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What Helps Osteoarthritis In The Knees

When To See Your Doctor

Osteoarthritis of the Knee – How To Manage It

OA is a chronic condition with no cure. Managing your condition and symptoms can go a long way in stopping further damage to your joints. Lifestyle changes and home and natural remedies can complement your treatment plan. They may even provide extra relief.

While such changes can make a big difference, its important to know when you need to see your doctor. You might need to make an appointment in the case of a flare-up, if your symptoms get worse, or if your current treatment plan isnt helping. Your doctor should check your joint pain and stiffness for potential damage.

Aerobic Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis

The goal here is to get active to boost your heart rate and to do so smartly. Listen to your body and adjust the intensity of your cardio activities in response to knee aches and pains, says Dr. Orlandi.

Ideal cardio fitness routines could include:

  • Walking. Track your steps using a fitness app or device to add motivation to your journey, suggests Dr. Orlandi. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, too, in order to properly support your feet.
  • Swimming. Swimming decreases the stress placed on your knees. If you dont want to swim, thats fine, too. Just walking through chest-high water can give you a good workout. You dont have to be a fish, says Dr. Orlandi.
  • Cycling. Regular bike or stationary bike, it doesnt matter. Just pedal away knowing that youre getting in a good workout while limiting stress on your knees.
  • Gym equipment. Ellipticals, rowing machines and other get-you-sweaty devices can offer solid workouts while lightening the load on weight-bearing joints.

What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee

Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:

  • Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
  • Does your knee swell up?
  • Is your skin often red?
  • Is your skin often warm?
  • Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • What medications do you take?
  • How severe is your pain?
  • Do you struggle to walk?
  • Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?

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Who Gets Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While it can occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.

Are There Complications Of Osteoarthritis

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For many people, living with osteoarthritis will not cause major problems. However, complications that may arise from severe osteoarthritis include:

  • deformity due to swelling of the joint
  • poor sleep due to pain
  • reduced ability to exercise
  • restrictions performing daily tasks

As osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, you may feel anxious, frustrated or upset about how it is affecting your life. Talk with your doctor or a friend you trust if you need help and support.

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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.

Radiographic Findings Of Oa

  • Joint space narrowing
  • Advice on weight loss
  • Knee bracing
  • The first-line treatment for all patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis includes patient education and physiotherapy. A combination of supervised exercises and a home exercise program have been shown to have the best results. These benefits are lost after 6 months if the exercises are stopped.
  • Weight loss is valuable in all stages of knee OA. It is indicated in patients with symptomatic OA with a body mass index greater than 25. The best recommendation to achieve weight loss is with diet control and low-impact aerobic exercise.
  • Knee bracing in OA can be used. Offloading-type braces which shift the load away from the involved knee compartment. This can be effective when there is a valgus or varus deformity.

Other non-physiotherapy based interventions include pharmacological management:

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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.

Does Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Cause Bone Pain

Exercises for osteoarthritis of the hip and knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee causes your leg bones to rub together, which can lead to painful bone spurs.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Osteoarthritis of the knee develops over time. You might not notice the twinge or ache that could be the first sign of knee osteoarthritis. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have knee pain thats getting worse. Your provider can help you treat your symptoms and keep you moving. Early treatment can ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee and slow its progress.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/08/2021.

References

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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 .

What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis In The Knee

Pain is the most common symptom of osteoarthritis in the knee. Your knee might hurt when you move it, or even when you are just sitting still. Other symptoms are:

  • Your knee feels stiff, particularly when you first get up or when youve been sitting for a long time.
  • Your knee looks swollen or feels puffy.
  • You hear a cracking or grinding noise when you move your knee.
  • Your knee feels wobbly, as if it could buckle or give out.”
  • Your knee might lock up, or feel as if it is stuck.

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Adding Or Removing Some Bone Around A Joint

If you have osteoarthritis in your knees but you’re not suitable for knee replacement surgery, you may be able to have an operation called an osteotomy. This involves your surgeon adding or removing a small section of bone either above or below your knee joint.

This helps realign your knee so your weight is no longer focused on the damaged part of your knee. An osteotomy can relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis, although you may still need knee replacement surgery eventually.

How Common Is Osteoarthritis

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Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men. Australian studies show that about 1 in 10 women report having the condition, compared with about 1 in 16 men.

Osteoarthritis can develop at any age, but it is more common in people aged over 40 years or in those who have previously injured a joint. One in 5 Australians over the age of 45, and one in 3 over 75 years have osteoarthritis.

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What To Expect After Corticosteroid Or Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Most people can return home or to work immediately after the injection takes place. The site of the injection may be swollen or tender for one or two days. Doctors may recommend applying ice two or three times a day or taking an over-the-counter medication to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

It may take several weeks to see improvement after a hyaluronic acid injection. Our doctors recommend restricting high-impact activity, such as running, until symptoms improve.

A person may feel the pain relief effects of corticosteroid injections more quickly than hyaluronic acid, but the results may not last as long. However, each person may respond differently to either of these injections.

Complementary And Alternative Therapies

Some people with osteoarthritis try complementary or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy and find them helpful.

However, there’s a lack of medical evidence to suggest they’re effective and they generally are not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .

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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.

Do: Warm Up And Cool Down Before And After You Exercise

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Dont jump right into your workouts if you have knee osteoarthritis, Wyss says. In general, a warm-up lubricates your joints so you’re less stiff and its easier to move, which lowers the risk of sustaining any injury during your workout. Cooling down helps you reset after exercise. A physical therapist or trainer can instruct you on the appropriate warm-up and cool-down exercises for you, he says.

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What Causes Osteoarthritis In The Knee

Before looking at how to manage osteoarthritis in the knee, its a good idea to understand how that pain started in the first place with a little anatomy 101.

Rubbery and flexible connective tissue known as articular cartilage covers and sits between bones that meet in your knee. The slippery tissue cushions the joint, serving like a shock absorber as you walk, run, jump and otherwise move around the world.

That cartilage takes a beating, though, and small tears naturally develop as the malleable material grows more rigid over time. The articular cartilage in your knee eventually starts to flatten and stiffen like an old chair pad.

And when that cartilage stops absorbing the shock well, you notice.

Factors that lead to osteoarthritis in your knee include:

  • Aging.
  • Injury, which can lead to early deterioration.
  • Excess weight that puts added strain on your knees. For every 3 lbs. of weight you have, you put 10 lbs. of pressure on your joints, notes Dr. Orlandi.
  • Genetics.

Which Painkillers Help In Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen can relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis. But because they can also have side effects, they should only be taken when needed. It is also best to use them together with other treatments such as exercise therapy.

Pain caused by osteoarthritis can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These medications have an inflammation-reducing and pain-relieving effect. Examples of NSAIDs include diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen. Two other anti-inflammatory painkillers with a similar effect are celecoxib and etoricoxib. These are COX-2 inhibitors .

Some NSAIDs can be bought at pharmacies without a prescription for example, to treat a headache or menstrual pain. But higher doses are sometimes needed to relieve pain effectively in osteoarthritis, and they have to be prescribed by a doctor.

Instead of taking tablets, you can apply an NSAID like diclofenac to your knee as a cream or gel. Studies show that using a cream or gel can effectively relieve the pain, but it needs to be applied 3 to 4 times a day to work.

The drug etofenamate is available in the form of a cream or gel too. But there’s no good-quality research on its effectiveness.

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The most common side effects of anti-inflammatory painkillers are stomach problems. About 10 out of 100 people have mild problems such as indigestion or a stomach ache. These medications are better tolerated when you take them with a meal and plenty of water.

More serious complications like gastritis , ulcers, or bleeding in the stomach or bowel are less common. The risk of these kinds of complications is greater when they are taken at a higher dose or for a longer time. It also depends on the exact medicine you are using.

Medications for protecting the lining of the stomach like omeprazole or pantoprazole can reduce the risk of these problems and effectively prevent related complications. They do this by lowering the production of acid in the stomach. You can talk with your doctor about when it’s a good idea to use these kinds of stomach medications. High doses of NSAIDs and coxibs also increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks or strokes when used for a long time.

What Is Osteoarthritis Of Knee

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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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Foods That Fight Inflammation

No one food can relieve arthritis, but eatingor avoidingcertain foods can help combat inflammation throughout the body.

What to eat

  • Omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish, such as salmon and tuna

  • Beans

  • Omega-6 fatty acids from egg yolks and red meat

  • French fries and other fried foods

  • Packaged cookies, crackers,baked goods, and other processed, sugary foods

  • Fruit juice

What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • joint pain and stiffness
  • grating sensations when moving a joint
  • less joint flexibility than before

You may only notice symptoms in your joints after doing an activity such as walking, climbing stairs or opening a jar. Some people have mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe, ongoing symptoms.

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Sitting Isnt Beneficial For Your Joints

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of joint disease, although some studies suggest it may also have an inflammatory component. If you have it, you may experience varying degrees of pain, stiffness, reduced mobility, and swelling of the affected knee. These symptoms make it harder for some people to stay physically active but sitting on the couch is the worst thing you can do if you have osteoarthritis.

What happens if you become a couch potato? Without exercise, you will have diminished blood flow and nutrient delivery to your knee cartilage, as well as muscle atrophy. As the muscles that support your knees lose strength and size due to lack of movement, your knees have less support and stability. To maintain the muscles that support your knees, strength training is your best option. Muscles become thicker and stronger in response to strength training, and thats what you need if you have arthritic knees.

Special Devices And Footwear

Osteoarthritis of the Knee – Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Relief

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.

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Maintain A Healthy Weight

According to the Arthritis Foundation, each pound of body weight puts the equivalent of three to six pounds on joints. Weight loss can go a long way in alleviating joint pain and OA prevention. This may also be helpful for people with OA in their knees and hips, as these joints bear a lot of weight.

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.

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How Is It Diagnosed

Knee OA is diagnosed by 2 primary processes. The first is based on your report of your symptoms and a clinical examination. Your physical therapist will ask you questions about your medical history and activity. The therapist will perform a physical exam to measure your knee’s movement , strength, mobility, and flexibility. You might also be asked to perform various movements to see if they increase or decrease the pain you are experiencing.

The second tool used to diagnose knee OA is diagnostic imaging. Your physical therapist may refer you to a physician, who will order X-rays of the knee in a variety of positions to check for damage to the bone and cartilage of your knee joint. If more severe joint damage is suspected, an MRI may be ordered to look more closely at the overall status of the joint and surrounding tissues. Blood tests also may be ordered to help rule out other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to knee OA.

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