What Is Knee Osteoarthritis And What Can I Do About It
If we had a dollar for every time we heard I had an x ray of my knee and the doctor says I have arthritis, we would certainly have a few dollars in our pockets. Its a common story we hear, and can be very concerning for patients who have knee pain and are unsure what that means for them. This is why we have written this blog, to help you understand what is happening in your knee when you are told you have arthritis, and what you can do about it.
Knee arthritis what is it?
When you are told you have knee arthritis, it most likely means you have a certain type of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis . This is a type of arthritis which is caused by wear and tear of the cartilage which sits between the bones that make up your knee joint. The job of the cartilage is to protect and cushion the bones in your knee. Over time, the cartilage in your knee can gradually wear away due to wear and tear, which can lead to the bones in your knee joint rubbing against each other. Knee inflammation, stiffness, pain and a loss of movement in the knee can be consequences of this. The space in your knee joint may eventually narrow, and extra bone growth, known as bone spurs, can form.
There are two main types of OA primary and secondary. Primary OA is where there is no known cause of your arthritis, and secondary is where there is a known cause of the OA. Examples of causes of secondary OA include direct trauma to the knee , obesity and congenital reasons.
Do: Warm Up And Cool Down Before And After You Exercise
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.
Who Is Affected By Osteoarthritis
Approximately 80% of older adults, ages 55 years and older, have evidence of osteoarthritis on X-ray. Of these, an estimated 60% experience symptoms. It is estimated that 240 million adults worldwide have symptomatic osteoarthritis, including more than 30 million U.S. adults. Post-menopausal women have an increased incidence of knee osteoarthritis compared to men.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine
A meta-analysis on the effectiveness of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee found only short-term benefit, which the authors described as clinically irrelevant.28 Acupuncture can be of benefit in chronic low back pain, but studies do not differentiate the etiology of the back pain.29
The most widely used supplements for osteoarthritis are glucosamine and chondroitin. The literature consisted of small clinical trials until the release of the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial , which included more than 1,500 patients. The trial had five arms comparing glucosamine alone, chondroitin alone, a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, celecoxib, and placebo. The results were favorable only for the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, which appeared to be effective for moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee.30 Chondroitin alone did not show benefit for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip in a meta-analysis.31
Diagnosing Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a progressive condition that causes aching pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility in the knee joint. The knee is the largest joint in the body, and is one of the strongest. Its composed of three bones: the bottom part of the thighbone, called the femur; the top part of the shinbone, called the tibia; and a large, round bone that covers and protects the joint, called the patella or kneecap. The ends of these bones are lined in a protective material called cartilage, a smooth material that acts like a shock absorber and helps the bones to move easily while the body is in motion.
The cause of knee pain and other osteoarthritis symptoms is often bone-on-bone friction, which happens when the cartilage has begun to erode. Over time, cartilage may wear away completely, leaving the joint vulnerable to permanent damage.
New research suggests that not everyone experiences osteoarthritis symptoms as a result of cartilage wear and tear. Knee pain results in many people from an inflammation in the membrane lining the knee joint, called the synovium. In a healthy knee, the synovium secretes a gel-like substance called synovial fluid that lubricates the joint and helps absorb stress during movement. Pain and stiffness related to osteoarthritis have been linked to a thinning of synovial fluid, which further contributes to joint degeneration.
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How Can I Manage Oa And Improve My Quality Of Life
CDCs Arthritis Program recommends five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.
- Learn self-management skills.;Join a self-management education class, which helps people with arthritis and other chronic conditionsincluding OAunderstand how arthritis affects their lives and increase their confidence in controlling their symptoms and living well. Learn more about the CDC-recommended self-management education programs.
- Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults engage in 150 minutes per week of at least moderate physical activity. Every minute of activity counts, and any activity is better than none. Moderate, low impact activities recommended include walking, swimming, or biking. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Learn more about physical activity for arthritis.
- Go to effective physical activity programs. For people who worry that physical;activity may make OA worse or are unsure how to exercise safely, participation in physical activity programs can help reduce pain and disability related to arthritis and improve mood and the ability to move. Classes take place at local Ys, parks, and community centers. These classes can help people with OA feel better. Learn more about CDC-recommended physical activity programs.
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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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.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms And Signs
Osteoarthritis is a type of joint damage.
Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain in the affected joints that occurs after repetitive use. Since the condition can affect many different joints, this can lead to hand pain, hip pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, or any kind of joint pain. Other associated symptoms and signs include joint swelling, joint stiffness, joint creaking or crackling, and loss of range of motion. Joint deformity can occur in severe cases.
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Causes Of Osteoarthritis :
1.Age : As you age it is normal for joint surfaces to wear down, especially the major weight-bearing joints of the lower limb. The ability of joint cartilage to repair itself also declines as you grow older.
2. OverWeight : Your weight will directly affect the amount of loading the knee joints in your lower limb have to support during weight-bearing activities.
3.Previous Knee Joint Injury : A previous injury to your knee can change the biomechanics of your knee joint. This leads to an abnormal distribution of load through the knee in everyday tasks.
4.Genetics : The gene that produces your articular knee cartilage is sometimes defective and can lead to either decreased lay down of cartilage, normal lay down of defective cartilage on the joint surfaces.
5.Jobs or Sports that repeatedly load your knee joint : Joint compression is essential for stimulating joint nutrition. Repetition of activities that excessively load the knee joint, such as squatting, lifting heavy objects and running, has been linked to an earlier onset of knee arthritis.
What Did They Learn
- All three types of injections were effective at reducing symptoms of pain and improving function
- CS and HA injections offered the best results at 4 6 weeks after treatment
- PRP injections offered the best long-term results, with patients reporting reduced pain and improved function even after 1 year
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Shoe Insoles And Other Devices
Some research trials have shown that the following may help to ease symptoms from OA of the knee in some cases:
- Wearing a knee brace.
- Using shoe insoles.
- The use of a special sticky tape which pulls the kneecap inwards.
These measures slightly alter the distribution of weight and pressure on the knee joint This is why they are thought to ease symptoms in some cases. A person qualified to diagnose and treat foot disorders or a physiotherapist can advise exactly how to use them.
Braces or supports may also be helpful for other joints affected by OA – for example, a support around the thumb for painful thumb OA.
Anatomy And Pathological Process :
~ The knee joint consists of both approximation of the proximal tibia and the distal end of the femur. The cartilage located on the ends of the femur and tibia contain an extra cellular matrix that contains type 2 protoglycans that function by drawing fluid into the joint causing increased shock absorption and proper joint nutrition.There is some evidence to support that as the aging process occurs the type 2 collagen fibers decrease in size and therefore less fluid an nutrition gets into the joint surfaces eventually leading to decreased protection along boney surfaces. femoral condyles and the concave tibial condyles. There is also the art. patellofemoralis between the femur and the patella and the art. tibiofibularis located between the tibia and fibula. OA can only occur in the two primary articulations of the knee, namely the tibiofemoral and
~ The knee is a synovial joint, which consists of 3 articulations. The primary joint, art. tibiofemoral, is located between the convex patellofemoral joint, because they have to sustain more motion than the art. tibiofibularis.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Osteoarthritis
- Your doctor does a physical examination and examines the affected area to find the signs of swelling, soreness, redness, and restricted movement.
- He or she is also likely to prescribe imaging tests, including X-ray and MRI , to get a clear picture of your joints.
- The doctor is more likely to examine your blood and joint fluid parameters to confirm the diagnosis. It includes blood tests and joint fluid analysis.
Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
OA and rheumatoid arthritis share the same symptoms but are very different conditions. OA is a degenerative condition, which means that it increases in severity over time. RA, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder.
People with RA have immune systems that mistake the soft lining around joints to be a threat to the body, causing it to attack that area. This soft lining, which includes the synovial fluid, is called the synovium. As the immune system launches its assault, fluid buildup within the joint occurs, causing stiffness, pain, swelling, and inflammation.
If youre not sure which form of arthritis you have, your best bet is to talk to your doctor. But you can also do your own research. Find out the differences between RA and OA.
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What Other Symptoms Are Linked With Knee Joint Pain
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee are generally limited to the joint itself, whereas inflammatory arthritis causes a wider array of issues. Unlike OA, inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease, which means it affects the whole body, says CreakyJoints Medical Advisor Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida.
In fact, it would be less common for someone with a form of inflammatory arthritis to experience pain in just one knee. Thats because symptoms are usually symmetrical ; whats more, inflammatory arthritis symptoms usually dont start in the knee.
For example, rheumatoid arthritis generally strikes the small joints in the fingers and toes first, while someone with ankylosing spondylitis is more likely to complain of low back and buttock pain, with knee arthritis pain developing later.
Depending on the type of inflammatory arthritis you have, you may experience other symptoms beyond knee joint pain. People with psoriatic arthritis exhibit the telltale scaly rash and plaques of psoriasis; eye inflammation can be a problem for those with psoriatic arthritis as well as ankylosing spondylitis, and people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience weight loss and fevers.
What Are Osteoarthritis Symptoms
- Loss of flexibility : You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Grating sensation : You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
- Bone spurs : These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.
- Tenderness : Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
- Kneepain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest
- Knee joint swelling
- feeling of warmth in the knee joint.
- stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while
- of the knee, making it difficult to get in and out of chairs or cars, use the stairs, or walk
- creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves
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How Do I Lubricate My Joints
Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication. Water can assist in joint lubrication. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day to ensure that your joints are lubricated.
What Are The Causes Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Prior injury is always a potential cause of knee osteoarthritis, but many things contribute to the development of arthritic knees some of which can be prevented and some that cannot. For instance, we know that osteoarthritis is more common in women than in men. This type of osteoarthritis frequently runs in families, so there is some genetic component.
Additionally, all knees are not created equally. The specific anatomy of your knee, including the shape of the different components and how well they are aligned, may make you more prone or less prone to osteoarthritis.
However, even if you have a specific predisposition to osteoarthritis, there are certain lifestyle factors that can be changed in order to reduce your likelihood of developing arthritis in your knee joint. Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest causes of knee osteoarthritis and its severity, so losing weight will greatly help.
What you do for a living also makes a difference. If your occupation includes strenuous activity, repetitive movements of the knees, kneeling, climbing, or crawling, then you are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis. Firefighters, construction workers, and farmers are all at risk of developing arthritis.
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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.
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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Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorders
These are also referred to as . The CTDs may have both genetic and environmental causes. Genetic factors may create a predisposition towards developing these autoimmune diseases. They are characterized as a group by the presence of spontaneous overactivity of the immune system that results in the production of extra antibodies into the circulation. The classic have a “classic” presentation with typical findings that doctors can recognize during an examination. Each also has “classic” blood test abnormalities and abnormal antibody patterns. However, each of these diseases can evolve slowly or rapidly from very subtle abnormalities before demonstrating the classic features that help in the diagnosis. The classic collagen vascular diseases include: