Arthritis of knee

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What is arthritis in the knee?

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative, "wear-and-tear" type of arthritis that occurs most often in people over 50. Although there is no cure for arthritis, many treatment options are available to help manage pain and keep people active.

 

What is the risk factor for knee arthritis?

There are multiple risk factors for knee arthritis. Here are some common examples: 

  • Excess weight. Being overweight or obese can stress joints such as the knees over time.

  • Injury or overuse. Severe damage to a joint, such as the knee, can lead to osteoarthritis. Injury may also result from overuse or misuse over time.

 

Symptoms of arthritis of knees

The severity of symptoms varies significantly from patient to patient. For some patients, symptoms are not constant and may come and go. Symptoms of knee arthritis may include:

  • Joint pain

  • Joint swelling or redness

  • Joint stiffness, especially after sleep or inactivity

  • Reduction in range of motion in the knees.

  • When the cartilage wears away, you may experience a grinding or clicking feeling of the joint when moved.

 

When should I seek medical help?

There are circumstances when knee pain might be caused or accompanied by severe issues. If such symptoms are present, it is best to seek immediate medical attention to avoid further complications:

  • A very painful knee that stops you from doing normal daily activities.

  • Unable to bear any weight

  • Badly swollen knees or deformed knees

  • Redness, high temperature, and knee swelling may indicate an infection in your knee.

 

Diagnosis

To diagnose knee arthritis, your doctor will take your case history and past medical history into account. They will then perform a physical examination. They will be looking for the appearance of the joint, any swelling or increase in the temperature, deformity, crepitus and the joint's range of motion. They will look out for any gait problems as well.

 

Imaging such as X-ray is also helpful for the diagnosis of knee arthritis. An X-ray of an arthritic knee shows narrowing of the joint space and the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes).

 

Treatment

There is no cure for arthritis, but several treatments may help relieve the pain and disability it can cause.

  • Exercise. Regular stretching and strengthening exercises may help reduce pain and other symptoms.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on the knee joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.

  • Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may recommend a steroid injection into the joint to minimise symptoms immediately.

  • Physical therapy. Therapists can help you regain strength, mobility and range of motion in your knees.

 

Your doctor may recommend surgery if your pain from arthritis causes disability and is not relieved with nonsurgical treatment. Surgical procedures range from cartilage grafting to knee replacement. Your doctor will discuss the option that suits you best.

 

Prevention of arthritis in the knee

Arthritis is hard to prevent. However, you can take some precautions below: 

  • Exercise. Avoid exercise that strains your joints, such as excessive running. Instead, try activities such as swimming and cycling as well as strength and flexibility exercises.

  • Posture. Maintaining good posture and avoiding staying in the same position for too long can prevent the wearing of the joints. If you work at a desk, ensure your chair is at the correct height, and take regular breaks to move around and stretch.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases the pressure on your joints and your risk of developing osteoarthritis.