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Do I Have Arthritis In My Knee

What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Can My Knee Arthritis Get Better?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and the knee is one of the most commonly affected joints.

Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.

A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.

The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.

Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.

Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.

Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.

Have You Tried The Thessaly Test

A meniscus tear can be tested for by using a diagnostic exam called the Thessaly test. You can do this yourself while resting your hands on a counter or another person for support.

  • Stand on the leg to be tested with your knee bent slightly . Bend your opposite knee behind you, so that your foot is off the floor.
  • Keeping your foot planted, twist your body so your hips rotate back and forth 3 times.
  • If you experience a catching or locking feeling during the test, you may have a torn meniscus.

    Deformities Of The Knee

    The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.

    In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.

    With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.

    Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.

    Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.

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    Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Knee

    Osteoarthritis is characterized by cartilage degeneration and bony protrusions called osteophytes . In the knee, the most common sites of osteoarthritis include the tibia , femur , and patella .

    The most common type of arthritis affecting the knee is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when a joints articular cartilage breaks down. In the knee, articular cartilage covers the top of the tibia , bottom of the femur , and back of the patella .

    Not everyone with knee osteoarthritis will get knee pain. Pain may occur if the loss of healthy cartilage:

    • Causes the bones of the joint to rub against one another.
    • Compromises the joints biomechanics in some other way.

    See Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms

    Post-traumatic knee arthritisPost-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. It develops after a meniscus tear, ligament injury, or other trauma. The injury may heal but wear-and-tear on the articular cartilage can accelerate. Post-traumatic arthritis may not become symptomatic until years after the injury.

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that targets the synovial membrane surrounding many joints of the body. Some of the most common areas affected include the wrists, knees, and ankles.

    Knee pain can be caused by an autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis . RA causes joint inflammation that can make the knee feel swollen, stiff, warm, and painful. Over time, untreated RA can cause permanent knee joint damage.

    See What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

    When Did The Pain Start

    Arthritis Knee Pain 90% Gone!

    The biggest difference between arthritis and a torn meniscus is whether the pain developed over time or following an injury.

    • If your knee pain increases gradually and cannot be placed back to a specific injury you may have arthritis.

    It is possible for a meniscus to break down slowly, but this is less common.

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    What Does Arthritis Pain Feel Like

    Are you wondering if the pain and stiffness in your hips, knees, or fingers are caused by arthritis? Here’s how you and your doctor can decide.

    Hardly anyone escapes the annoyance of occasional aches and pains, especially as they age. But persistent joint pain and stiffness can be signs of arthritis, which affects more than 54.4 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . By 2040, an estimated 78 million American adults are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

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    Pseudogout: Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition

    Pseudogout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that results from the buildup of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints of the body. While less common than gout, pseudogout is more likely to affect the knee.

    Like gout, pseudogout is caused by a build-up of microscopic crystals in a joint and can lead to sudden, severe knee pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. Pseudogout is less common than gout but more likely to affect the knee joint.

    The microscopic crystals that cause pseudogout are called calcium pyrophosphate crystals. Doctors often refer to pseudogout as calcium pyrophosphate deposition .

    Reactive arthritis can result in inflammatory joint pain, most commonly in the knee, fingers, or low back. Other possible symptoms include problems involving the urinary tract, eyes, and skin.

    Reactive arthritis commonly affects the knee, though it can affect any joint. Arthritis inflammation can make a knee achy, swollen, and/or red.

    See Reactive Arthritis Symptoms

    Reactive arthritis develops as a reaction to an infection, such as a stomach bug or a sexually transmitted disease . Days, weeks, or even months after the infection has resolved, a person may develop pain in one or more joints, inflamed eyes, and/or other symptoms.

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    How To Practice Walking Or Running Up Stairs

    Although walking up and down stairs may hurt, it can be a good strengthening exercise for your leg and hip muscles.

    Theres another benefit to exercise, and thats having a protective effect on joint or articular cartilage. This is extremely important for slowing the onset of osteoarthritis.

    Think of articular cartilage as a protective covering for your joints.

    Articular cartilage functions as a shock absorber and also reduces friction between bones where they meet at joints. As a person ages, this cartilage can wear away, leading to joint pain and swelling, or osteoarthritis.

    Research shows that loading of the articular cartilage maintains the health of the cartilage and that avoidance of loading, aka exercise, results in atrophy, or thinning of the articular cartilage.

    To safely climb steps:

    • Take your time. A slow and steady approach can help you maintain your stability.
    • Use the railing for support. If you currently use a cane, talk to your physical therapist about how to best use it while on stairs.

    For a low-impact alternative, try using a stair stepper machine. When using a stair stepper, keep the following in mind:

    • Start with a shorter workout and increase the duration over time. Doing too much too quickly can be harmful.
    • Adjust the height of the rise to suit your needs. Bell advises that you start small and gradually work your way up to a higher step.
    • Use the railing for support, as needed. Be careful not to lean on the rails.

    Are There Different Types Of Knee Osteoarthritis

    Why do I have pain in the back of my knee?

    The knee has three contact zones, also known as compartments where osteoarthritis usually occurs. A common way to classify knee osteoarthritis is by which of the three compartments of are affected:

    • Medial Tibiofemoral Compartment the inside part of the knee where the tibia meets the femur .
    • Lateral Tibiofemoral Compartment The outside part of the knee where the tibia meets the femur .
    • Patellofemoral compartment The front of the knee between the patella and femur .

    Estimates of how common osteoarthritis is in each compartment of the knee vary quite widely. A study published by Oxford University found that of a group of subjects with radiographic knee osteoarthritis :

    • 59% had osteoarthritis in both the patellofemoral compartment and at least one tibiofemoral compartment.
    • 35% had osteoarthritis only in the patellofemoral compartment
    • Only 6% had osteoarthritis in one or both of the tibiofemoral compartments.

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    Sign #7 Change In Knee Shape

    One way to know if you have arthritis in the knee is if the shape of the knee changes. You may have seen people with knock-knees, where it looks almost like a ball is growing off the inside of the knee. There are other such deformities that are a result of swelling and/or bone growths in the knee that cause it to become misshapen. The good news is that this is generally osteoarthritis and can be treated with removal of the growth and medication to reduce calcium growth and deposits on the knee bones.

    What Are Treatments For Knee Arthritis

    Though neither category of arthritis is curable, both kinds of knee arthritis can be managed well, particularly when caught early. Thats especially true for those with inflammatory arthritis.

    We know a lot more about inflammatory arthritis than we do about OA, Dr. Domingues says. And we have drugs that target the root cause of inflammatory arthritis disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs which decrease inflammation, help preserve the joint, and ease pain. Biologics, a more targeted type of DMARD, may be recommended for those who dont get sufficient relief of knee pain and other symptoms from traditional DMARDs.

    As for what to take for knee osteoarthritis, doctors often first recommend over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which are also sometimes used to alleviate the pain of inflammatory arthritis.

    If those dont help your knee OA, steroid injections may be a good next step for managing knee joint pain, or your doctor might suggest hyaluronan injections, which provide some of the cushioning lost by cartilage breakdown in your knee joint.

    But because OA is a degenerative disease, which means it will likely get worse over time, these options mostly buy you time before you may ultimately need a knee replacement, which is the definitive treatment for moderate-to-severe knee OA, Dr. Domingues says.

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    Sign #1 Pain That Is Slowly Getting Worse

    If you have pain or soreness in your knee, and it is slowly starting to get worse you need to have your knees examine to determine whether or not you have arthritis. The worst thing you can do is wait until the pain is starting to interfere with your daily activities. There are two reasons that you dont want to wait. The first is that if you wait until the pain is unbearable, it means the arthritis has progressed and you can interrupt it with early diagnosis and treatment. The second is that there is no reason for you to suffer if you suspect you have arthritis. Dont wait, have it checked out.

    Preventing Arthritis Of The Knee

    Do I Have Gout In My Knee
  • 1Lose weight. Probably one of the most important treatments for arthritis is losing weight, though many people find this difficult. Reducing the amount of weight your knees carry, decreases the load and damage to the joint and can lower your risk of osteoarthritis.
  • 2Modify your activities. Limiting certain activities may be necessary and learning new exercise methods may be helpful to prevent or reduce arthritis damage.XResearch source
  • Aquatic exercise is an excellent option for patients who have knee problems.
  • Using a cane or a crutch in the hand opposite the affected knee will help decrease the demand placed on the joint.
  • 3Take joint supplements. Many joint supplements contain molecules that are naturally made in the body, such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and are important for healthy cartilage in your knee joints.XResearch source
  • Although joint supplements may control pain, it is now clear that they do not regenerate cartilage. Good studies have shown that there is no better benefit than placebo, but risks are minima , so most orthopedists advise to give it a try.
  • Some doctors recommend you take joint supplements for a period of three months to see if they provide any help.
  • Over-the-counter joint supplements are not typically controlled by the FDA. You may want to consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
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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.

    What Does The Procedure Involve

    You can usually receive a knee injection in your doctors office. The procedure only takes a few minutes.

    Youll be seated during the procedure, and your doctor will position your knee. They may use ultrasound to help guide the needle to the best location.

    Your doctor will:

    • clean the skin on your knee and treat it with a local anesthetic
    • insert the needle into your joint, which might cause some discomfort
    • inject the medication into your joint

    Though you may feel some discomfort, the procedure is rarely painful if your doctor has experience administering this type of injection.

    In some cases, your healthcare provider may remove a small amount of joint fluid to reduce pressure.

    Theyll insert a needle attached to a syringe into the knee joint. Then, theyll draw out the fluid into the syringe and remove the needle.

    After removing the fluid, the doctor can use the same puncture site to inject the medication into the joint.

    Finally, theyll place a small dressing over the injection site.

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    Cracking Or Popping Sounds

    When you bend or straighten your knee, you may feel a grinding sensation or hear cracking or popping sounds. Doctors call this crepitus.

    These symptoms can occur when youve lost some of the cartilage that helps with smooth range of motion. Both OA and RA can result in cartilage damage.

    When cartilage is damaged, rough surfaces and bone spurs develop. As you move your joints, these rub against each other.

    How Is Arthritis Of The Knee Treated

    Do this exercise for arthritis knee pain + the truth about osteoarthritis and knee pain!

    Healthcare providers can’t cure knee arthritis. But they have some tips that might reduce the severity of your symptoms and possibly stop the arthritis from getting worse, including:

    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Exercise using low-impact activities instead of high-impact activities . Aim for about 150 minutes of exercise per week.
    • Wear shock-absorbing inserts in your shoes.
    • Apply heat or ice to the area.
    • Wear a knee sleeve or brace.
    • Physical therapy exercises that help with flexibility, strength and motion.
    • Use a cane.

    Most people have stage 4 arthritis when they get surgery.

    Recommended Reading: Can Knee Cartilage Be Regrown

    Sign #2 Swollen Knee Joints Or Tenderness The Area

    Knee joints swell and get tender on a regular basis due to the stress we put them under. If your knee joints are just starting to swell and are tender to the touch and you havent been participating in marathon workouts at the gym, playing football, running or climbing this can be a sign that you have arthritis in the knee. Inflammation can cause the knee area to swell and the irritation can make it tender as you start to become sensitive to the pain.

    Inflamed Synovium In Rheumatoid Arthritis

    In rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, the body attacks its own joints. White blood cells, which are agents of the immune system, travel to the synovium and cause an inflammatory process to occur, referred to as active synovitis. The inflamed synovium causes warmth, redness, swelling, and pain in and around the affected joint.

    Specifically, during the inflammatory process, the synovium thickens and causes the joint to swell. As rheumatoid arthritis progresses, abnormal synovial cells invade and erode cartilage and bone within the joint. Surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons weaken.

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    When Should You See Your Doctor

    If you do suspect that you have arthritis in the knee you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Even if you are positive it is arthritis you need to make sure of what kind of arthritis is present. If it is rheumatoid arthritis there are certain medications and dietary changes you will need to help boost your immune system, and to learn to avoid so that what you do as an alternative treatment doesnt worsen the condition. Your doctor may also recommend treatments such as physical therapy or cortisone shots to relieve the pain in the here and now, so you can begin to build a program of living that supports healthy joints and prevents arthritis from complicating your life.

    Does Knee Replacement Get Rid Of Arthritis

    Can My Knee Pain Be Helped, Even If I Have Arthritis ...

    Knee replacement is an excellent way to reduce pain in the knees and can solve a number of issues, and is often ideal for people who have tried alternative pain-relief methods to no avail. However, it is not a permanent solution for arthritis. Knee surgery may temporarily relieve pain from arthritis, but it does not cure the condition. Managing your arthritis will still be necessary to reduce pain in the knees, even after joint surgery.

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