When To See A Healthcare Provider
Rheumatoid arthritis can be scary, and not only because of the symptoms but because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Dont let this stop you from taking action if you suspect you have the disease.
The advantage of an early diagnosis is that it allows you early treatment. Simply put, the sooner you take disease-modifying medications, the better your long-term outlook is.
This is especially true if you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. Having a sibling or parent with rheumatoid arthritis nearly triples your risk of the disease, while having a second-degree relative doubles your risk.
Possible RA symptoms that warrant a trip to the healthcare provider include:
- Pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints
- Joints that are red or warm to the touch
- Regular joint stiffness in the morning
- Difficulty moving a joint or doing daily activities
- An episode of increased joint pain and stiffness lasting for more than three days
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Infectious And Reactive Arthritis
Infectious arthritis is an infection in one of your joints that causes pain or swelling. The infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. It can start in another part of your body and spread to your joints. This kind of arthritis is often accompanied by a fever and chills.
Reactive arthritis can occur when an infection in one part of your body triggers immune system dysfunction and inflammation in a joint elsewhere in your body. The infection often occurs in your gastrointestinal tract, bladder, or sexual organs.
To diagnose these conditions, your doctor can order tests on samples of your blood, urine, and fluid from inside an affected joint.
The fingers are most commonly affected with psoriatic arthritis , but this painful condition affects other joints as well. Pink-colored fingers that appear sausage-like, and pitting of the fingernails, may also occur.
The disease may also progress to your spine, causing damage similar to that of ankylosing spondylitis.
If you have psoriasis, theres a chance you could also develop PsA.
What Are The Treatments For Arthritic Knee Pain
After determining that your knee pain is, in fact, caused by arthritis, Dr. Williams and the caring staff at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta will recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help you as quickly and reliably as possible. Some of the most widely known and used treatments for arthritis and arthritic knee pain include:
- Knee injections
- Physical therapy
In addition to these methods, Dr. Williams is proud to offer the breakthrough Regenexx family of nonsurgical treatments, which are designed to use a patients own stem cells to treat common and degenerative conditions without the need for going under the knife. While there are certainly some cases in which surgery may be unavoidable, Regenexx treatment has proven to be highly beneficial for chronic pain relief caused by a large number of conditions.
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What Makes Me Susceptible To Arthritis Of The Knee
Inherited bone structure or genetic mutations can contribute to the development of knee arthritis, as well as repetitive injury from a profession or sports. Age-related arthritis becomes common after 45 years of age.
Weight is also a factor, since the knee bears much of the bodys weight. The constant pounding pressure that is placed on the knee when walking, which becomes greater with more weight, causes the cartilage in the joint to break down over time. When the cartilage disintegrates, bone-on-bone scraping occurs whenever you move your leg.
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What Are The Less Common Forms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can begin in less common forms. For example, it can begin with the involvement of only a single joint or a few joints. Sometimes, this can later evolve to the more common presentation of many joints on both sides of the body.
- Rarely, the earliest symptom of rheumatoid disease is inflammation of a body area that does not even involve a joint. For example, the lining of the lungs can become inflamed to cause pleurisy many months before arthritis develops.
- Occasionally, only a few joints are involved and the doctor may suspect another type of inflammatory arthritis. Again, this can sometimes only later evolve to become the more typical symmetrical polyarthritis by including many joints on both sides of the body.
- The caveat is that by recognizing the early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis rheumatologists and their patients can address the disease early, thereby affording optimal outcomes for those affected.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Arthritis In The Knees
Arthritis is a disease characterized by pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Notably, arthritis can affect various joints in your body although the knees are the most common culprit. Although there is no cure for knee arthritis, its essential to see an orthopedic knee surgeon to help slow the progression of this condition.
There are two common types of knee arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis .
OA is a progressive condition and usually occurs after midlife. This is due to the gradual wearing of the cartilage in the knee joint. You can also get post-traumatic arthritis which develops after a knee injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that can appear at any age.
Keep reading to learn about some early signs of knee-related arthritis:
Gradual Increase in Pain
Arthritis pain typically starts slow though it can appear suddenly in rare cases. During the early stages, you might experience pain in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. For instance, your knee might hurt when you suddenly stand up from a sitting position.
In the case of RA, you might experience pain in the smaller joints usually on both sides of the body. These symptoms might worsen during cold weather or after excessive activity.
Another early sign of arthritis is hearing a popping sound when you bend or straighten your knee. Your orthopedic knee surgeon may refer to the phenomenon as crepitus.
- Physical activity
These Knees Are On Fire
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. The condition is common in the knees however, arthritis can happen in different joints. There are several types with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid, and psoriatic arthritis the most common. The disease is caused by damage to the cartilage between the joints. This cartilage is a vital shock absorber between the bones. Cartilage gets damaged through wear-and-tear, causing osteoarthritis. Immune attacks can also damage cartilage as in rheumatoid arthritis. In different ways, the damaged cartilage presents symptoms to signal arthritis.
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How Does Arthritis Feel
Arthritis usually causes stiffness pain and fatigue. The severity varies from person to person and even from day to day. In some people only a few joints are affected and the impact may be small. In other people the entire body system may be affected.
The joints of the body are the site of much of the action in arthritis. Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness.
When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition. While normal joints can support a vast amount of use, mechanical abnormalities of a joint make it susceptible to degeneration.
It is healthy for you to keep active and move your joints. If you do not move a joint regularly, the muscles around it weaken and/or become tight. The joint can stiffen or even freeze. When you do try to move the joint and muscles hurt because they have been still for so long.
Arthritis can make it hard to do the movements you rely on every day for work or taking care of your family.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:
- Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
- Difficulty walking.
- Joint pain that changes depending on the weather.
- Joint stiffness.
- Knee joint pain that progresses slowly or pain that happens suddenly.
- Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.
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Its Not Surprising That You Can Feel Arthritis In Your Feet: The Disease Predominantly Affects Your Joints And Your Foot Contains More Than 30 Of Them
If you live with arthritis, chances are you feel the painful effects in your feet. Feet are tremendously affected by arthritis, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor for CreakyJoints.
Indeed, osteoarthritis , the most common type of arthritis, affects the feet of one in six people over the age of 50. With rheumatoid arthritis , the most common type of inflammatory autoimmune arthritis, more than 90 percent of patients develop symptoms in the foot and ankle over the course of the disease. In about 20 percent of RA cases, foot and ankle symptoms are even among the first signs of the disease.
Its not surprising that you can feel arthritis in your feet: The disease predominantly affects your joints, and your foot contains more than 30 joints.
What Is Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure thats useful for checking and treating joint problems. The method is quick and minimally invasive. The procedure starts with the doctor making a small incision by the knee. The surgeon then inserts a device with a high-powered camera attached. This gives a clear view of the knee and surrounding cartilage. This helps confirm if the cartilage or surrounding tissue has worn away or become damaged. At this point, the doctor can insert other tools through another incision to start repairing the damage.
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Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Causes And Symptoms
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis its hallmark symptom is prolonged stiffness and achiness in the morning after waking up. RA also tends to be symmetrical, meaning youll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, its caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. Osteoarthritis is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
How Do You Know If You Have Arthritis
The best way to know if you have arthritis is to go for a medical check-up. You can ask your doctor to carry out some examinations that will determine that. However, if you have a busy schedule, you can always focus more on the symptoms that we have highlighted here. Some of the most common ones include:
- Pain around the knee
- Lack of full-range in motion
You can always keep a keen eye on the loss of appetite too.
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Knee Osteoarthritis High Risk Groups
Generally, patients with knee osteoarthritis tend to be aged 50 and above, with females more prone to the condition than males due to hormonal as well as musculoskeletal factors. Additionally, there is currently an emerging trend of patients experiencing knee osteoarthritis at younger ages than ever, which places them at risk of developing early onset osteoarthritis. The following groups fall into this category: patients who have previously suffered a knee injury patients who have an unhealthy diet that has resulted in them becoming overweight or obese, thus placing greater strain on the knee joint or patients with underlying conditions that cause arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, as these disorders gradually wear away at the joint surface until the knee becomes severely swollen and eventually seizes up altogether.
What Are The Symptoms Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include:
- pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest
- feeling of warmth in the joint
- stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while
- creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves
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When Should I See My Doctor
Check with your doctor or health professional if you feel pain in your joints or experience other symptoms of osteoarthritis. If you have any concerns about osteoarthritis, or other health issues, they can suggest ways to manage your arthritis and refer you to a specialist if needed.
Nonsurgical Treatment For Knee Arthritis
When a patient is ready to address their arthritis, treatment will first be approached from a nonsurgical standpoint. Our orthopedic doctors in Bend have a number of different nonsurgical options they will first discuss with their patients and have them try before considering surgical treatment options.
- Some of these nonsurgical recommendations could help slow the progression of arthritis in the knee:
- Minimize activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs.
- Switching from high-impact activities to lower impact activities will put less stress on your knee.
- Losing weight can reduce stress on the knee joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.
Other nonsurgical options to help ease arthritis pain:
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When Knee Pain May Mean Arthritis
Learn about the various causes of knee pain, including different kinds of arthritis.
If you are experiencing pain, swelling and stiffness in the knees, you may have one of the following types of arthritis or related conditions.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. Without the protective layer, the bones to rub together, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement in the joint. The knee is one of the joints most commonly affected by OA. In knee OA, you may feel a grating sensation when using the joint or a popping or crackling noise.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to mistakenly attacks the joints. The result can be joint damage, pain, swelling, inflammation and loss of function. RA commonly affects joints on both sides of the body. If one knee is affected, the other knee is likely affected as well.
Juvenile arthritis is the term used to describe types of arthritis that affect children age 16 years old or younger. There are several types of juvenile arthritis that cause knee pain and swelling.
Reactive arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis that often occurs following an infection of the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal system. Large joints are often affected, especially the shoulders, hips and knees.
What Are Treatments For Knee Arthritis
Though neither category of arthritis is curable, both kinds of knee arthritis can be managed well, particularly when caught early. Thats especially true for those with inflammatory arthritis.
We know a lot more about inflammatory arthritis than we do about OA, Dr. Domingues says. And we have drugs that target the root cause of inflammatory arthritis disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs which decrease inflammation, help preserve the joint, and ease pain. Biologics, a more targeted type of DMARD, may be recommended for those who dont get sufficient relief of knee pain and other symptoms from traditional DMARDs.
As for what to take for knee osteoarthritis, doctors often first recommend over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which are also sometimes used to alleviate the pain of inflammatory arthritis.
If those dont help your knee OA, steroid injections may be a good next step for managing knee joint pain, or your doctor might suggest hyaluronan injections, which provide some of the cushioning lost by cartilage breakdown in your knee joint.
But because OA is a degenerative disease, which means it will likely get worse over time, these options mostly buy you time before you may ultimately need a knee replacement, which is the definitive treatment for moderate-to-severe knee OA, Dr. Domingues says.
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Is Surgery Used To Treat Knee Osteoarthritis
If your doctor wants to treat the osteoarthritis in the knee with surgery, the options are arthroscopy, osteotomy, and arthroplasty.
- Arthroscopy uses a small telescope and other small instruments. The surgery is performed through small incisions. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to see into the joint space. Once there, the surgeon can remove damaged cartilage or loose particles, clean the bone surface, and repair other types of tissue if those damages are discovered. The procedure is often used on younger patients in order to delay more serious surgery.
- An osteotomy is a procedure that aims to make the knee alignment better by changing the shape of the bones. This type of surgery may be recommended if you have damage primarily in one area of the knee. It might also be recommended if you have broken your knee and it has not healed well. An osteotomy is not permanent, and further surgery may be necessary later on.
- Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which joints are replaced with artificial parts made from metals or plastic. The replacement could involve one side of the knee or the entire knee. Joint replacement surgery is usually reserved for people over age 50 with severe osteoarthritis. The surgery may need to be repeated later if the prosthetic joint wears out after several years. But with today’s modern advancements, most new joints will last over 20 years. The surgery has risks, but the results are generally very good.