Symptoms And Treatments For Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of musculoskeletal pain and disorder. Our knee is one of the most used joint in the whole body. Every single action of us will require the use of it. Like all well used joint, the knee requires constant lubrication of the joint. Have you ever experienced an old hinge that creaks when you use it? The remedy action taken by you would be to lubricate it with oil. The same theory applies to the knee as well. However, it is lubricated automatically with a fluid known as the synovial fluid. This is aided by the fact that the femur and tibia are covered with a smooth surface and a shock absorber known as the menisci. When these natural protective features are gone due to wear and tear or injuries, the knee will start to experience problems and one of it is osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is the experiencing of pain in the knee during periods of activity and inactivity. This is aggravated after long periods of rest such as upon waking up where the pain will be the most severe. Swelling might also is present in some patients. During simple activities such as walking, there may be a decrease in the mobility of the knee causing actions such as climbing over a low wall difficult to accomplish. In serious cases, creaking sounds may be heard from the knee.

Treatment

There are several treatment options for osteoarthritis classified mainly into surgical and nonsurgical means. Different patients will be assigned different forms due to factors such as the cost, age and health condition.

Nonsurgical treatment

The most effective way of nonsurgical treatment is weight loss and exercise. One of the contributing factors is excessive weight on the knee and this is amplified when you jump. By losing weight, you are lessening the load on the knees. Exercising the knee and strengthening it will increase the load bearing capabilities of the knee. Doctors will also prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. In serious cases, corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid may be injected directly into the knee to reduce inflammation and provide lubrication to the joint.

Surgical treatment

Chondroplasty is a technique that smoothens the articulate cartilage. A smooth surface will help to reduce friction and reduce pain and swelling.  This is often done in conjunction with hyaluronic acid injection, which provides lubrication to the joint.

Causes and Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Our knee joint is where the femur and tibia meets. This unique combination allows a wide range of motion for the knee under undisturbed conditions. However due to certain complications such as injuries, the surface of the knee joint is damaged and mobility is hindered as a result. There are basically 3 kinds of arthritis affecting the knee: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-trauma Arthritis. In this article, we will be looking at the causes and symptoms of knee arthritis.

Causes

We must first understand the differences between the 3 kinds of knee arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis and is a degenerative disease that is often accompanied by ageing. Due to wear and tear, the joint cartilage starts to wear off and this results in pain and inflammation when the knee joint rubs against each other. On the other hand, unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which our body’s immune system attacks the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis can happen to anyone from any age group. Last but not least is post-trauma arthritis which is essentially caused by direct trauma to the knee. This direct trauma causes damage to the cartilage and changes the joint mechanics, accelerating wear and tear.

Symptoms

Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something located somewhere in your body is wrong. Pain is due to the secretion of chemical signals to your brain which are then recognised as pain. Knee arthritis causes inflammation to the affected joint. This inflammation causes swelling and damages the surrounding soft tissues. In an attempt to reduce stresses on the injured part, the surrounding muscles will try to overload themselves but this will cause muscle soreness after a period of time, contributing to the pain experienced.

Crepitus

Crepitus is characterised by a creaking and grinding sensation when you attempt to move your injured joint.  This is due to cartilage wear down in the spaces between the knee joints. Crepitus can be painful or painless depending on individual conditions.

Knee giving way

Some patients may experience sensations of their knee giving way. This is due to the joint being unstable and the surrounding muscles being fatigued from having to take over the duties of the injured joint. Patients may require walking aids such as a walker or crutches and may use knee braces to stabilise and provide support to the knee joint.

There are various methods of managing arthritis ranging from oral supplements to surgery. However, these do not effectively heal the patient. Scientists are looking at cartilage transplants in the future which could lessen the amount of pain.