Youre Not Losing Weight If You Need To Which Could Stress Your Knee Joint
The more you weigh, the more stress is placed on the knee joint, which can trigger an increase in pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . Whats more, a study published in August 2017 in the journal Radiology found that when overweight and obese adults lost weight over a two-year period, they significantly slowed down their rate of knee cartilage degeneration.
You Arent Exercising Which Is Bad For Your Knees
It may seem counterintuitive to exercise if you have joint pain, but the Arthritis Foundation tells people to be active. The knee joint loves motion, says Brian Halpern, MD, a sports medicine physician with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and author of The Knee Crisis Handbook. The challenge is to find the best types of activities for you. Dr. Halpern recommends bicycling, swimming, and elliptical trainers, as well as strengthening exercises that help muscles support the knee joint.
Preventing Arthritis Of The Knee
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When Should I See My Doctor
Check with your doctor or health professional if you feel pain in your joints or experience other symptoms of osteoarthritis. If you have any concerns about osteoarthritis, or other health issues, they can suggest ways to manage your arthritis and refer you to a specialist if needed.
How Is Osteoarthritis Managed
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but most people with osteoarthritis can manage their symptoms, continue with daily activities and live healthy and enjoyable lives. Be careful of any products or treatments that claim to cure osteoarthritis completely your doctor will help to find the right treatment for you.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a guide to help you discuss the main treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee with your doctor.
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How To Help Arthritis In Knees: The Basics
Your knees are the largest, strongest joint in the body. Knowing a bit about the anatomy can help to appreciate not only their strength but also their unique vulnerabilities.
Knee joints consist of three bones. The femur connects to the tibia and the patella . Cartilage wraps around the end of each bone to protect and smooth movement where the three bones meet.
Two wedges of cartilage called the meniscus act as shock absorbers as the femur presses down into the tibia. Synovial fluid lubricates all of the cartilage in the joint and helps with smooth movement.
In addition, stabilizing ligaments and tendons include:
- Lateral and medial collateral ligaments: Stabilize side-to-side movement
- Posterior and anterior cruciate ligament: Frames movement forward and backwards
Knees absorb the impact of your upper body coming down on the lower leg: every day, all day. This means that everything you dowalking, running, hiking up a mountain, or simply standing up from a seatrelies on healthy knees.
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.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, commonly known as TENS, interrupts pain signals sent to the brain with a weak electrical pulse. For some people with arthritis in the knee, this non-invasive treatment works wonders. TENS machines can now be purchased cheaply over the counter, which makes it an easy option to try.
Causes Of Knee Arthritis And Pain
The most common cause of pain is knee osteoarthritis. Known as a wear-and-tear disease, osteoarthritis occurs as the knee joint gets used over time. The structures that once supported and eased movement may begin to wear out, causing knee pain with movement.
Other common causes of knee pain include the following:
- Injury: Injury such as torn ligaments and tendons, bone fractures, bursitis, and tendinitis can cause knee pain both at rest and during activity.
- Mechanical problems: Mechanical problems occur when something in the joint fails. This might include dislocated kneecap, iliotibial band syndrome, or a foreign body in the joint .
- Other forms of arthritis: There are over 100 forms of arthritis, many of which can cause knee arthritis pain. In addition to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis can cause knee pain.
Finally, a less common cause of knee pain is patellofemoral pain syndrome. This pain between the patella and the femur is most often seen in young athletes but can develop as a consequence of arthritis in the kneecap.
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Imaging For Diagnosing Advanced Knee Osteoarthritis
X-rays are very helpful in diagnosing advanced knee osteoarthritis because the joint will have specific characteristics, including:
- Bones that are closer to each other than they should be: As cartilage wears away, the joint space between them often narrows.
- Cysts: As the body responds to cartilage destruction and attempts to stabilize the joint, cysts or fluid-filled cavities can form in the bone.
- Increased bone density or uneven joints: When bones are no longer cushioned by cartilage, they can rub against one another, creating friction. The body responds by producing more bone tissue, which increasing bone density. Increased bone creates uneven joint surfaces and bone spurs at the joint.
Knowing If You Have Arthritis Of The Knee
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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 such as exercises, injections, knee braces and physical therapy. As we continue through the arthritis pain in knee section, you can find out lots more in the following articles:
How Is Arthritis Of The Knee Treated
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.
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What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis
The most common cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is age. Almost everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis. However, several factors increase the risk of developing significant arthritis at an earlier age.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include:
- pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest
- feeling of warmth in the joint
- stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while
- creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves
Knee Arthritis Treatment Options
If you have knee arthritis, you know it can be painful and require you to restrict normal activities. The pain associated with inflammatory arthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen, but those medications treat the symptom, not your actual arthritis, said Dr. Rosen. You should avoid extended use of these medications because if taken in excess they can cause kidney failure, stomach bleeding, or liver disease.
Inflammatory arthritis of the knee can be treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs which slow down the progression of the arthritis and can help prevent joint deformities. Other treatment options for inflammatory arthritis include corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections.
In addition to the above treatment options, your doctor will likely give you tips to help you self-manage your knee arthritis, including remaining active, maintaining a healthy weight, and protecting your joints by avoiding repeat activities with the affected joint.
There is no treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee, so your doctor will treat your symptoms, likely with a combination of therapies including having you increase your level of physical activity, doing exercises to strengthen the affected muscle, physical therapy, losing weight, recommending over-the-counter or prescription medication, using aids like crutches or canes, or surgery.
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Muscle Impairments And Knee Oa Initiation And Progression
Lower extremity muscles provide functional stability to the knee joint and act as a shock absorber., Quadriceps strength is related to the rate of lower extremity loading in healthy women subjects with weaker quadriceps have higher loading rates. Higher loading rates may initiate knee OA or cause progression of existing disease. On the contrary, quadriceps strength shows a bivariate relationship with rate of loading, but this relationship was lost after controlling for potential confounders including gait speed.
The question is, does knee OA cause quadriceps weakness, or does quadriceps weakness precede the disease onset and contribute to the initiation and progression of the disease?,, The development of incident radiographic knee OA was monitored over a mean period of 31 months in 280 subjects with no radiographic evidence of OA in 1 knee. Women who develop incident knee OA had weaker quadriceps relative to body weight.
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Youre Trying To Cope With Knee Osteoarthritis By Yourself
People with knee osteoarthritis often know that healthy lifestyle habits like exercise and weight control are recommended, but they arent implementing them, Dr. Garver says. His research, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Journal of Rheumatology found that meeting with others who have osteoarthritis and sharing similar challenges can help motivate people to change their habits and add an exercise routine into their life.
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Are There Benefits Of Walking With Knee Pain
It may seem counterintuitive to increase your activity level when you have chronic knee pain or arthritis, but walking can actually provide a number of benefits, including:
- Lubricating the joints
- Increasing blood flow to the tissues
- Building muscle strength to support the knee
Before beginning or resuming any fitness routine, it is essential that you obtain clearance from your physician to ensure the health and safety of your joints. Walking is a fantastic option for many patients with knee arthritis because it is a low-impact activity that does not put undue stress on the joints. Furthermore, walking can increase the knees range of motion and keep it from becoming overly stiff.
How Is Knee Arthritis Treated
There is no cure for knee arthritis, but there are many ways you can relieve your symptoms and help prevent these from getting worse. Of the following strategies for managing knee arthritis, exercise and weight loss are seen as particularly important.
Read more about pain relief medications.
Other treatments and tips
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Exercise And Other Knee Arthritis Remedies
For both OA and inflammatory knee arthritis patients, exercise is a key component of treatment, particularly if youre overweight or obese
Physical therapy may be a necessary first step for some to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joint and improve range of motion. Low-impact exercises walking, cycling, or swimming are usually best for those with arthritis of the knee, but you may be able to do higher-impact exercises if dont have much joint damage.
To help make activity more comfortable, your doctor may recommend using assistive devices such as a cane or a knee brace or sleeve. Wearing well-cushioned, shock-absorbing shoes or inserts is also key unsupportive styles such as flip-flops and flimsy flats only exacerbate knee joint pain. High heels, which throw off your alignment and place added stress on your knees, should also be avoided.
Its also a good idea to talk to your doctor about how to get more rest, since many people with arthritis experience sleep disturbances that studies suggest can lead to pain, depression, and greater disability. Simply practicing good sleep hygiene sticking to a regular bedtime, keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, exercising during the day, etc. can help in many cases.
Possible Nonsurgical Treatment Options
You may have heard of new, cutting edge treatments for knee arthritis – but do they work, and are they safe?
There has been some recent evidence that Platelet Rich Plasma or stem cell injections have reduced inflammation in an arthritic knee but this treatment is still new and most insurance companies wont cover it so it can be expensive, said Dr. Rosen.
Stem cell treatment has also been quite controversial. There are no studies confirming long term effectiveness, explained Dr. Rosen, and most importantly, no standards as to which cells are used, what dose and where the cells come from. Dr. Rosen also said that the Food and Drug Administration has recently cracked down on stem cell clinics for false and misleading claims and products that were neither safe nor effective.
If youre suffering from knee arthritis, your doctor can help you navigate possible treatment options that would be best for you. To find a Banner Health orthopedic or sports medicine specialists, go to BannerHealth.com.
To learn more about your knee and hip health, take our free Joint Pain Test.
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