Troubled By Knee Arthritis But Not Ready For Knee Replacement Here Are 5 Alternatives
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
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 Can I Treat Knee Arthritis
Whilst there is no definitive cure for arthritis pain in knees, there is a lot that can be done to help reduce pain and improve function. As we continue through the arthritis pain in knee section, you can find out lots more by choosing from the links below:
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Are There Different Types Of Knee Osteoarthritis
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.
What Is Knee Arthritis
There are two different types of knee arthritis caused by either wear and tear or inflammation.
The knee joint is made up of three bones, the femur , tibia and patella which form 2 separate joints:
- Tibiofemoral Joint: knee joint
- Patellofemoral Joint: kneecap joint
The ends of the knee bones are covered by thick layers of cartilage.
Cartilage is a thick, spongy material that lines the joint providing lubrication and cushioning, which allows the knee to move smoothly and painlessly. It also works as a shock absorber and ensures that the forces going through the knee during daily activities are spread evenly throughout the joint.
Arthritis pain in knees develops when the cartilage thins and wears away and bony bumps known as spurs develop. This results in bone-on-bone contact which causes knee arthritis pain, stiffness and inflammation.
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Home Remedies And Medical Options
- physical activity, including tai chi, walking, cycling, and water exercise
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin, to reduce pain and inflammation
- tramadol, available on prescription for more severe pain
- corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
- other medications, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for RA but not OA
- applying heat and cold pads to relieve pain and swelling
- topical creams, such as capsaicin
- using a cane or walker to help you balance
- attending cognitive behavioral therapy
Experts say that people who play an active role in managing OA, for example, are likely to see a more positive outcome. Learning about arthritis, becoming aware of what makes symptoms better or worse, and making decisions with your doctor are ways of doing this.
Discover exercises to strengthen the knee muscles.
Do: Maintain A Healthy Weight Which Eases Stress On Your Knee Joints
Excess weight puts greater pressure or stress on your already damaged knees, Pisetsky explains. If you’re overweight, losing weight can relieve knee pain and even slow down the rate of cartilage degeneration, according to a study in the August 2017 issue of Radiology. The research showed that the more weight participants lost, the greater their improvements were. If youre overweight, weight loss can help with knee pain, Pisetsky emphasizes.
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Change In Synovial Fluid
Synovial fluid is the natural lubricant that fills the joint. It allows for smooth movements, keeps the joints separated, and acts as a filter for the joint allowing the passage of nutrients while keeping out harmful substances. In cases of severe knee osteoarthritis, the synovial fluid becomes more watery and less effective as a lubricant for the joint. This causes more friction and overall wear and tear and is one of the main contributors to the cartilage loss discussed above.
Do I Have Arthritis In My Knee
Dr. Ekaterina Urch, orthopedic surgeon and knee specialist, covers the symptoms, causes, and best treatment options for knee arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the result of inflammation in one or more of your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in various joints within the body and can even lead people to replacing their joints because the arthritis has interfered with their every-day activity level. This can be particularly true with arthritis felt in the knee, one of the more common areas where arthritis can occur. Depending on how bad the pain is, it can interfere with the activities people enjoy and can keep them from pursuing an active life.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Not all types of arthritis are created equal. In fact, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis. However, the two more common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, which is known as a degenerative wear-and-tear type of arthritis, is commonly found in the knee. It is rare for osteoarthritis to be found in younger people. It is more commonly found in people 50 years of age and older.
Why is osteoarthritis causing you so much pain?
Symptoms of knee arthritis:
Other symptoms of knee arthritis:
Nonsurgical treatment for knee arthritis:
Other nonsurgical options to help ease arthritis pain:
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Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis of the knee is a condition in which there is loss of the articular cartilage of the femur, tibia, or patella. This can be seen on X-ray as a loss of the space between the two ends of bone.
X-ray of an Arthritic Knee
Because of the loss of the gliding surfaces of the bone, people with arthritis may feel as though their knee is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people actually feel a catching or clicking within the knee. Generally, loading the knee joint with activities such as walking long distances, standing for long periods of time, or climbing stairs makes arthritis pain worse. When the arthritis has gotten to be severe, the pain may occur even when sitting or lying down. The pain is usually felt in the inside part of the knee, but also may be felt in the front or back of the knee. As the cartilage is worn away preferentially on one side of the knee joint, people may find their knee will become more knock-kneed or bowlegged.
Dont: Engage In Repetitive High
Joint-pounding exercises such as running and tennis can tax your already damaged knees, Dr. Pisetsky says. Its a vicious cycle because this type of exercise causes more pain. You stop using your muscle because it hurts, you lose strength, and then your alignment isnt good either, he says. This can also result in needing joint replacement surgery. Listen to your body, he says. If it is painful, dont do it.
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Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
Do Gel Injections Help With Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis can lead to chronic pain, frustrating stiffness, and diminished ability to do the things you love. It can even affect your ability to get around normally.
While many different treatments for knee arthritis and other knee pain exist – including oral pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, and dietary changes gel injections are a valuable option.
These injections are called hyaluronate, viscosupplement, gel, and lubricant injections, involve putting a natural-like gel into your knee joint. This gel is much like the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid found in the fluid that normally surrounds your joints.
Hyaluronan in the injection acts like a shock absorber and lubricant.
This lubricant can help make painful joints move more smoothly, reducing discomfort and helping improve function.
The injections can be a boon for some people, but they simply dont work for everyone.
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What Is Wear And Tear Arthritis
How can you tell if you have osteoarthritis?
If you have pain inside your knee, under your kneecap,especially when kneeling, squatting or going up and down steps, its usuallywear-and-tear arthritis, says Dr. Nickodem.
Cartilage, the cushioning betweenbones, deteriorates throughout life. It can erode more quickly in some peopledue to injury or genetics. As cartilage thins, your bones begin to rubtogether, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Sometimes the level of pain does notalways correlate to the severity of the condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and stiffness in your joints, inflammation around the joints and limited joint movement. There are many different types of arthritis, each with different symptoms.
Its normal to experience aches and pains, especially if youve carried out strenuous activity. But if your symptoms are unexplained, dont go away within a few days or if they are impacting your day-to-day life, you should visit your doctor.
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Precautions To Keep In Mind Before Exercising With Knee Arthritis
If youre new to exercise, its always smart to first talk to your doctor. Your doctor or physical therapist can make sure the exercises are safe for you and help you gain strength, without exacerbating inflammation or aggravating joint pain. Likewise, if youve had surgery on your knee, get guidance from your doctor or physical therapist on what knee exercises are safe for you. More tips to help protect your joints:
Start slowlyEase your joints into exercise if you havent been active for a while, say experts. Push too hard too fast, and you can overwork your muscles and worsen joint pain. Go easy at first, then increase the length and intensity of your work out as you progress.
Move gentlyAt the start of every exercise activity, start with five minutes or 10 minutes of stretching to help elongate the muscles and make them easier to move, says Dr. Johnson and do it again at the end. Dont force any stretches keep your movements slow and easy. With strength training, begin with fewer reps or lower weight, and build up gradually.Do a little every dayIf you have a flare of RA or an increase in OA pain, you should still stay active, suggests Dr. Johnson. Some simple stretching, like these range-of-motion stretches, may diminish some of the pain.
Do: Incorporate Strength And Flexibility Training To Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
A fitness plan for osteoarthritis should include strength and flexibility training along with aerobic exercise, says James Wyss, MD, a sports physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and an assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Strengthening exercises help support the muscles around the joint, while stretching can maintain and sometimes improve flexibility around the knee,” Dr. Wyss says.
What Does Arthritis Of The Knee Feel Like
A knee joint affected by arthritis may be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There are other symptoms, as well: The joint may become stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee.
Similarly one may ask, what are the symptoms of arthritis in the knee?
Symptoms commonly linked to knee arthritis include:
- crepitus, a clicking or popping of the knee joint with movement.
- pain that seems to be weather-related and gets worse with rain.
- weakness in the knee joint that may cause it to buckle.
One may also ask, what causes arthritis in the knee? Osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee arthritis. It happens when the protective cartilage that covers the bones wears away. As the cartilage erodes, the bones of the knee joint start to rub together. This causes bone spurs to develop on the ends of the bones.
Beside this, is walking good for arthritis in the knee?
If you have mild to moderate pain in your knees due to osteoarthritis, walking and other exercise helps mobilize your joint fluid and lubricate the joints. You should walk and do other exercises that move your knee joints. You are likely to find that the stiffness, pain, and fatigue improve with exercise.
What does arthritis pain feel like?
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Top 10 Ways To Reduce Knee Arthritis Pain
Knee arthritis pain is a common problem.
Approximately 11% of people over the age of 64 have arthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is when there is wear and tear of the bones and cartilage of the knee.
In knee arthritis, the cartilage that lines the knee joint thins, while the bone underneath thickens. This produces bony spurs known as osteophytes, which makes the joint surface all bumpy rather than being nice and smooth and flat. This often results in knee pain and stiffness
Here are the top 10 things you can do to reduce arthritis knee pain and improve how the knee moves.
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What Is Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints. It can affect the largest and strongest joints in your body. Its common in knees. Arthritis of the knee can be a serious, debilitating disease.
Although there is no cure for knee arthritis, there are steps you can take that might ease your symptoms and potentially slow the progression of your disease.
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Dont: Be Afraid To Use Assistive Devices If You Have Knee Osteoarthritis
Canes and knee braces can play a role in decreasing knee osteoarthritis pain and improving function, Pisetsky says. There can be a period of time when knee pain is disabling but its not the right time for surgery, so thats when assistive devices can make a difference, he explains. An occupational therapist can work with you to choose appropriate assistive devices.