Your Knee Feels Swollen Or Misshapen
Inflammation is a classic hallmark of arthritis in the knee. Sometimes, the lining of the jointcalled the synoviumswells or fluid can build up in the area, notes the Arthritis Foundation. You may also notice a visible change in the shape of the knee. There isnt a lot of muscle right around the knee, so when the joint becomes inflamed, the bones can start to change shape, says Dr. Colvin. In severe cases, changes in the bone can cause people to walk with a different gait or even become bow-legged, notes Dr. Colvin.
You Have Bad Arthritis
Most people who undergo a knee replacement have either osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that causes joint pain and damage or post-injury arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and posttraumatic arthritis affect the knee through different mechanisms, however, these different conditions are similar in that they all result in loss of cartilage, which causes pain and loss of motion, says Nathanael Heckmann, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and an assistant professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. When these symptoms become severe, knee replacement surgery may provide considerable symptom relief by replacing the worn-out surfaces of the knee.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
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.
Recommended Reading: Traveling After Knee Replacement
What Are The Treatments For Arthritic Knee Pain
After determining that your knee pain is, in fact, caused by arthritis, Dr. Williams and the caring staff at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta will recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help you as quickly and reliably as possible. Some of the most widely known and used treatments for arthritis and arthritic knee pain include:
- Knee injections
- Fluid drainage
- Weight loss
- Physical therapy
In addition to these methods, Dr. Williams is proud to offer the breakthrough Regenexx family of nonsurgical treatments, which are designed to use a patients own stem cells to treat common and degenerative conditions without the need for going under the knife. While there are certainly some cases in which surgery may be unavoidable, Regenexx treatment has proven to be highly beneficial for chronic pain relief caused by a large number of conditions.
What Are Some Of The Other Methods To Diagnose Osteoarthritis
Besides the appearance of arthritis on X-ray, there are some other tests as well that are performed by the doctors to know better about the patients condition. Before the X-Ray test, the doctor will ask some questions to study your symptoms. The doctors will ask these things to the patient.
- The degree of pain
- How long have you been suffering from this pain?
- What kinds of activities are difficult to perform because of the pain or decreased mobility?
After reviewing the symptoms, the doctor will perform some physical examinations to know about these things:
- See if there is a swelling in the joint, as it could be a sign of excess fluid.
- Check if the muscle is thinning or not
- Check out joint mobility to see if it is normal or not
- Joint tenderness
- The grating sounds while moving the joints, which is called crepitus
- Swelling in the bones
- Joint instability
Some other forms of tests that doctors may include are as follows:
- Blood tests: The blood tests are usually not necessary to diagnose osteoarthritis however, the doctor may ask the patient to test their blood for ruling out other possible diagnoses.
- Joint fluid analysis: The doctor will use the needle for withdrawing the fluid if there is an excess swelling around the joints. The fluid will be used by the doctor to see if the patient has an infection, gout, or some osteoarthritis-related inflammation.
Recommended Reading: How To Remove Scar Tissue From Knee Surgery
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.
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.
What Does A Meniscus Tear Feel Like
A meniscus tear is knee pain that is sharp, sudden and localized to the point of your damaged meniscus. This pain is heightened with bending or twisting, usually mimicking the action that caused the tear in the first place. Athletes who play fast-paced sports, like football, soccer, and rugby, are most commonly afflicted by meniscus tears.
Before coming into our office, many patients grapple with the question of whether or not they have arthritis or a meniscus tear. The simple answer is that it may be difficult to determine on your own, especially if your meniscus tear is small and the injury itself doesnt stand out as a specific memory. Our highly trained staff will be able to diagnose your problem and work with you to relieve your pain and create a treatment plan that works with your lifestyle. Contact us today!
Dr. Victor RomanoOrthopaedic Surgeon
Dr. Maria McGannOrthopaedic Surgeon, Foot and Ankle Surgeon
Dr. Joseph BrindiseFellowship Trained Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon
Dr. Jack SongFellowship Trained Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon
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.
You May Like: Tommie Copper Knee Sleeves For Arthritis
Exercise And Wise Use Of Joints
Another key to coping with pain is to follow an exercise program designed by your doctor or physical therapist.
Your exercise program should include special range-of-motion exercises to help keep your joints movable. It should also include general fitness exercise such as swimming or walking. These help keep your heart, lungs, bones and muscles strong. Exercise also helps relieve stiffness and gives you an improved sense of well-being. Here are some tips to help you exercise properly:
- If you have a flare, do only gentle range-of-motion exercises.
- Start with just a few exercises and slowly add more.
- Listen to your body. If it hurts too much or if you begin to have too much pain, stop the exercise. Ask your doctor or therapist to help you learn the difference between normal exercise discomfort and too much exercise pain.
Using joints wisely and saving energy
Using your joints wisely means doing everyday tasks in ways that reduce the stress on painful joints. Saving your energy means listening to your body for signals that it needs to rest. It also means learning to pace yourself so you dont become too tired. Here are a few guidelines for using your joints wisely and for saving your energy:
Your Knee Has Become Deformed
If your arthritis is advanced, it can affect the way you walk, which can also lead to further problems elsewhere in your body.
As arthritis progresses, the knee may become bowed or knock-kneed, Heckmann says. If this type of deformity develops over time, a knee replacement may be indicated.
In addition, people with arthritis may also lose the ability to straighten their knee, according to Heckmann. If this occurs, you should seek an evaluation with an orthopaedic surgeon, as this loss of motion may be permanent, even after the knee has been replaced, he adds.
You Might Also Like:
You May Like: Can You Use An Inversion Table After Knee Replacement
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.
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.
Arthritis Runs In Your Family
Does your family skip the annual Thanksgiving touch-football tradition because everyone would need to ice their knees afterward? Youre more likely to suffer arthritis symptoms if your parents, grandparents, or siblings have the condition, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And recent research from the UK identified nine genes for osteoarthritis, which suggests that genes may explain at least part of the reason this link exists. And help yourself stay active with these stretches for arthritis that you can do without leaving your chair.
Don’t Miss: How To Pop Your Knee
Sign #5 Reduced Motion
If you are having trouble walking up and down stairs, or going up and down hills because your knees feel stiff or have trouble bending, this can also be a sign that you have arthritis. One of the most common ways that you can know if you have arthritis in the knee is if you have difficulty sitting down or getting up from a seated position. Your knees may feel like they cant bend as easily as they used to this is a much different sensation from having your knees lock.
Why Do Joints Make Popping And Cracking Noises
Joints can make different noisesâsome are serious and some are not.
Some people learn how to âpop their knuckles.â By pushing or pulling a joint in a certain way an air bubble can suddenly appear in the joint with a âpop.â Once the bubble is there the joint cannot be popped again until the air has been reabsorbed.
Some joints crack as the ligaments and tendons that pass over them slide past bumps on the bones. Individuals who âcrack their neckâ make noise in this way.
Other joints lock up intermittentlyâoften with a loud popâbecause something gets caught in between the joint surfaces. A torn cartilage in the knee or a loose piece of bone or cartilage in the joint can do this. Once a joint is stuck in this way, it may need to be wiggled around to unlock it. This may also cause a pop.
Finally joints that are arthritic may crack and grind. These noises usually occur each time the joint is moved. This noise is due to the roughness of the joint surface due to loss of the smooth cartilage.
Recommended Reading: Do Copper Braces Work
Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Knee
Knee rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
- Knee discomfort, pain or tenderness that worsens when exercising, standing or walking
- Reduced range of movement
- Stiffness that is worse in the mornings and during cold weather your knee joint may also become locked ie when you cant fully bend or straighten your knee joint
- Warmth in and around your knee
- Weakness in your knees when you bear weight on them
In addition to symptoms that specifically affect your knee, you may also notice other symptoms including:
- A dry mouth
- Warmth in and around your knee
- Weakness in your knees ie feeling that your knees will buckle
How Can I Find Relief From My Knee Pain In Atlanta Ga
If you are interested in getting to the root of your knee pain, finding relief, and enjoying your life to the fullest again, the first step is to be evaluated by a qualified, experienced, and skilled professional. Call Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Christopher Williams today, and discover how the solution for living a more comfortable life may be closer than your think!
Also Check: How To Pop Your Knee
What Is The Patient’s Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis
The patient is the most important member of the health care team.
The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:
- learning about arthritis
- reporting progress and setbacks to health team
- keeping a positive attitude
- developing relationships with the rest of the health care team
Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.
What Really Solves Knee Pain The Answer Might Surprise You
The pill most often prescribed for knee pain acetaminophen may not help at all, researchers reported Monday.
The new study of what works for arthritis pain in the knee came up with some surprising results. The most common treatments often may not help much, and even a placebo injection of salt water provides more pain relief than any pill.
The findings go against what many doctors have long believed, although they didnt surprise veteran knee surgeons, who know pain relief varies greatly from one patient to another.
All treatments except acetaminophen showed clinically significant improvement from baseline pain.
Dr. Raveendhara Bannuru and colleagues at Tufts Medical Center near Boston looked at thousands of studies on various treatments for knee pain, from acetaminophen the active ingredient in Tylenol to ibuprofen to steroid injections.
Finding the scientific truths is tricky. Theres not much incentive for drug companies to test generic, over-the-counter drugs such as naproxen, and theres also not much reason to test an injection of a steroid against a generic treatment such as hyaluronic acid, a kind of joint lubricant.
But the team came up with 137 studies covering 33,000 people that met some high standards theyd been blinded, meaning the doctors didnt know which treatment a patient actually got as they evaluated pain, stiffness and range of motion.
And most compared treatment to placebo a dummy pill or dummy injection.
You May Like: Do Compression Sleeves Help With Knee Pain