Arthritis in the knee is a common form of arthritis that has a significant impact on the quality of your life. The knee joint connects the thigh bone and the shin bone and contains a cartilage to prevent friction between the bones and to facilitate a normal range of motion. This range of motion is essential for walking.
How Does Arthritis in the Knee Occur?
Arthritis in the knee is degenerative or ‘wear and tear’ disorder, where the knee cartilage is gradually worn away over a period of time, exposing the bones within the joints. With no or very thin cartilage, the resulting friction between the bones causes intense pain during movement. Also the range of motion of the joint is compromised, further limiting your ability to walk. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee and normally affects people over 50. Athletes whose knees are constantly exposed to intense wear and tear may also experience osteoarthritis of the knee.
Arthritis in the Knee Symptoms
Symptoms include knee pain that may begin as a dull ache that progressively increases, becoming worse after exercise. As the arthritis in the knee progresses, you experience swelling of the knee and stiffness, particularly in the morning and after a period of inactivity. The stiffness and swelling make it difficult to bend or straighten the knee, resulting in intense pain during walking or climbing stairs. You may experience weakness of the knee and associated clicking noises while moving the knee.
Arthritis in the Knee Treatment
Arthritis in the knee treatment is aimed at relieving pain and improving the knee movement. Non surgical options include weight loss to reduce the pressure on the knee and life style modification to include activities that are less stressful for the knee. For instance, switch from jogging to walking and take elevators instead of stairs. Exercises that strengthen the muscles and which improve the range of motion are also beneficial to treat arthritis in the knee. Knee support aids like knee caps, knee braces and walking sticks also help.
Medical treatment includes NSAIDs that relieve pain and inflammation. For severe swelling and inflammation, steroids are injected directly into the joint. Glucosamine supplements have been found to have a role in repairing worn out cartilage and can help in arthritis in the knee. Inflammation and swelling can be reduced by use of treatments such as Provailen.
Arthritis in Knee Surgery
Surgery is recommended in cases where arthritis in the knee is extremely severe. Surgical options include clearing cartilage debris in the area, grafting of cartilage tissue to facilitate regrowth and procedures to improve alignment of the knee joint with respect to the shin and thigh bones. A more complicated surgical option for arthritis in the knee is partial or complete knee replacement in cases of extreme damage to the cartilage.