
- The cartilage damage associated with arthritis is irreversible, but there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help reduce pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall quality of life for people with knee arthritis.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
There is no specific test for osteoarthritis. Your doctor will confirm or rule out osteoarthritis based on your symptoms and a physical examination. Some signs they may look for are:
- swelling around the joints in your body
- damage to joint cartilage cartilage is the smooth, cushion-like surface that covers the ends of your bones to allow them to move smoothly
- spurs extra bone growing around the edge of a joint
- weakness in the ligaments and tendons the connective tissue that holds your joints together or attaches muscles to bones
Your doctor may refer you for an x-ray to look for narrowing and changes in the shape of your joints. A blood test may help to rule out other types of arthritis .
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