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.
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Knee OA is a very common source of pain that can limit your mobility.
Causes of Knee OA
The cause of OA is unknown. These risk factors make it more likely you will develop knee OA:
- Age: OA can occur at any time of life, but it is most common in older adults.
- Sex: Women are more likely to have knee OA than men.
- Obesity: Being overweight adds stress to your knees. Fat cells also make proteins that can cause inflammation in and around your joints.
- Injuries: Any knee injury, even old ones, can lead to knee OA.
- Repeated stress: Frequent stress on your knee from your job or playing sports can increase risk for OA.
- Genetics: You can inherit a tendency to develop OA.
- Bone deformities: If you have crooked bones or joints, you are at higher risk.
- Some metabolic diseases: Diabetes and hemochromatosis, a condition in which your blood has too much iron, have been linked to OA
Symptoms of knee OA develop slowly and worsen over time.
- Pain: Movement causes pain. Sometimes your knee will ache while sitting still.
- Stiffness: Your knees may be stiff first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long time.
- Loss of motion: Over time, you may lose the ability to bend and straighten your knee all the way.
- Creaking and grating : You may hear crackling noises or feel a grating sensation.
- Instability: Your knee may give out or buckle, or feel like it could.
- Locking: The knee may lock or stick.
- Swelling: Your knee may get puffy all around or on one side.
Your doctor will check for:
How Is Arthritis Treated
Theres no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the arthritis, its symptoms and your overall health.
Conservative treatments include:
- Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune systems inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
- Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain.
- Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.
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Why You Should Get A Gel Knee Injection
1) Gel knee shots are for patients who find other treatments ineffective
This course of action is recommended for patients who dont experience relief from physical therapy or other injections. Additionally, patients with diabetes often choose gel shots since corticosteroid injections another common treatment raise blood sugar levels. If overused, cortisone can deteriorate cartilage in knees, while gel shots do not.
2) Gel knee shots last longer than other treatment options
A typical regimen of gel shots consists of three to five weekly injections. Patients can then enjoy pain relief from osteoarthritis for up to six months on average.
3) Gel knee shots are approved by the FDA
The FDA approved the first gel injections in the late 90s. There are now more than six different brands available. All of them have been deemed equally effective by independent clinical trials.
Knee Arthritis Signs & Symptoms
Although osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, the signs and symptoms of the condition rarely get worse in a linear fashion. Often people in their thirties or forties will over do it one weekend, either in sport or in the garden, and they will experience a flare up from the degenerate joint. This flare up may last for 48 hours and usually consists of stiffness , pain and swelling of the affected joint. The knee may, but not always, make a creaking or grating sound as the process progresses.
A substantial time period may pass before there is another flare up, but each flare up will get progressively more intense. Also, as time goes by and more stress is put on the affected joint, the time interval between flare ups will decrease to the point where, eventually, the person will have pain even at rest.
As the disease progresses the symptoms that start off being triggered by over activity, become triggered by immobility. Whereas, in the early stages, rest is essential during a flare up period, disuse in the later stages will exacerbate the problem. This is because the dynamic stability provided by the muscles surrounding the joint is lost if there is muscle wasting due to inactivity. This puts even more strain on the ligaments and ultimately the joint surfaces themselves producing more pain. In the later stages, if there is pain at rest and during the night, as well as problems with mobility, then joint replacement surgery is appropriate.
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Dealing With Knee Arthritis At Home
Joint Replacement For Osteoarthritis
Prior to considering joint replacement surgery it is important that you have tried to optimise the management of your arthritis with none surgical treatment methods. the short video below discusses the importance of this.
Whether to go ahead with a joint replacement is a big decision. The NHS has developed a tool to help you explore the issues around this decision. This can be accessed here:
If you would like to discuss hip replacement with us please discuss an MSK referral with your GP.To fill in an Oxford knee Score to facilitate your assessment click here.
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What Is Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is inflammation and deterioration of knee joint cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery coating on the ends of bones that serves as a cushion and allows the knee to smoothly bend and straighten. Knee cartilage coats the end of the thighbone , top of the shinbone and the backside of the kneecap . When cartilage wears away, the space between the bones narrows. In advanced arthritis, bone rubs on bone and bone spurs may form.
Damage to the joint cartilage over time may result in the development or worsening of deformities of the knee, including knock knees and bowleg.
Describing Painful Symptoms To Your Doctor
To determine whether your pain is due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another type of arthritis, your doctor will ask you many questions about your pain, how it affects your life and body, when it occurs, and how bad it gets. Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10 .
Before you speak with your doctor, think about the words you want to use to describe your joint pain. Here are some terms that will help your doctor get the full picture. Choose the ones that best describe how your arthritis pain feels:
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What Is The Best Treatment For Arthritis
The American College of Rheumatologists has released guidelines for the best treatment for arthritis. These recommendations are based on a review of current evidence for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a form of joint disease referred to as wear and tear of the cartilage, but its a little bit more complicated than that. Other factors such as your weight, your genes, and exercise can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
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What Are The Types Of Arthritis
Arthritis most often affects areas in or around joints. Joints are parts of the body where bones meet such as your knee. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, a spongy material that acts as a shock absorber to keep bones from rubbing together. The joint is enclosed in a capsule called the synovium. The synoviums lining releases a slippery fluid that helps the joint move smoothly and easily. Muscles and tendons support the joint and help you move. Different types of arthritis can affect one or more parts of a joint. This often results in a change of shape and alignment in the joints.
Certain types of arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and internal organs. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. It is important to know which type of arthritis you have so you can treat it properly. If you dont know which type you have, call your doctor or ask during your next visit. Some common types of arthritis are described below.
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Whats New In Arthritis Research
Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctors office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.
Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.
Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.
Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.
Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse
Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.
If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.
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What Are The Parts Of A Joint
Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.
Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.
How Does Knee Arthritis Start
Knee arthritis is characterized by pain that gets worse with activity, and abates when the knee is at rest. The inflammation caused by the arthritis can feel warm to the touch.
The knee may feel stiff, especially after being immobile for a period of time, such as first thing in the morning. The pain and stiffness of arthritis may be intermittent at first and develop progressively, becoming chronic pain.
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What You Need To Know
- Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage in the joint wears down, making the knee stiff and painful with certain movements.
- Osteoarthritis gradual, age-related degeneration of cartilage is the most common form of arthritis in the knee, but trauma and autoimmune conditions can also lead to cartilage damage.
- The cartilage damage associated with arthritis is irreversible, but there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help reduce pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall quality of life for people with knee arthritis.
What The Researchers Say
Dr Upasana Upadhyay Bharadwaj, a research fellow in the Department of Radiology at University of California, San Francisco, said:
This is the first direct comparison of corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections using the semi-quantitative, whole organ assessment of the knee with MRI.
While both corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections are reported to help with symptomatic pain relief for knee osteoarthritis, our results conclusively show that corticosteroids are associated with significant progression of knee osteoarthritis up to two years post-injection and must be administered with caution.
Dr Bharadwaj added: Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, may slow down progression of knee osteoarthritis and alleviate long-term effects while offering symptomatic relief.
The second study was by the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.
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What Is The Knee Joint
Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:
A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.
Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint
Heating Pads Or Cold Packs
Heat can be very soothing and is a readily available solution when having an arthritis flare. Heat penetrates the muscles and tissues, stimulates blood circulation, and can diminish the sensation of pain. When there is swelling around a joint, cold packs may produce more relief by decreasing inflammation.
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How Walking Helps Knees
The simple act of walking can have a wide range of benefits on your arthritic joints, many of which can help to decrease your pain. On top of that, getting up and moving each day can combat the joint stiffness and soreness that is associated with inactivity. The sections below detail the specific benefits that going for a walk can have on a knee with arthritis.
Verywell / Gary Ferster
- repetitive movements associated with an occupation.
- genetics the genes you inherit can play a role in the development of osteoarthritis
- gender women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis
How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:
X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
Computed tomography scan . This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube , which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patients bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
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