Do I Really Need To See A Doctor If I Have Basic Joint Pain
The downside to the basic symptoms is that its easy to ignore them by relying on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. That approach means you could wait until youre too far down the road with your osteoarthritis to where significant damage has occurred in your joints before you begin treatment. Because if you leave them untreated long enough, those minor symptoms could grow to include more serious ones like enlargement of the bones where the cartilage has worn away, joint deformity like bow legs, or knock-knees.
In short, you cant directly tell as a layperson whether or not you have osteoarthritis, but you can pay attention to the symptoms. Thats why its important to have a trained physician address anything even remotely approaching the symptoms of osteoarthritis as soon as they appear.
Specifically, you want to see a specialist who treats arthritis exclusively. These doctors will employ x-ray imaging or an MRI machine to gain a closer look at your joints especially if you visit before the more serious symptoms develop to determine if osteoarthritis is your actual diagnosis. Because not only is it important to have your symptoms addressed by a qualified professional, but you need to be informed as soon possible so you can better understand all your treatment options.
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What Are The Treatment Options For Knee Arthritis
Nonsurgical treatment is typically the first line of defense in treating knee arthritis. Your physician may recommend an array of options including:
- Minimizing activities that aggravate the pain
- Replacing high-impact activities with low-impact activities
- Losing weight to reduce stress on the knee
- Physical therapy to increase strength, range of motion, and flexibility
- Helpful devices such as a cane, shock-absorbing shoes or a knee brace
- Applying heat, ice, or pain-relieving creams
Certain medications can be effective in treating the symptoms associated with knee arthritis including over-the-counter, non-narcotic pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroid injections.
It is important to explore all non-surgical options before considering surgery, including injections, pain medication, physical therapy, and exercise. However, many patients will need surgery to treat knee arthritis, and for some patients, that involves a total knee arthroplasty .
Studies confirm that patients spend an average of thirteen years exhausting pain-relieving drugs before undergoing surgery. In the latter phases of osteoarthritis, total knee arthroplasty is often necessary to deal with the deterioration of the joint and the debilitating symptoms that severely hamper daily function.
Possible Reasons I Can’t Be Eligible For Knee Replacement
After the knee surgery, your knee joint will become heavy as the surgeons have installed a prosthetic joint between the bones. If you have weak leg muscles due to malnutrition or muscle disease, you are not eligible for knee replacement. A person with poorly managed diabetes is also not eligible for this surgery because his body will not heal the wounds efficiently. People with diabetes try to avoid any injury including the surgical incidence because the repair time is high. They may have to wait years to recover from the wound. If there are some ulcers near the knee joint, the surgeon may not recommend this surgery. The condition can become wear if you have chronic ulcers behind the knee joint. These ulcers will prevent recovery of the surgical incision. The knee replacement will not improve your condition in case of ulcers because the mobility issue and pain will not go away.
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A Closer Look At Your Knee
Your knee is a powerful hinge joint designed to perform a wide variety of tasks. Some of the most important jobs your knee does on a daily basis include:
- Supporting your body weight without the need for muscles
- Allowing for twisting of your leg
- Providing stability
- Propelling your body forward
- Making walking easy
To carry out these tasks, your knee relies on a complex network of bones, tendons, and ligaments working together with lubricating and cushioning substances, such as joint capsules, bursae, and cartilage.;
With so much responsibility and so many structures coming together at one point, its easy to understand why its so vulnerable to injury and disease. Athletes have seen professional careers ended with a ligament tear, and some have had to hang up their running shoes thanks to overuse injuries.;
Many others see their daily lives changed as a result of the leading cause of knee pain: arthritis.
Have You Had The Following Laboratory Tests Performed To Assess The Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Factor . Is it positive or negative?
- Anti-citrullinated protein antibody . Is it positive or negative?
- Are the markers of inflammation, ESR and/or CRP in the blood elevated?;
The classification criteria used worldwide to help in classifying an arthritis as RA is the 2010 ACR/EULAR Classification Criteria.
I present this here to help you screen for rheumatoid & to help determine the likelihood of having RA.;
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What Osteoarthritis Pain Feels Like
Pain is pain, right? It just plain hurts. But for your doctor to figure out whether your joint pain stems from osteoarthritis, which develops as cartilage wears away, youll need to be specific about when the pain occurs, how bad it is, and the ways it’s affecting you.
Here are some common;signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis;that may help you identify and better describe your pain to your doctor:
- Pain that aches deep into the joint
- Pain that feels better with rest
- Pain that isn’t noticeable in the morning but gets worse throughout the day
- Pain that radiates into your buttocks, thighs, or groin
- Joint pain that affects your posture and gait and may cause limping
- Pain that occurs after using the joint
- Swelling in the joint
- Not being able to move the joint as much as usual
- Feeling a sensation of bones grating or catching on something when moving the joint
- Pain during certain activities, like standing from a seated position or using stairs
- Pain that interferes with work, daily activities, and exercise
- Joint stiffness first thing in the morning that improves with time
- Stiffness after resting the joint
The Pain Gets Worse Over Time
Unlike immediate knee soreness you might get if you injure the joint, arthritis pain typically comes on gradually, says Dr. Colvin. At first, you might only feel it first thing in the morning, or after you get up from sitting at your desk for a few hours. Over time, the ache may become more frequent. You might notice it when youre climbing stairs or if you kneel for too long. Some people even find the pain wakes them up at night, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
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Turn To Knee Arthroscopy To Fight Arthritis
Arthritis affects millions of Americans, especially the older population. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking medical help early can improve the quality of life. In severe cases, knee arthroscopy can give both doctor and patient a clearer picture of the damage. Speak with a doctor about the possibility of knee arthroscopy today.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Osteoarthritis
With any illness, its important that you find ways to tell if youre in the beginning stages so you can start treating it properly, as you dont want to lower your quality of life. Fortunately, your body tends to let you know through subtle symptoms that something could be wrong, and this definitely includes osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of this ailment are quite physical in nature, and they all start in the joints, including:
In fact, you can get osteoarthritis in any joint in your body, though it occurs most frequently in the following areas:
- Lower Back
Its important to listen to what your body is telling you instead of powering through what you think could just be minor joint pain because youre getting slightly older.
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Common Causes Of Knee Arthritis
Arthritis, more specifically osteoarthritis, is a common degenerative condition that impacts the cushioning substance cartilage in your knee joint. As the cartilage wears away, the bones in your knee rub against each other painfully.;
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 32 million people in the US, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas.
Virtually anyone can develop osteoarthritis in their knee, but it typically stems from factors and conditions including:
- Certain sports and activity
- Other illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis
Arthritis can lead to significant, permanent joint damage if not treated quickly. Thats why its important to catch the warning signs of arthritis early. Here are four common signs of knee arthritis.;
What Kinds Of Arthritis Can Occur In The Knee
In the case of knee pain, one of the most common culprits is arthritis. There are three types of arthritis that can occur in the knee, and it is not unheard for patients to have multiple arthritic conditions present at the same time. The three kinds of arthritis that often develop in the knees include:
- Osteoarthritis : A slow-acting, progressive wear-and-tear process that deteriorates joint cartilage. Middle-aged and older patients are the most likely group to develop OA.
- Rheumatoid arthritis : RA can occur at any age. This inflammatory process can be marked by painful swelling in the joints.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Patients who have a significant knee injury, such as a fracture, torn ligament, or torn meniscus, may develop post-traumatic arthritis. This can occur many years after the injury itself.
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Youve Put On A Few Pounds
As the scale creeps up, you put more pressure on your jointsespecially your knees. In fact, every pound of weight you gain adds three to four pounds of extra weight on your knees, reports WebMD. And a 2016 study found that obesity made it nearly five times more likely a person would develop knee osteoarthritis compared to people at a healthy weight. The good news? You dont have to lose a lot of weight to see a big difference in pain. A separate study from the University of California at San Francisco found that overweight and obese individuals who lost just 5 percent of their body weight saw significant declines in cartilage degeneration. Looking for other ways to protect your joints from arthritis? Try these 12 easy ways to reduce your risksome are as easy as having a cup of tea.
Home Remedies And Medical Options
- physical activity, including tai chi, walking, cycling, and water exercise
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin, to reduce pain and inflammation
- tramadol, available on prescription for more severe pain
- corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
- other medications, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for RA but not OA
- applying heat and cold pads to relieve pain and swelling
- topical creams, such as capsaicin
- using a cane or walker to help you balance
- attending cognitive behavioral therapy
Experts say that people who play an active role in managing OA, for example, are likely to see a more positive outcome. Learning about arthritis, becoming aware of what makes symptoms better or worse, and making decisions with your doctor are ways of doing this.
Discover exercises to strengthen the knee muscles.
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Limited Mobility Or Range Of Motion
For men and women who develop arthritis in their knees, activities that were once simple, easy, or routine may become difficult or even impossible to do without limitations and discomfort. Walking, running, or getting in and out of a car can, oftentimes, prove disproportionately challenging for patients with arthritis of the knee. The damage and loss of cartilage associated with arthritis are usually to blame for this phenomenon.
What Other Types Of Knee Exercises Work Best
Walking is an excellent form of exercise. Its low-impact, and because its a weight-bearing exercise, it helps strengthen muscles and build bone. Wear good, sturdy shoes. Start out slow, and gradually increase your pace and distance for best results.
Water exercises or walking in the shallow end of a pool are also great for muscle strength and knee flexibility. Because the body is buoyant in water, it lessens impact to near zero as it makes you work a little harder to move.
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You Have More Knee Pain When It Rains
Many arthritis sufferers claim they can predict wet weather by the level of pain in their joints. In one study, 67.9 percent of the people surveyed responded that they were sure changes in the weather had an effect on their pain, with most people saying they noticed the change before rain or cold weather. Researchers arent sure if theres a legitimate connection, but it might be possible that changes in atmospheric pressure could have an effect, says Dr. Colvin.
Your Knees Creak Or Grind
You go to do a down dog in yoga and your knee creaks so loudly that the person on the next mat can hear it. Awkwardand painful. Grinding sounds may be the result of exposed bones rubbing against each other; popping sounds are more likely caused by fluid moving around in the joint, says Alexis Colvin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at The Mount Sinai Hospital. If youre familiar with those sounds but dont have any pain or other signs of arthritis, you should still listen up and take these easy steps to protect your knee joints, because having noisy knee joints might be a major predictor of arthritis down the road, according to researchers from Baylor College of Medicine.
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Knee
OA is the most common type. It is a progressive condition in which the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. It usually appears after midlife.
RA is an inflammatory condition that can occur at any age. It affects the whole body and can involve other joints and additional symptoms. It is an autoimmune disease.
Arthritis can also develop after a knee injury. Post-traumatic arthritis can result from a torn meniscus, ligament injury, or knee fracture. Symptoms can appear several years later.
OA and RA can cause similar symptoms, but there are also some key differences. Learn more here about how to recognize each type.
Is It Possible To Prevent Knee Bursitis
To the extent that the bursitis is caused by injury or athletic activity, it can be prevented by avoiding reinjury to the bursa and adjacent tissues.
Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.
Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.
Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.
If youre looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.
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Why Knees Deteriorate
Your knees usually begin to deteriorate because of:
- Your age: The most common types of arthritis to cause knee deterioration and pain in aged knees include osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis , gout , and septic arthritis .
- An injury: Overuse and unexpected twists from sports and activities cause deterioration. These injuries include ACL tears, fractures, torn meniscus, bursitis and tendinitis.
- A malfunction: Genetics and age can cause parts of your knee to function poorly. Your kneecap could slip out of place. A piece of bone or cartilage can break off and float in the joint space. Tissue around your hip or knee can tighten and rub against bone, resulting in pain.
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.
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