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.
Tips For Using A Cane
When using a cane, remember the following tips:
- Ensure the cane isnt too tall or short. You shouldnt slump or slouch over when using a cane. Its height should come to the top of your wrist.
- Use the cane on your strong side. If your affected hip is your right one, hold the cane with your left hand. When you step forward with your right leg, the cane will provide support. Practice moving your affected leg and the cane at the same time.
- Advance the cane an appropriate distance. Move the cane about 2 inches to the front or side of you. If its too far from your body, you might lose balance.
A physical therapist can help you develop a safe technique.
Your insurance company may cover the cost of these aids. Your healthcare provider can write a prescription for these mobility aids to help in the reimbursement process.
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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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.
Other Otc Pain Relievers
Along with medications, there are supplements and creams that you can buy at the drugstore to relieve arthritis pain. People may also use topical treatments along with other medications.
Many people with OA use the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. For those with moderate to severe OA knee pain, the combination of the two may ease aches, although medical studies have not shown clear proof that they help a lot. If you choose to try it, take it for at least 3 months before you decide if it helps.
There donât seem to be any major side effects from glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, but because they are supplements, the FDA doesnât regulate them in the same way as drugs. That means itâs tough to be sure of the content and quality of supplements you see in stores.
Though the benefit is still unclear, one study showed long-term use of fish oil supplements improved pain and function.
Skin creams made from capsaicin, an extract from chili peppers, may help relieve mild arthritis pain. You may notice a mild stinging or burning feeling when you rub it on your skin, but it usually fades over time. Test the medication on a small part of your skin to make sure youâre not sensitive to any of the ingredients.
Cold or warm compresses on a painful joint a few times per week may also improve pain, swelling, and range of motion. Cold therapy may also help you feel better right after you exercise.
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Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Walk
For countless men and women across the country, knee pain is a daily struggle. In fact, knee pain can be so severe that some patients are unable to continue working. There are several possible causes and risk factors for chronic knee pain, including:
Without a doubt, one of the most common causes of knee pain is arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis in the knee may have either rheumatoid arthritis a condition developing in the joints lining or osteoarthritis, which is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage. While RA may occur at any point in a persons life, osteoarthritis is much more common and affects the vast majority of patients suffering from knee arthritis.
What Injuries Can Cause Knee Pain
Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the knee joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, menisci , and bones forming the joint. The complexity of the design of the knee joint and the fact that it is an active weight-bearing joint are factors in making the knee one of the most commonly injured joints.
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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.
Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace
Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.
You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Knee Joint Injections
Knee joint injections should only be explored when more conservative treatments for knee pain have proven ineffective. Before the procedure, your doctor will inject a numbing agent to reduce pain, followed by a corticosteroid to decrease inflammation. They may also discuss options like PRP injections.
While injections may work to decrease pain, knee joint injections do not treat any underlying knee pain causes or halt progressive joint deterioration. Still, when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, physical therapy, and other lifestyle changes, they can provide profound relief. Learn more about this option in the following video.
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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Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Anyone with knees can have knee pain, but there are some risk factors that increase your chances. Carrying extra weight is a primary risk factor, as is having a job that places lots of stress on the knees. Professional athletes and enthusiastic amateurs alike are all at risk of knee pain due to wear-and-tear and injury also.
Other risk factors include:
- Lack of flexibility or strength in supporting muscles
How Common Is Gout In The Knee
As a general rule of thumb, if left untreated, gout tends to work its way up the body, Dr. Keenan explains.
For example, he cites research that shows 50 percent of patients experience their first gout attack in the big toe. If gout worsens, 35 percent of secondary flares occur in the knee, 40 percent in the midfoot and ankle, 30 percent in elbows and wrists, and 15 percent in fingers.
Its not uncommon for a person to experience their first gout flare in their knee and, after an X-ray or ultrasound, show signs of gout in the foot, he adds.
Gout can afflict both knees, but typically is felt more strongly in one knee where arthritis from general wear is worse.
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Your Knee Feels Swollen Or Misshapen
Inflammation is a classic hallmark of arthritis in the knee. Sometimes, the lining of the jointcalled the synoviumswells or fluid can build up in the area, notes the Arthritis Foundation. You may also notice a visible change in the shape of the knee. There isnt a lot of muscle right around the knee, so when the joint becomes inflamed, the bones can start to change shape, says Dr. Colvin. In severe cases, changes in the bone can cause people to walk with a different gait or even become bow-legged, notes Dr. Colvin.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
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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.
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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How Do I Prepare For Viscosupplementation Treatment For Arthritis
Talk to your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines, like aspirin. Take all of your medicines as normal, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
The day of your procedure, you can eat and drink as you normally would. Tell your healthcare provider about any new symptoms, like fever. You may want to wear loose clothing so that you can easily expose your joint. Your healthcare provider might give you other instructions about what to do before your procedure.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Arthritis
Pain from arthritis can be ongoing or can come and go. It may occur when you’re moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body.
Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that it’s hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing stairs or opening a jar. Pain and stiffness may be more severe during certain times of the day or after you’ve done certain tasks.
Some types of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red and feel hot to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also cause fatigue.
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Deformities Of The Knee
The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.
In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.
With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.
Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.
Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.
Why Might I Need Viscosupplementation Treatment For Arthritis
You may have already tried other treatments for your arthritis, like over-the-counter pain medicines and corticosteroid injections. If you still have significant symptoms, viscosupplementation might be a good choice to help reduce your pain, stiffness, and swelling. The treatment seems to work best in people with mild or moderate arthritis. The treatment may particularly make sense if you are trying to delay getting surgery on your joint.
Generally, healthcare providers use viscosupplementation to treat osteoarthritis, but the technique may also benefit people with certain other kinds of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis. You can talk to your healthcare provider about whether it is a choice for your type of arthritis.
Hyaluronic acid injection is not a treatment choice for arthritis in all types of joints. The knee is the standard injection site, but you might also be able to get it for arthritis in your hip or possibly in another location.
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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.
What Are Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are of two basic types. One is the kind that arises near a joint with osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. In this situation, the cartilage has been worn through and the bone responds by growing extra bone at the margins of the joint surface. These “spurs” carry the formal name “osteophytes.” They are common features of the osteoarthritic shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. Removing these osteophytes is an important part of joint replacement surgery but removing them without addressing the underlying arthritis is usually not effective in relieving symptoms.
The second type of bone spur is the kind that occurs when the attachment of ligaments or tendons to bone become calcified. This can occur on the bottom of the foot around the Achilles Tendon and in the coroacoacromial ligament of the shoulder. These spurs often look impressive on X-rays, but because they are in the substance of the ligaments rarely cause sufficient problems to merit excision.
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