What Causes Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis of the knee happens when your knee joint cartilage wears out or is damaged. Articular cartilage is tough, rubbery tissue on the ends of your bones that lets you bend and move. Meniscal cartilage absorbs shock from pressure on your knee.
Your cartilage is like your cars shock absorber, protecting your car from bumps and jolts. Drive on lots of rough roads, your shocks wear out fast. Drive on easy streets, your shocks last longer. You can wear out or damage your knee joint cartilage if:
- Youre overweight. If your body mass index is 30 or more, youre seven times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in your knee than someone with a lower BMI.
- You injure your knee or have an old knee injury.
- You frequently put stress on your knee at your job or playing sports.
- You inherited a tendency to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
- You have crooked bones or joints, such as having knocked knees.
Take Certain Dietary Supplements
Some nutritional supplements may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, particularly in the first stages of degeneration. The most popular are :
- Glucosamine the building blocks of cartilage
- Chondroitin present in soft tissue
- Turmeric a natural anti-inflammatory
- Ginger also a natural anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin D crucial for bone, cartilage, and muscle development
In general, taking supplements following the manufacturers instructions wont harm your health.
But, make sure youre not allergic to the ingredients. Glucosamine supplements, for example, often come from shellfish that many people are sensitive to.
Injections for knee osteoarthritis are a popular option for managing symptoms. The most common are:
Steroid injections can be effective at relieving pain in the short term and up to 3 months.
But these injections may also speed up the cartilage loss in the long term. So, theyre only recommended for specific cases, like a sudden flare of symptoms or if the pain is very limiting and oral/topic medication doesnt work.
Hyaluronic acid injections
The main compound in this acid is naturally present in our joints. Injecting it may help some people with knee osteoarthritis. However, this is only done if the treatments above have failed.
It may be a safer option than constantly injecting corticosteroids.
Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate
This draws on the same concept as MSCs. Experts take cells from your body and use them to stimulate the healing process inside your knee.
The advantage is bone marrow may be easier to obtain than MSCs, and also contains other substances involved in promoting cartilage regrowth and calming inflammation.
While still a new approach, a review in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine found âgood to excellent overall outcomesâ from 11 studies. The researchers noted that that some trials were tougher than others. So they recommended that the treatment be used cautiously since a lot is still unknown.
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Have A Bedtime Routine
This is incredibly important for treating knee osteoarthritis.
See, 50-80% of people with knee OA have sleep problems. This is a huge problem because good sleep has been shown to ease pain. It can even have protective effects on the knee cartilage.
On the other hand, a bad nights sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. Studies show that this can happen with as little as a 4-hour sleep restriction for 2 consecutive nights.
What does a bedtime routine have to do with this?
A bedtime routine can promote quality sleep. Over time, this sets up a rhythm that prepares your brain for rest, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Now, the activities will vary. According to the Sleep Foundation, a good bedtime routine should be relaxing and start at the same time every day. Avoid using electronic devices.
A good example of a bedtime routine for knee osteoarthritis can look like this:
- Taking a warm bath
- Lower leg stretches in bed
- Aromatherapy or a soothing self-massage
Do: Take Medications As Prescribed
Over-the-counter or prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are among the mainstays of knee osteoarthritis treatment, Pisetsky says. While effective, they do come with their share of side effects, he explains. We typically tell patients to take them as needed for pain but emphasize that theyre not used to slow disease progression, he says.
Other treatments are also available to help relieve knee pain, stiffness, and swelling, including analgesics such as acetaminophen and injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid into the joints. While corticosteroid injections are commonly performed, their long-term effects are still under investigation. Using heat and cold therapy can also help relieve symptoms try moist heat for joint stiffness and ice for joint pain and swelling, says Wyss. Just be sure to work with your doctor to develop the best treatment strategy for you.
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Get Better Z’s For A Natural Treatment For Arthritis
It can be tough to sleep if you have joint pain, but improving your sleep could actually be a good treatment for osteoarthritis. According to a study published in February 2014 in the journal Sleep, researchers who worked with 367 adults with osteoarthritis to improve their sleep found that cognitive-behavioral strategies to reduce insomnia appeared to both improve sleep and reduce pain.
What Is Osteoarthritis In The Knee Joint
Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative process where the joint surfaces of the knee are worn out and torn.
See, most of our joints are lined with articular cartilage. This is a smooth tissue that lets our bones glide over each other without much friction.
But, after years of using our joints, this cartilage wears off. This degeneration is particularly common in weight-bearing joints, like the knee.
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Symptoms Of Knee Joint Oa
People with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis have a wide variety of symptoms, including :
- Joint pain, ranging from mild to incapacitating
- Joint stiffness, mostly in the morning
- Swelling of varying degrees
- Cracking, grinding, and other joint noises
- Visual deformity of the knee in advanced cases
At first, you may feel pain with weight-bearing activities, like standing, walking, or climbing stairs.
But, as the degeneration progresses, the pain in the affected joint may be present at rest, too. It can make it hard for you to lay down or sleep.
Occupational Therapy And Physical Therapy
Occupational adjustments may be necessary for some patients with osteoarthritis. An occupational therapist can assist with evaluating how well the patient performs ADLs, as well as with retraining of the patient as necessary. Joint-protection techniques should be emphasized. Physical therapy modalities, especially those aimed at deconditioned patients, can be helpful, particularly in patients with hip or knee involvement.
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Relieve Your Arthritis Symptoms With Effective Non
Knee osteoarthritis, one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain among aging patients, can have debilitating effects on mobility and ability to enjoy life.
Unfortunately, arthritis in the knee is an extremely common condition. Approximately 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60 suffer from this condition.
The most common symptom of knee osteoarthritis is pain in and around the knee joint. While the type and severity of pain will vary between patients, typical symptoms include pain that is heightened after sleeping or sitting/resting, pain that flares following intense activity, and pain that induces a sense of weakness in the knees.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of these types, they likely are affected by knee osteoarthritis. To learn about options for addressing and relieving these painful symptoms, read our list of effective non-surgical treatment options featured below.
Turmeric : Treats Inflammation Pain And Stiffness
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. Its is part of the ginger family, but may help OA in different ways. show that the substance may fight inflammatory compounds. It may also help reduce pain and stiffness during an OA flare-up.
For the treatment of arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation recommends the following dosage options:
- capsules: 400 to 600 milligrams up to three times per day
- powdered root extract: 0.5 to 1 gram, three times per day
If taking turmeric, you may need to add black pepper to activate the herbs benefits. While turmeric is generally safe it can cause nausea and may interact with blood thinners.
For more long-term relief, lifestyle changes are often effective. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and weight maintenance can help improve joint health and function. Over time, the muscles stabilizing your joints will strengthen and protect against damage.
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How To Treat Osteoarthritis With Mind
Certain practices that focus on the interaction between mind and body can be a natural treatment for arthritis as people relax and stretch muscles while allowing the mind to focus itself away from the pain.
Yoga can improve your flexibility and strengthen muscles both important for the support of arthritic joints. Tai chi can also ease symptoms in the short term, specifically pain, stiffness, and movement in people who have osteoarthritis in their knees, according to a research review published in August 2013 in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Physical Modalities And Exercise
Physical modalities for the treatment of knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis include physical therapy, exercise, weight loss, and the use of braces or heel wedges. A review of physical therapy interventions for patients with knee osteoarthritis concluded that exercise and weight loss reduce pain and improve physical function.7 Exercise should be prescribed as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis. High- and low-intensity aerobic exercises are equally effective in improving functional status, gait, pain, and aerobic capacity in persons with knee osteoarthritis8 water-based and land-based exercises reduce knee pain and physical disability9,10 and aerobic walking, quadriceps strengthening, and resistance exercise reduce pain and disability.11,12 A small randomized controlled trial showed that performing tai chi three times per week for 12 weeks decreased pain and improved physical functioning in older women with knee osteoarthritis.13 Any activity that worsens knee pain should be discontinued.
The use of braces and heel wedges may also be effective for treatment of knee osteoarthritis. There is some evidence that the use of a lateral heel wedge decreases the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .14 Similar evidence suggests that a brace and lateral wedge insole may have a small beneficial effect.14 Braces and heel wedges can be customized and purchased at stores specializing in orthotics.
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Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Being overweight can put extra pressure on the joints, and excess fat stores in the body can cause further inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight can lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Keeping to a healthy weight can be difficult for some people, especially those who have a medical condition that reduces their mobility, such as osteoarthritis. A doctor or dietitian will be able to provide advice.
Including specific foods in the diet can strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints and help the body to fight inflammation and disease.
People with osteoarthritis can try adding the following eight foods to their diet to ease their symptoms:
How Is Knee Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
To diagnose knee osteoarthritis, your doctor will do a physical exam first. He/she will request a magnetic resonance imaging of your knee joint and maybe some blood tests, too.
That will help them rule out other diseases to provide an accurate diagnosis.
Now, for your doctor to give you a proper knee osteoarthritis diagnosis, theres some criteria you have to meet. It includes :
- Being > 50 years old
- During the physical exam Having knee tenderness, knee noises, normal skin temperature
- In your daily life Feeling knee stiffness for < 30 minutes, some level of pain
- In your MRI Presence of bone spurs, cartilage defects, meniscal tears, lack of joint space
- In your blood tests No signs of an autoimmune disease, healthy synovial joint fluid
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Topical Ointments And Creams
You may want to try topical versions as an alternative to oral over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These gels and creams may contain aspirin or analgesics to numb the pain. You can apply them directly to the affected joints. These products can work well for areas that are near the skin surface, such as your knees.
Another topical home remedy is capsaicin. Capsaicin is a compound made from hot chili peppers. It works best when you apply it to painful joints three to four times per day. To avoid accidental eye exposure, wash hands after each use.
You may also want to try other ointments like Tiger Balm or horse liniment. Talk to your doctor before experimenting with any of these products.
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.
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If Surgery Is Required
The meniscus may be involved in some cases of knee OA. In the past, surgery to repair or remove parts or all of this cartilage was common. Current research, however, has shown that â in a group of patients who were deemed surgical candidates for knee OA with involvement of the meniscus â 60% to 70% of those who first participated in a physical therapy program did not go on to have surgery. One year later, those results were unchanged. This study suggests that physical therapy may be an effective alternative for people with knee OA, who would prefer to avoid surgery.
Sometimes, however, surgical intervention, such as arthroscopy or a total knee replacement, may be recommended. There are many factors to consider when determining the appropriate surgical treatment, including the nature of your condition, your age, activity level, and overall health. Your physical therapist will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss your surgical options.
Should you choose to have surgery, your physical therapist can assist you prior to and following your surgery. The treatment you require following surgery will depend on a variety of factors such as the type of surgery performed, your level of function, and fitness prior to surgery. Contrary to popular belief, surgery is not the easy choice you will still require treatment following your surgery to maximize your level of function.
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.
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But What Is The Best Treatment For You
If youve been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, the best thing to do is go to a physical therapist in your area.
Your physio will work in tandem with your doctor and other healthcare professionals to give you the best care possible. This may look like:
- Teaching you self-management
- Treating your symptoms in the clinic with active and passive strategies
- Designing an exercise program for your needs
- Helping you prepare for knee surgery
We physical therapists are specifically trained to help you recover from painful conditions, like knee OA. We work with you to get you as close as possible to your previous lifestyle.
Orthotics Help Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain
Mechanical devices called orthotics can be used as treatment for osteoarthritis by supporting and protecting arthritic joints and relieving osteoarthritis pain, according to the ACR. A brace placed on an inflamed joint can provide pain relief by supporting the joint and relieving some of the stress caused by body weight or daily use. Braces can also help realign joints that are being distorted by arthritis.
Shoes are another form of orthotics that are used in osteoarthritis treatment soles that absorb some of the shock of walking can be very beneficial. Altman notes that one of the most common orthotics a cane is often used incorrectly. He suggests getting properly measured for the correct length of cane for your height and learning how to use it to your best advantage.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Treated
Treatment for osteoarthritis includes lifestyle changes and medications.
All patients with osteoarthritis should be enrolled in an exercise program because physical activity increases blood flow, and joints and muscles are supplied with more oxygen. Swimming, Tai Chi and weight-based exercises are usually suitable for people with osteoarthritis, although a physician should be consulted before starting any exercise program.
Weight loss can lower the risk of pain in weight-bearing joints and orthotics, devices that help to align joints – orthotic shoe inserts, splints, and braces can help with movement. Heat or cold therapy can also relieve joint swelling.
Medications for osteoarthritis may include:
How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Diagnosed
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will also take your medical history and note any symptoms. Make sure to note what makes the pain worse or better to help your doctor determine if osteoarthritis, or something else, may be causing your pain. Also find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. Your doctor may order additional testing, including:
- X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
- magnetic resonance imaging scans
MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.
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