How Does Knee Arthritis Start
Knee arthritis is characterized by pain that gets worse with activity, and abates when the knee is at rest. The inflammation caused by the arthritis can feel warm to the touch.
The knee may feel stiff, especially after being immobile for a period of time, such as first thing in the morning. The pain and stiffness of arthritis may be intermittent at first and develop progressively, becoming chronic pain.
How To Help Arthritis In Knees: The Basics
Your knees are the largest, strongest joint in the body. Knowing a bit about the anatomy can help to appreciate not only their strength but also their unique vulnerabilities.
Knee joints consist of three bones. The femur connects to the tibia and the patella . Cartilage wraps around the end of each bone to protect and smooth movement where the three bones meet.
Two wedges of cartilage called the meniscus act as shock absorbers as the femur presses down into the tibia. Synovial fluid lubricates all of the cartilage in the joint and helps with smooth movement.
In addition, stabilizing ligaments and tendons include:
- Lateral and medial collateral ligaments: Stabilize side-to-side movement
- Posterior and anterior cruciate ligament: Frames movement forward and backwards
Knees absorb the impact of your upper body coming down on the lower leg: every day, all day. This means that everything you dowalking, running, hiking up a mountain, or simply standing up from a seatrelies on healthy knees.
Youre Ignoring Depression Which Can Worsen Pain
Depression, sleep problems, and osteoarthritis pain appear to be linked, according to a study published in March 2015 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research that assessed sleep, pain, and depression symptoms in 288 adults over the course of a year. The anxiety, stress, and worry that can go along with someone whos depressed may minimize their ability to cope with osteoarthritis, Johnson says. If you think you may be depressed, seek treatment immediately.
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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
Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Knee
OA is the most common type. It is a progressive condition in which the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. It usually appears after midlife.
RA is an inflammatory condition that can occur at any age. It affects the whole body and can involve other joints and additional symptoms. It is an autoimmune disease.
Arthritis can also develop after a knee injury. Post-traumatic arthritis can result from a torn meniscus, ligament injury, or knee fracture. Symptoms can appear several years later.
OA and RA can cause similar symptoms, but there are also some key differences. Learn more here about how to recognize each type.
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How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some of the following diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have knee arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss in the knee
- Joint aspiration: drawing out and testing the synovial fluid inside the knee joint
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-ray, but narrowing of the joint space between the bones indicates lost cartilage. X-rays show bone spurs and cysts, which can be caused by osteoarthritis. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans are rarely needed for diagnosis.
What Are The Different Types Of Arthritis
Arthritis is a broad term that describes more than 100 different joint conditions. The most common types of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis, or wear and tear arthritis, which develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress. Its the most common form of arthritis.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis of the spine .
- Juvenile arthritis , a disorder where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints. JA typically affects children 16 or younger.
- Gout, a disease that causes hard crystals of uric acid to form in your joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis, joint inflammation that develops in people with psoriasis .
- Rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints.
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How Is The Knee Designed And What Is Its Function
The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone meets the large shin bone forming the main knee joint. This joint has an inner and an outer compartment. The kneecap joins the femur to form a third joint, called the patellofemoral joint.
The knee joint is surrounded by a joint capsule with ligaments strapping the inside and outside of the joint as well as crossing within the joint . These ligaments provide stability and strength to the knee joint.
The meniscus is a thickened cartilage pad between the two joints formed by the femur and tibia. The meniscus acts as a smooth surface for the joint to move on. The knee joint is surrounded by fluid-filled sacs called bursae, which serve as gliding surfaces that reduce friction of the tendons. There is a large tendon which envelopes the knee cap and attaches to the front of the tibia bone. There are large blood vessels passing through the area behind the knee . The large muscles of the thigh move the knee. In the front of the thigh, the quadriceps muscles extend, or straighten, the knee joint by pulling on the patellar tendon. In the back of the thigh, the hamstring muscles flex, or bend, the knee. The knee also rotates slightly under guidance of specific muscles of the thigh.
What Can I Do To Make Living With Arthritis Easier
Changing your routine can make living with arthritis easier. Adjust your activities to lessen joint pain. It may help to work with an occupational therapist . An OT is a healthcare provider who specializes in managing physical challenges like arthritis.
An OT may recommend:
- Adaptive equipment, such as grips for opening jars.
- Techniques for doing hobbies, sports or other activities safely.
- Tips for reducing joint pain during arthritic flare-ups.
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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.
Treatments For Inflammatory Arthritis
Although presently there is no cure for Inflammatory Arthritis, doctors and other healthcare providers can make lifestyle recommendations and prescribe medication that aim to control the inflammatory process and hence reduce its symptoms and signs. In patients in whom the process is well controlled, the progress – and potential damage resulting from the disease – can be slowed and often halted. Treatment is most effective when it begins early in the course of the disease. Over the past two decades, research in this field has resulted in dramatic improvements in care. Recent developments in treatment strategies have also significantly improved the long term outcomes of inflammatory arthritis.
Medications for Inflammatory Arthritis fall into one of the following categories:
Because the medications used to treat inflammatory arthritis affect the immune system and can have side effects, rheumatologists monitor their patients carefully throughout treatment. This can involve regular doctors visits and blood tests.
In addition to treatment with medication, people with inflammatory arthritis benefit from eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining an optimal weight to minimize stress on the joints.
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Causes Of Knee Arthritis
When people talk about arthritis, they usually mean osteoarthritis. This is a wear-and-tear condition that is characterized by inflamed joints.
The primary symptoms of arthritis are pain, stiffness, and swelling around the affected joint. Arthritis can affect any joint in your body, but it most commonly affects the knees, hands, spine, and hips. If someone in your family suffers from this condition, you have an increased risk of developing it.
Preserving the health of your joints is important to living actively and independently. By learning what causes knee arthritis and taking preventive measures against it, you may be able to avoid it, delay its progression, or stop it from developing any further.
Some of the most common causes of arthritis in the knee are the following:
Dont: Ignore New Or Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, which means that pain is always possible, Pisetsky says. However, if pain grows more severe and occurs at rest instead of after periods of activity, or if it awakens you from sleep, it could mean that your knee osteoarthritis is progressing, he says. Other symptoms such as swelling, a locked knee, or one that just gives way are concerning, too. Let your doctor know about new or worsening symptoms, as an adjustment to your treatment plan may be necessary.
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Examining And Diagnosing Knee Arthritis
If you made it this far, congrats! We have been treating knee arthritis with advanced regenerative interventional orthopedic technology since the early 2000s. We were the first physicians in the country to use the patients own Bone Marrow Concentrate containing stem cells to treat various orthopedic conditions. With decades of experience to lean on, we know how to get our patients the best outcomes possible: its all about the details! With our examinations, we take 60 mins of physician-patient face-to-face time to get a detailed history of the knee pain, a thorough examination of how your knee uniquely works, and utilize diagnostic ultrasound to evaluate the soft tissue surrounding the joint. We also take a very thorough look at your imaging, not just read the report.
Based on all of the above we come up with a comprehensive evaluation, and along with all our data and current research, we determine a Candidacy Rating of Good, Fair, or Poor. Candidacy is our expert opinion on the likelihood of success, and which therapy will yield the best long-term outcome to accomplish your goal. Many times after a full examination we do not recommend any of our treatments and recommend a surgical consultation. We will be honest with you in our evaluation once we have all the evidence!
Youre Passing On Fruits And Vegetables Which Can Help You Lose Weight
People who eat more fruit, as well as those who are active and generally in good health, tend to have lower levels of osteoarthritis pain, according to the results of a survey of 197 adults published in September 2015 in the journal Pain Research & Management. Plus, eating healthier and being active can help reduce weight, which can also help reduce stress on the knee joint. In general, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, and avoid processed foods if you need to lose weight, says Dr. Johnson.
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Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse
Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.
If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.
What Causes Pain In The Knee After A Knee Replacement
The most common causes of pain after knee replacement include: Loosening of the implant: This is most often the cause of pain years or decades after the knee replacement however, it is seldom the cause of persistent pain right after surgery. 3 Infection: Infection is a serious and worrisome concern.
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Symptoms Related To Knee Arthritis
Did you know that MRI or X-ray findings consistent with arthritis in knee are common in anyone over the age of 40 EVEN in individuals with zero knee pain or asymptomatic knees ? This means there are other causes of knee pain other than just arthritis. This highlights the importance of a detailed examination and getting a thorough history of the issues to help determine if the pain is from the knee arthritis OR the knee arthritis is asymptomatic, and the pain is coming from something other than the cartilage loss!
Common complaints about most knee conditions are:
Do: Wear Comfortable Knee Joint
There are a fair number of studies that suggest shoe choice matters if you have knee osteoarthritis, Pisetsky says. In fact, flat, flexible shoes that mimic the foots natural mobility can decrease the force placed upon the knee during daily activities, according to a study published in the May 2013 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatology.
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The Arthritis Vicious Circle
A vicious cycle often develops with arthritis knee pain. Arthritis causes pain so you stop moving the knee as much. Then as a result the knee gets stiffer and you lose more movement.
Then when you try and move the knee, it hurts more, so you stop using it and the cycle continues. The same goes for the strength of the knee.
If activities start feeling painful, we tend to avoid them, but then the muscles get weaker. As a result they cant support the joint and more weight ends up going through the bones rather than the muscles and things get more painful. Yet another vicious cycle.
This is why exercises are one of the best arthritis treatment options. Muscles stay strong by being used.
People often find they go through good spells and bad spells with arthritis in the knee. Some attribute it to the weather. Stress and tiredness often makes things worse.
History Of Knee Injury
Arthritis that develops due to trauma to the knee joints is called post-traumatic knee arthritis. Damage to the knee bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, or other components of the joint increases your risk of developing knee arthritis later on, because the integrity of the joint is compromised.
If you engage in strenuous physical activity or play sports, see an orthopedist for advice on how to avoid developing arthritis when performing your activities. Osteoarthritis is oftentimes preventable.
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.