Dont: Engage In Repetitive High
Joint-pounding exercises such as running and tennis can tax your already damaged knees, Dr. Pisetsky says. Its a vicious cycle because this type of exercise causes more pain. You stop using your muscle because it hurts, you lose strength, and then your alignment isnt good either, he says. This can also result in needing joint replacement surgery. Listen to your body, he says. If it is painful, dont do it.
Do: Take Medications As Prescribed
Over-the-counter or prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are among the mainstays of knee osteoarthritis treatment, Pisetsky says. While effective, they do come with their share of side effects, he explains. We typically tell patients to take them as needed for pain but emphasize that theyre not used to slow disease progression, he says.
Other treatments are also available to help relieve knee pain, stiffness, and swelling, including analgesics such as acetaminophen and injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid into the joints. While corticosteroid injections are commonly performed, their long-term effects are still under investigation. Using heat and cold therapy can also help relieve symptoms try moist heat for joint stiffness and ice for joint pain and swelling, says Wyss. Just be sure to work with your doctor to develop the best treatment strategy for you.
I Have Knee Arthritis: Is Surgery My Only Option
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , arthritis affects 23% of all adults, making the condition one of the most common ailments affecting older Americans. If youre living with arthritis, you know how debilitating it can be.
To learn more about knee arthritis, we spoke with , MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Banner Health Clinic in Glendale, AZ, who sees many patients affected by the condition.
Arthritis of the knee falls into one of two general categories: inflammatory or degenerative, explained Dr. Rosen. Inflammatory arthritis is systemic, meaning it can affect your whole body and target organs within your body, one of which is your knee. Examples of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and arthritis associated with psoriasis.
Degenerative arthritis is localized to primarily a specific joint and is a wear and tear phenomenon that we all experience as we age, said Dr. Rosen. If you have degenerative arthritis of the knee, things that can worsen your arthritis include smoking, obesity and trauma to the knee, like a damaged cartilage or ligament. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of degenerative arthritis.
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Beat Knee Arthritis Pain
You cannot undo the changes in the bone and cartilage associated with knee arthritis, but by using these top tips, you can help reduce the impact arthritis has on your life.
You can get more active, get back to doing the things you love, and reduce or maybe even abolish your knee arthritis pain altogether. Start today!
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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Can I Run With Knee Arthritis
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and pain, and it can affect virtually every joint. There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Joint stress or overuse
A knee arthritis diagnosis is tough for anyone, but if you previously enjoyed an active lifestyle that depended on having healthy knees, it can be especially devastating. Knee pain may tempt you to forget about doing any exercise at all, but a sedentary lifestyle will do you more harm than good.
The truth is, exercise can help arthritic joints feel better.
Running in particular may reduce your chances of needing surgery down the line. Better still, running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise out there all you need is yourself, a good pair of running shoes, and someplace to run.
For most people, running with knee arthritis is safe. However, use common sense, talk to your doctor first, and pay attention to your body. If running worsens your pain, stop and take a break before you try again. Work with your doctor to create an exercise regimen that works for you.
Know too that any type of activity is great. It doesnt need to be running. Walking briskly or swimming may be a better option for your body.
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Arthritis Of The Knee And Hip Treatment Options Including Regenerative Therapy
Stem Cell therapy usually isnt a patients first thought when they are told they have arthritis of the knees or hips. After hearing about regenerative therapy and doing enough research, they start to understand what Stem Cells are and how they can benefit from the treatment. Most patients look into this treatment as an alternative to surgery.
How Ra Affects Your Knees
In RA, your immune system attacks and damages the synovial cell lining of your joint. The synovial cell is the connective tissue that lines your joints. RA causes your synovial cells to increase, which causes thickening and inflammation. Its the same with RA in your knees:
Over time, the inflammation can damage the cartilage and ligaments of your knee joints. Along with synovial fluid, these help your knees move and keep your bones from grinding against each other.
As they become damaged, your cartilage wears away and exposes your bone. Bone, unlike cartilage, has pain receptors. As your bone is exposed, your bones start to push and grind against each other. This results in pain and bone damage.
Tissue damage from RA can led to chronic, or lasting, pain, affect your balance and steadiness, and change the appearance of your joints.
A hallmark symptom of RA is tenderness, pain, or joint discomfort that worsens when you stand, walk, or exercise. This is known as a flare. It can range from a mild, throbbing pain to intense, sharp pain.
What Does The Procedure Involve
You can usually receive a knee injection in your doctors office. The procedure only takes a few minutes.
Youll be seated during the procedure, and your doctor will position your knee. They may use ultrasound to help guide the needle to the best location.
Your doctor will:
- clean the skin on your knee and treat it with a local anesthetic
- insert the needle into your joint, which might cause some discomfort
- inject the medication into your joint
Though you may feel some discomfort, the procedure is rarely painful if your doctor has experience administering this type of injection.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may remove a small amount of joint fluid to reduce pressure.
Theyll insert a needle attached to a syringe into the knee joint. Then, theyll draw out the fluid into the syringe and remove the needle.
After removing the fluid, the doctor can use the same puncture site to inject the medication into the joint.
Finally, theyll place a small dressing over the injection site.
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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.
Currently, research is being done on the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma , which is not yet covered by insurance. PRP involves drawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and injecting part of it into the knee.
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.
Arthritis Of The Knee
is a condition in which there is loss of the articular cartilage of the femur, tibia, or patella. This can be seen on X-ray as a loss of the space between the two ends of bone.
X-ray of an Arthritic Knee
Because of the loss of the gliding surfaces of the bone, people with arthritis may feel as though their knee is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people actually feel a catching or clicking within the knee. Generally, loading the knee joint with activities such as walking long distances, standing for long periods of time, or climbing stairs makes arthritis pain worse. When the arthritis has gotten to be severe, the pain may occur even when sitting or lying down. The pain is usually felt in the inside part of the knee, but also may be felt in the front or back of the knee. As the cartilage is worn away preferentially on one side of the knee joint, people may find their knee will become more knock-kneed or bowlegged.
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How To Help Arthritis In Knees
If you are experiencing severe knee arthritis that is impacting your quality of life, its important to talk to your doctor first. They can help diagnose any underlying causes and design a treatment plan to improve your daily life.
For mild to moderate pain, here are our tips for how to help arthritis in the knees. As always, talk with your doctor before starting a new treatment.
How To Treat Arthritis Knee Pain
Exercise is a vital part of staying strong and healthy, whether you have arthritis or not. But there are other ways you can treat arthritis knee pain.
The arthritis treatments listed here can help you to improve not only your running experience, but your overall sense of wellbeing. Remember to talk with your doctor before trying a new treatment. Not all treatment options are safe and effective for all people.
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How Should We Discuss The Causes Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Far too many of you are told that you wore away your cartilage. Some of you may have been told that your running caused this, or that you walked too much at work for too many years. Those theories are wrong. Osteoarthritis is often found to be less common in runners. When your healthcare providers use analogies such as a cheese grater, or sandpaper on wood, those misconceptions about the etiology or cause of your arthritis becomes your new reality.
Terms such as degeneration, aging, and wear and tear are tossed around. Words can harm. Using an inappropriate analogy can give people the wrong impression. Ive seen this movie often and the finale never changes.
Osteoarthritis does involve thinning or loss of the cartilage or cushioning on the ends of your bones. This is articular cartilage. This is different than the meniscus cartilage you hear about all the time.
For the majority of you, the cartilage was not worn away because of a mechanical process. Arthritis development is a biological process. Ill be brief here because I wrote an extensive article on osteoarthritis causation here. It turns out that our DNA, RNA, and hundreds of chemicals, protein, and hormones determine if your cartilage is going to become thinner and less resilient. Yes, this graphic below is complicated, and it should be because its meant to show you that this is a very complicated process.
Why Go To An Orthopedic Clinic
Orthopedic clinics have doctors who are experts in treating conditions like arthritis. Orthopedic physicians work closely with other specialized professionals with a wealth of experience treating musculoskeletal conditions, and this combination of knowledge and expertise are beneficial to patients like you.
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Joint Or Bursal Aspiration
When a patient has a swollen knee, a doctor may want to verify or rule out certain diagnoses by analyzing the accumulated fluid. To do this, the doctor will remove fluid from the affected knee joint capsule or bursa using a needle and syringe. When performed on a joint capsule, this process is called joint aspiration or arthrocentesis. When performed on a bursa, this process is called bursal aspiration.
The doctor will take note of the aspirated fluidâs color and viscosity and may send it to a lab for further analysis. Determining the contents of the fluid can lead to an accurate diagnosis. For example, uric acid crystals in the joint fluid indicate gout, and bacteria in the fluid indicate infection.
Aspiration and examination of the fluid are important diagnostic steps because the underlying cause of knee swelling will determine the appropriate medical treatment.
Aspirated fluids are not always sent to a lab for analysis. If a diagnosis is already known, a physician may perform an aspiration to improve joint function and patient comfort.
Easy Exercises For Knee Arthritis
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How exercise helps knee arthritis
Exercising an arthritic knee may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually lessen and even relieve arthritis pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness and swelling.
There are several reasons to exercise with knee arthritis:
- Exercise maintains the joints full range of motion.
- Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
- Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.
Exercise doesnt have to be hard to be beneficial. In fact, gentle, low-impact exercises are best for knee arthritis. They minimize stress on the joint as they increase its flexibility and strength. Learn more about osteoarthritis here.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Knee: Symptoms And Treatments
More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis , which typically starts in the hands and fingers and can later progress to the knees. The resulting joint stiffness, pain, and swelling affecting the knees can restrict movement, potentially impacting quality of life.
To learn more about knee RA, myRAteam spoke with rheumatologist Dr. Iris Navarro-Millán, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and a National Institutes of Health -funded rheumatology researcher specializing in knee RA.
Because knee RA shares some symptoms with knee osteoarthritis , another form of arthritis, making a diagnosis can be challenging, Dr. Navarro-Millán said. When people with RA start experiencing knee pain, we tend to jump quickly to say, You probably also have osteoarthritis. But its very common for with RA to have both.
Many members of myRAteam report late-stage knee pain. Ive had RA for 10 years, but only experienced pain in my knees in the last one or two years, explained one member.
Getting a correct diagnosis, however, has been frustrating for some. My doctor said I dont have RA because its in my knees, yet everything Ive read said that RA can attack the knees, one member said. Another member added, My rheumatologist was way too quick to assume my knee pain was fibromyalgia and OA, not RA. Im getting a second opinion.
Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Some people with osteoarthritis try complementary or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy and find them helpful.
However, theres a lack of medical evidence to suggest theyre effective and they generally are not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .
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How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
To make a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, most health care providers use a combination of methods and tests. Your doctor may:
- Ask about your symptoms and medical history
- Perform a physical examination
- Use X-rays and other imaging tests to look at your joints
- Order laboratory tests to rule out other problems that could be causing your symptoms
If you have questions about your diagnosis, talk to your doctor. Your primary care provider may refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other related conditions.