Our Orthopaedic Doctors Are Here To Help
Despite well-intended prevention efforts, sports injuries, joint pain in the;back, knee, hip,;spine;and other parts of the body can occur. If you find yourself in need of expert orthopaedic care, were here to help.
Cary Orthopaedics provides comprehensive orthopaedic care. We have specialists for the treatment of all joints, as well as doctors who focus on joint replacements and spine care. We also offer the latest methods of physical therapy and acupuncture.
Our locations in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville and Holly Springs are conveniently located to serve patients from across the Triangle.
The Importance Of Knee Arthritis Exercises
For most people, aerobic activity as a knee arthritis treatment is associated with less knee arthritis pain and less disability.;
Runners are particularly sad when diagnosed with knee arthritis.; Running has not been shown to cause more advanced osteoarthritis. Even as far back as 1986 early studies on runners showed that their bone density increased and there were no signs of increasing osteoarthritis in male or female runners.; Like other aerobic forms of exercise. There are numerous health advantages to running.; For now, it appears very clear that the risk of not performing aerobic exercise is much higher than the risk of causing worsening arthritic pain.;;
Disclaimer:; this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links.;Read the full disclaimer.
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.
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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 .
Breath In Fragrant Spices
Pleasant aromas like lavender can alter the perception of pain, studies show. Japanese researchers found that lavender reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel relaxed and less aware of pain. But lavender isnt the only pleasant aroma that works as a natural home remedy for arthritis pain relief. Korean researchers found that arthritis patients experienced less pain and were less depressed when they were exposed to the aromas of a variety of kitchen spices, including marjoram, rosemary, and peppermint. For a pain-soothing aromatherapy treatment, add a teaspoon of one of these dried herbs to a quarter-cup of olive, coconut, or vegetable oil. Take a whiff periodically. Dont miss these other soothing;essential oils for arthritis pain relief.
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But You Can Try Chair Yoga
According to a recent research carried out at the Florida Atlantic University shows that chair yoga is effective alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
See a yoga instructor to find out the best kind of yoga for your knee.
Almost everyone can benefit from yoga, even people with tender, swollen joints.
Protection Rest Ice Compression And Elevation
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help treat mild knee pain that results from a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain.
Protection refers to protecting the knee from further injury, for example, by taking a break from the activity that caused it.
Rest can reduce the risk of further injury and give tissues time to heal. However, stopping all movement is not advisable, as this can lead to stiffness and, in time, muscle weakness.
Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It should be wrapped in a cloth and applied for 20 minutes several times on the first day of injury. Never put ice directly the skin, as this can lead to further damage.
Compression with a knee support, for example, can increase comfort levels. The support or bandage should be firm but not tight.
Elevation, or keeping the leg raised, will encourage circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the level of the heart.
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How Will It Affect Me
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you will probably feel your knee is painful and stiff at times. It may only affect one knee, especially if youve injured it in the past, or you could have it in both. The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your knee, and it may improve when you rest. You might have some stiffness in the morning, but this wont usually last more than half an hour.
The pain can be felt all around your knee, or just in a certain place such as the front and sides. It might feel worse after moving your knee in a particular way, such as going up or down stairs.
Sometimes, people have pain that wakes them up in the night. Youll probably find that the pain varies and that you have good and bad days.
You might find you cant move your knee as easily or as far as normal, or it might creak or crunch as you move it.
Sometimes your knee might look swollen. This can be caused by two things:
- Hard swelling: when the bone at the edge of the joint grows outwards, forming bony spurs, called osteophytes .
- Soft swelling: when your joint becomes inflamed and produces extra fluid, sometimes called an effusion or water on the knee.
Sometimes osteoarthritis of the knee can cause the muscles in the thighs to weaken, so your leg may look thinner. This weakness can make the joint feel unstable and could cause the knee to give way when you put weight on it.
Wrist Hand Or Finger Splints
If youre going through a bad arthritis flare-up, using resting splints can help quiet the active inflammation and give you some relief, Dr. Osterman says. These are devices, usually made of plastic and secured with velcro, that temporarily immobilize the joint, which allows it time to rest, he explains.
Im only 22, but some of my fingers are already severely bent and fused from having juvenile arthritis. Splints are helpful for the pain and for helping keep them straight so hopefully they dont bend more, says rheumatoid arthritis patient Emma A., from Melbourne, Australia. My favorites are ring splints since they look like jewelry instead of a medical brace.
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Supplements For Those With Mild Pain
The evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin is mixed, but they are safe. So it might be worth trying. However, people with a shellfish allergy may not be able to tolerate them. Any effect wont kick in right away. Dr. Day recommends trying it for six to eight weeks. If you notice improvement, great; if not, then stop it, she says.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence for its usefulness for painful knee arthritis. You can add turmeric to your food or take it as a supplement. It can thin blood, so people who take a blood thinning medication should not use turmeric.
How Does Exercise Improve Knee Pain Due To Arthritis
The answer to this is much more complicated than you may think.; We feel pain in our joints for many reasons.; Osteoarthritis of the knee is an inflammatory process. We have proteins and chemicals in our knee joint that our body produces.; There are many of these chemicals.;
In sedentary individuals who have the fluid in their knee tested and compared to those of us who are active, we start to see significant differences in the make-up of the chemical milieu that is in our knee joint.; For example IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory that our own body manufactures inside our knee joint.; After exercise, either resistance exercise or aerobic exercise, the concentration of IL-10 increases.;
The concentration of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory mediator, increases with sedentary behavior.; For those of you who have arthritis, you knew this already. You know how the first few steps you take in the mornings are tough, youre stiff, and your knee joint hurts.; Well, you have been sedentary, so pro-inflammatory mediators have built up. Now you start walking, and your joints begin to loosen up and feel better.; Thats because your anti-inflammatory mediators are beginning to be manufactured.;;
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Deformities Of The Knee
The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.
In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.
With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.
Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.
Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.
Garlic And Root Vegetables
Garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties. Various studies have shown that these pungent root vegetables can be useful in treating symptoms of arthritis and other joint pain. Incorporate these vegetables into meals for added flavor. Plus, theyre all available in a supplement.
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Different Types Of Arthritis
The knee is the joint where the bones of the lower and upper legs connect. It moves like a hinge, allowing you to sit, squat, walk or jump. The basic anatomy of the knee consists of three bones: the femur, tibia, and patella. The ends of the bones are covered with a layer of cartilage – a slick, elastic material that absorbs shock and allows the bones to glide easily against one another as they move. Different types of arthritis affect this joint differently.
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Walk
For countless men and women across the country, knee pain is a daily struggle. In fact, knee pain can be so severe that some patients are unable to continue working. There are several possible causes and risk factors for chronic knee pain, including:
Without a doubt, one of the most common causes of knee pain is arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis in the knee may have either rheumatoid arthritis a condition developing in the joints lining or osteoarthritis, which is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage. While RA may occur at any point in a persons life, osteoarthritis is much more common and affects the vast majority of patients suffering from knee arthritis.
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How Much Can I Walk With Knee Arthritis
Consistency and moderation are important when it comes to walking with arthritis in the knee. To begin with, patients are encouraged to do about 1015 minutes of light walking per day and eventually work their way up to 30 minutes per day. You can do one 30-minute walk or several shorter walks throughout the day. Follow these tips to ensure safety and comfort when walking with arthritis:
- Warm up: Lightly stretching and warming up the muscles is always a good idea before exercising. This helps prevent injury and is particularly beneficial for patients whose knees are stiff due to arthritis.
- Choose appropriate terrain: Make sure you choose an even walking surface, such as a track or mall, to avoid possible accidents or undue strain on the joints. While some doctors believe a very moderate incline is helpful for the knees, flat surfaces are just fine.
- Dont overdo it: Begin by walking short intervals at a moderate, comfortable pace. In the coming weeks, your body and joints will likely feel better and stronger, allowing you to increase the distance of your walks.
- Walk when your knees feel the best: While walking may help arthritis pain in the long term, it is important to try and walk when your joints are feeling their best. For example, if you wake up with stiff, painful knees, it may be best to wait until later in the day to begin your walk. Additionally, walking right after taking anti-inflammatory medications can help minimize any possible discomfort.
What Causes Knee Arthritis
Age is the most common cause of knee osteoarthritis, since the ability of cartilage to heal decreases as we get older. Most people will eventually develop some degree of arthritis.
The following factors increase the risk of developing significant arthritis at an earlier age:
- Excessive weight being overweight or obese increases pressure on all the joints, especially the knees
- Genetics some people are more likely to develop arthritis based on the shape of their bones around the knee
- Gender women who are 55 and older are more likely than men to develop arthritis of the knee
- Repetitive stress injuries people with jobs requiring a lot of kneeling, squatting, or lifting of heavy weights are at increased risk for knee arthritis
- Other illnesses people with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Other metabolic disorders also increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
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How Can I Prevent Knee Arthritis
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis in your knees. The less stress you put on your joints, the less likely they are to wear out prematurely. Try to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise to strengthen muscles around joints
- Use good posture
- Rest if joint pain starts to bother you
- Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react
When to seek treatment for your arthritis
Arthritis doesnt have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to;innovative joint replacement options.;Our;Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of a select few nationally to receive;The Joint Commissions;Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.
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.
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees and your doctor has recommended an osteotomy, you can watch a video about how an osteotomy works, including the risks and benefits of having this type of surgery, on The Health and Care Video Library.
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What Are The Surgical Treatment Options For Knee Arthritis
In the case of severe arthritis, surgery may be the best treatment option.
In this surgery, the physician will use a miniature video camera and tools to remove any loose cartilage. The result is a smooth joint surface free of loose tissue and minimal internal derangement that can cause irritation.
Arthroscopy can provide significant relief and allow the joint to flow freely through its range of motion. Arthroscopy can be effective in early arthritis and may be used to treat associated conditions that could lead to more severe osteoarthritis down the road, but is typically not effective in advanced osteoarthritis.
Total knee replacement
In advanced cases of arthritis, you may be a candidate for a total knee replacement. The techniques and prosthetics used in this surgery have made significant advances over the past decade. Patients who undergo a total knee replacement are living longer and getting more use out their new joints than ever before.
Learn more about total knee replacement.
Talk To Your Doctor About Knee Joint Injections
Knee joint injections should only be explored when more conservative treatments for knee pain have proven ineffective. Before the procedure, your doctor will inject a numbing agent to reduce pain, followed by a corticosteroid to decrease inflammation. They may also discuss options like PRP injections.
While injections may work to decrease pain, knee joint injections do not treat any underlying knee pain causes or halt progressive joint deterioration. Still, when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, physical therapy, and other lifestyle changes, they can provide profound relief. Learn more about this option in the following video.
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