How Can I Manage Oa And Improve My Quality Of Life
CDCs Arthritis Program recommends five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.
- Learn self-management skills. Join a self-management education class, which helps people with arthritis and other chronic conditionsincluding OAunderstand how arthritis affects their lives and increase their confidence in controlling their symptoms and living well. Learn more about the CDC-recommended self-management education programs.
- Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults engage in 150 minutes per week of at least moderate physical activity. Every minute of activity counts, and any activity is better than none. Moderate, low impact activities recommended include walking, swimming, or biking. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Learn more about physical activity for arthritis.
- Go to effective physical activity programs. For people who worry that physical activity may make OA worse or are unsure how to exercise safely, participation in physical activity programs can help reduce pain and disability related to arthritis and improve mood and the ability to move. Classes take place at local Ys, parks, and community centers. These classes can help people with OA feel better. Learn more about CDC-recommended physical activity programs.
How Is Oa Treated
There is no cure for OA, so doctors usually treat OA symptoms with a combination of therapies, which may include the following:
- Increasing physical activity
- Medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs
- Supportive devices such as crutches or canes
In addition to these treatments, people can gain confidence in managing their OA with self-management strategies. These strategies help reduce pain and disability so people with osteoarthritis can pursue the activities that are important to them. These five simple and effective arthritis management strategies can help.
Physical Activity for Arthritis
Some people are concerned that physical activity will make their arthritis worse, but joint-friendly physical activity can actually improve arthritis pain, function, and quality of life.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
You should make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain, swelling, or stiffness in more than one joint at a time
- Joint tenderness or pain that lasts for more than three days
- Joints that are red or feel hot to the touch
- Joint pain or weakness that leads to buckling or locking
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Injections Are Another Low
If other strategies dont provide enough relief, injection therapy is an option with low risk.
A corticosteroid injection involves delivering this anti-inflammatory drug directly to the knee. The benefits are typically short lived. But it varies from person to person. I tell my patients the pain relief can last anywhere from a week to a year, says Dr. Day. One cautionary note with corticosteroids is the potential to increase blood sugar, which is a concern for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
For a possibly longer lasting effect, an injection of hyaluronic acid can be tried. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that healthy joints have a lot of and arthritic knees dont, says Dr. Day. It takes longer to start working than a corticosteroid injection, but the effect often lasts six months to a year.
Two other injection therapies are platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, neither of which is covered by insurance. PRP involves drawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and injecting part of it into the knee. Theres currently more science backing up the effect of PRP than stem cells, says Dr. Day.
If youre not able to get your symptoms under control with a combination of these measures, she says, it could be time to talk to your doctor about surgery.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
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Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
Treatment If Arthritis Gets Worse
If the pain and stiffness from arthritis don’t get better or they get worse, your doctor may recommend:
If your pain is very bad, you may decide to have surgery to replace the joint. Or you may decide to have some other kind of surgery that can help keep your joints moving well and prevent your arthritis from getting worse.
Some types of surgery include:
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Are There Benefits Of Walking With Knee Pain
It may seem counterintuitive to increase your activity level when you have chronic knee pain or arthritis, but walking can actually provide a number of benefits, including:
- Lubricating the joints
- Increasing blood flow to the tissues
- Building muscle strength to support the knee
Before beginning or resuming any fitness routine, it is essential that you obtain clearance from your physician to ensure the health and safety of your joints. Walking is a fantastic option for many patients with knee arthritis because it is a low-impact activity that does not put undue stress on the joints. Furthermore, walking can increase the knees range of motion and keep it from becoming overly stiff.
The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
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Who Gets Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While it can occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.
Change How You Do Things
- Protect your joints. There are some things that you can do to protect your joints. For example:
- Try not to do tasks that cause pain or swelling in joints.
- Use the largest joints or strongest muscles to do things. For example, when you lift a heavy object off the floor, use your hip and knee muscles, not your back. Or when you carry a bag of groceries, use the palm of your hand or your forearm instead of grasping it with your fingers.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Diagnosed
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will also take your medical history and note any symptoms. Make sure to note what makes the pain worse or better to help your doctor determine if osteoarthritis, or something else, may be causing your pain. Also find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. Your doctor may order additional testing, including:
- X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
- magnetic resonance imaging scans
MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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The Most Important Piece Of The Puzzle
If youre overweight or obese, the most effective treatment is weight loss. This isnt surprising. Every extra pound of weight adds two to four pounds of excess pressure on your knees.
Losing weight is probably the most difficult part of the treatment puzzle, but its also the most important, says Dr. Day.
A weight loss program should include both diet and exercise. Some people have difficulty exercising to lose weight because their knees hurt. But any type of exercise can help, even strengthening the upper body.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Osteoarthritis
Researchers suspect that osteoarthritis is caused by a combination of factors in the body and the environment. The chance of developing osteoarthritis increases with age.
Putting too much stress on a joint that has been previously injured, improper alignment of joints, and excess weight all may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Some people with osteoarthritis try complementary or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy and find them helpful.
However, there’s a lack of medical evidence to suggest they’re effective and they generally are not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .
How Much Can I Walk With Knee Arthritis
Consistency and moderation are important when it comes to walking with arthritis in the knee. To begin with, patients are encouraged to do about 1015 minutes of light walking per day and eventually work their way up to 30 minutes per day. You can do one 30-minute walk or several shorter walks throughout the day. Follow these tips to ensure safety and comfort when walking with arthritis:
- Warm up: Lightly stretching and warming up the muscles is always a good idea before exercising. This helps prevent injury and is particularly beneficial for patients whose knees are stiff due to arthritis.
- Choose appropriate terrain: Make sure you choose an even walking surface, such as a track or mall, to avoid possible accidents or undue strain on the joints. While some doctors believe a very moderate incline is helpful for the knees, flat surfaces are just fine.
- Dont overdo it: Begin by walking short intervals at a moderate, comfortable pace. In the coming weeks, your body and joints will likely feel better and stronger, allowing you to increase the distance of your walks.
- Walk when your knees feel the best: While walking may help arthritis pain in the long term, it is important to try and walk when your joints are feeling their best. For example, if you wake up with stiff, painful knees, it may be best to wait until later in the day to begin your walk. Additionally, walking right after taking anti-inflammatory medications can help minimize any possible discomfort.
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Gradual Increase In Pain
Arthritis pain usually starts slowly, although it can appear suddenly in some cases.
At first, you may notice pain in the morning or after youve been inactive for a while. Your knees may hurt when you climb stairs, stand up from a sitting position, or kneel. It may hurt just to go for a walk.
You may also feel pain when youre simply sitting down. Knee pain that wakes you up from sleep can be a symptom of OA.
For people with RA, the symptoms often start in the smaller joints. They are also more likely to be symmetrical, affecting both sides of the body. The joint may be warm and red.
With OA, symptoms may progress rapidly or they may develop over several years, depending on the individual. They can worsen and then remain stable for a long time, and they can vary by days. Factors that may cause them to worsen include cold weather, stress, and excessive activity.
With RA, symptoms usually appear over several weeks, but they can develop or worsen in a few days. A flare can happen when disease activity increases. Triggers vary, but they include changes in medication.
With OA, this can be:
- hard swelling, due to the formation of bone spurs
- soft swelling, as inflammation causes extra fluid to collect around the joint
Swelling may be more noticeable after a long period of inactivity, like when you first wake up in the morning.
This is because RA is a systemic disease, which means it affects the whole body. OA, meanwhile, only has a direct impact on the affected joint.
What Are The Risks For Viscosupplementation Treatment For Arthritis
Most people dont have any problems from viscosupplementation, but a small percentage of people do have problems.
The most common problem you might encounter is a flare-up of your arthritis just after your injection. This might cause additional pain and swelling in the short term. Healthcare providers are still learning about the best techniques to help reduce the chances of this complication.
Less common risks include:
- Allergic reaction
- Pain at the injection site
There is also a chance that the treatment will not effectively help your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about all your concerns. Your own risks may vary according to your medical conditions and where and how often you get injections.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Sudden, unexplained swelling, warmth, or pain in any joint.
- Joint pain with a fever or rash.
- Pain so bad that you can’t use your joint.
- Mild joint symptoms that last more than 6 weeks and don’t get better with home treatment.
- Side effects from pain medicine. You can have side effects when you take large doses of pain medicine. Do not take more than the recommended dose of medicine without first talking to your doctor.
How To Treat Knee Inflammation
This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 65,708 times.
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