What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.
The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.
Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.
Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.
Medication That Knocks Out Knee Pain
Medication can deliver strong relief for your knee pain, but you must be mindful of the possible side effects and follow directions.
There is a variety of medication available for knee pain, including both oral and injectable medication, depending on the source of your pain. But most medication used by people with knee pain falls into one of two categories: anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, also known as analgesics.
Over-The-Counter Medication for Knee Pain
Most medication that falls in the anti-inflammatory category also has analgesic effects, says William Bargar, MD, director of the Joint Replacement Center with Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Dr. Bargar points out that even though knee pain-relieving medication is available without a prescription, you should use care when taking it. Be sure to follow the instructions for any medication and read the warnings.
Prescription Medication for Knee Pain
Injectable Medication for Knee Pain
Whats The Evidence That Cbd Is Effective For Chronic Arthritis Pain
While there are laboratory studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is safe and effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not exist. A randomized trial of topical CBD for osteoarthritis of the knee has been published, but in abstract form only the trial lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed at best. One of the largest reviews examined the health effects of cannabis and CBD, and concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. But there was no specific conclusion regarding CBD, presumably because definitive studies were not available.
Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.
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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.
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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Youre Trying To Cope With Knee Osteoarthritis By Yourself
People with knee osteoarthritis often know that healthy lifestyle habits like exercise and weight control are recommended, but they arent implementing them, Dr. Garver says. His research, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Journal of Rheumatology found that meeting with others who have osteoarthritis and sharing similar challenges can help motivate people to change their habits and add an exercise routine into their life.
Are There Different Types Of Knee Osteoarthritis
The knee has three contact zones, also known as compartments where osteoarthritis usually occurs. A common way to classify knee osteoarthritis is by which of the three compartments of are affected:
- Medial Tibiofemoral Compartment the inside part of the knee where the tibia meets the femur .
- Lateral Tibiofemoral Compartment The outside part of the knee where the tibia meets the femur .
- Patellofemoral compartment The front of the knee between the patella and femur .
Estimates of how common osteoarthritis is in each compartment of the knee vary quite widely. A study published by Oxford University found that of a group of subjects with radiographic knee osteoarthritis :
- 59% had osteoarthritis in both the patellofemoral compartment and at least one tibiofemoral compartment.
- 35% had osteoarthritis only in the patellofemoral compartment
- Only 6% had osteoarthritis in one or both of the tibiofemoral compartments.
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Common Knee Surgery May Not Alleviate Pain
Next come over-the-counter treatments, including acetaminophen for many people, because it is non-toxic in recommended doses and doesnt cause stomach bleeding like other drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can. Steroid injections come next, but not unless pain pills dont do the trick.
We believe that pharmacologic intervention is important for patients that can tolerate it, Jevsevar said. We believe that surgery is a last resort.
At least one study has found that surgery is no better than medication and physical therapy for relieving the pain and stiffness of moderate or severe arthritis.
Top 10 Ways To Reduce Knee Arthritis Pain
Knee arthritis pain is a common problem.
Approximately 11% of people over the age of 64 have arthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is when there is wear and tear of the bones and cartilage of the knee.
In knee arthritis, the cartilage that lines the knee joint thins, while the bone underneath thickens. This produces bony spurs known as osteophytes, which makes the joint surface all bumpy rather than being nice and smooth and flat. This often results in knee pain and stiffness
Here are the top 10 things you can do to reduce arthritis knee pain and improve how the knee moves.
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What’s New In Arthritis Research
Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctor’s office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.
Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.
Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.
Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.
Inflamed Synovium In Rheumatoid Arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, the body attacks its own joints. White blood cells, which are agents of the immune system, travel to the synovium and cause an inflammatory process to occur, referred to as active synovitis. The inflamed synovium causes warmth, redness, swelling, and pain in and around the affected joint.
Specifically, during the inflammatory process, the synovium thickens and causes the joint to swell. As rheumatoid arthritis progresses, abnormal synovial cells invade and erode cartilage and bone within the joint. Surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons weaken.
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How To Tell If You Have Arthritis In Your Knee
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic or acute knee pain each year, and it can be difficult to get appropriate treatment and much-needed relief without knowing the actual cause of the pain. Since many conditions can have symptoms that mimic one another, it is important to seek the advice of a professional when seeking a diagnosis, treatment, or therapy for your knee pain. Dr. Christopher Williams and the knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta are highly experienced in assessing a vast array of bone, joint, and muscle symptoms and are dedicated to helping patients determine the cause of their pain and realize quick, effective, and long-lasting relief.
Natural Therapies For Arthritis Pain
Medication isn’t the only way to manage arthritis pain. Look at these eight natural therapies for arthritis.
1. 8 Natural Therapies for Arthritis Pain
4. Tai Chi
6. Weight Loss
7. Physical Therapy
8. Topical Gels
Why Do Joints Make Popping And Cracking Noises
Joints can make different noisesâsome are serious and some are not.
Some people learn how to âpop their knuckles.â By pushing or pulling a joint in a certain way an air bubble can suddenly appear in the joint with a âpop.â Once the bubble is there the joint cannot be popped again until the air has been reabsorbed.
Some joints crack as the ligaments and tendons that pass over them slide past bumps on the bones. Individuals who âcrack their neckâ make noise in this way.
Other joints lock up intermittentlyâoften with a loud popâbecause something gets caught in between the joint surfaces. A torn cartilage in the knee or a loose piece of bone or cartilage in the joint can do this. Once a joint is stuck in this way, it may need to be wiggled around to unlock it. This may also cause a pop.
Finally joints that are arthritic may crack and grind. These noises usually occur each time the joint is moved. This noise is due to the roughness of the joint surface due to loss of the smooth cartilage.
Cracking Or Popping Sounds
When you bend or straighten your knee, you may feel a grinding sensation or hear cracking or popping sounds. Doctors call this crepitus.
These symptoms can occur when youve lost some of the cartilage that helps with smooth range of motion. Both OA and RA can result in cartilage damage.
When cartilage is damaged, rough surfaces and bone spurs develop. As you move your joints, these rub against each other.
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Does Knee Replacement Get Rid Of Arthritis
Knee replacement is an excellent way to reduce pain in the knees and can solve a number of issues, and is often ideal for people who have tried alternative pain-relief methods to no avail. However, it is not a permanent solution for arthritis. Knee surgery may temporarily relieve pain from arthritis, but it does not cure the condition. Managing your arthritis will still be necessary to reduce pain in the knees, even after joint surgery.
Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin C
Vitamin C not only helps produce collagen, a major component of joints, but sweeps the body of destructive free radicals, which are harmful to joints. One of the best-known studies looking into vitamin C and arthritis found that people whose diets routinely included high amounts of vitamin C had significantly less risk of their arthritis progressing. Spread out your intake throughout the day because your body doesnt store vitamin C rather, it takes what it needs from the bloodstream at any given time and flushes out the rest. This means a megadose in the morning doesnt really do as much good. Sip citrus drinks or eat C-rich fruits and vegetables such as strawberries or melon, broccoli, or sweet peppers. And be sure to avoid these foods that might flare your arthritis.
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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.
What About Glucosamine And Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are components of healthy cartilage. Both are produced naturally in the body. They are also available in supplement form.
Researchers have long studied the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements on arthritis. Many studies have found mixed resultssome have shown pain relief and function improvements compared to a placebo, while others showed no benefit from using these supplements.
Because of the lack of confirmatory evidence on the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, the 2019 ACR/Arthritis guidelines recommend that people with knee OA not use these supplements.
There has been little or no research on the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in people with knee arthritis related to RA.
Most supplements are generally safe to use. Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to start a supplement with your current knee arthritis treatment plan.
While supplements have few severe side effects attached to them, it is still possible to experience these. Supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, can make other treatments less effective, and affect other health conditions you may have.
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While Oa And Inflammatory Arthritis Do Share Some Symptoms Namely Pain Tenderness And Swelling The Similarities Tend To End There
If you have persistent knee joint pain, arthritis in your knees could be the culprit. While many forms of arthritis exist, its usually fairly easy for your doctor to first determine which of the two main categories osteoarthritis or inflammatory/autoimmune arthritis you might have.
Those include whats known as mechanical knee arthritis or inflammatory/autoimmune knee arthritis, which includes a number of illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis , psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
While OA and inflammatory arthritis do share some symptoms namely pain, tenderness, and swelling the similarities tend to end there, as youll see below. The answers to the following questions can often help determine if your knee pain is osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis.
Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Knee: Popular Supplements Dont Work
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 1 in 10 Canadian adults . The knee is one of the most common and most symptomatically affected joints, causing knee pain in many people. They often try over-the-counter remedies to help the pain, and to avoid knee surgery. Amongst these treatments are the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are very popular.
Because glucosamine and chondroitin are building blocks of cartilage, and because osteoarthritis is related to cartilage degradation, many believe that adding these building blocks to the diet of a person suffering from osteoarthritis will help rebuild cartilage and lessen pain. While on the surface this may seem logical, in reality these supplements do not provide effective pain relief. Heres why:
These popular supplements dont work.
Many studies have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate do not help to relieve pain from arthritic knees. People who take the supplements often report less pain or swelling of their joints. But people get similar results if they take a placeboa sugar pill with no active ingredients. Pain relieving drugs, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen , help a lot more.
The supplements can be dangerous.
You arent always getting what you think.
To make matters worse, often the labels on the bottles are misleading. In 2013, Consumer Reports tested 16 joint pain supplements and found that seven had less chondroitin than the label listed.
Use drugs carefully.
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