Make Time For Exercise
Regular, gentle exercise, like walking, biking, swimming, and yoga, can ease joint pain and stiffness, increase muscle strength, and improve mobility. Plus, physical activity during the day can make for a restful night. Just be sure not to do it too close to bedtime. Up to three hours before is likely not to interfere with sleep, says Dr. Whibley.
Experts suggest at least 150 minutes of exercise a week for optimal health but remember: Even a little movement is better than nothing. If you can do some kind of movement during your flare, you may find that it can help, but listen to your body and avoid any movements that exacerbate pain or could lead to injury. Break up your exercise routine into shorter segments.
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.
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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Home Remedies And Medical Options
Experts say that people who play an active role in managing their OA, for example, are likely to see a more positive outcome. You can do so by learning about arthritis, becoming aware of what makes symptoms better or worse, and making decisions with your doctor.
Discover exercises to strengthen the knee muscles.
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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Lifestyle Changes And Home Remedies For Arthritis In The Ankle
Lifestyle modifications are a big part of helping treat arthritis in the ankle. The most important lifestyle change a patient can make is a commitment to healthy eating and exercise, says Dr. Archer. Unfortunately, pain from arthritis can force a patient to become more sedentary, which in turn can cause depression and overeating. Diet is 80 percent to 90 percent of the battle.
Soothe with heat and ice: Stiff and sore ankles can be relaxed and soothed with heat therapy. Ice can help numb areas affected by joint pain and reduce inflammation. Ice therapy is helpful for acute exacerbation of arthritis symptoms , and heat is good for chronic pain symptoms, says Dr. Archer.
Do ankle-friendly exercise: Its important to control your weight with regular, low-impact aerobic exercise. Keeping your weight close to your ideal BMI is the best thing you can do to control your pain and symptoms, says Dr. Archer. As little as a 10-pound weight gain can increase stress on your ankle. This extra weight can weaken tendons and ligaments, which makes sprains and strains more likely.
Do gentle exercises that dont stress the ankle joint, such as swimming or cycling. Walking is one of the best exercises if done correctly with good shoes, says Dr. Bhatt. Limit high-impact activities, such as running or tennis. Also stay away from soccer and kickboxing, says Dr. Bhatt.
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.
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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.
Causes Of Knee Arthritis And Pain
The most common cause of pain is knee osteoarthritis. Known as a wear-and-tear disease, osteoarthritis occurs as the knee joint gets used over time. The structures that once supported and eased movement may begin to wear out, causing knee pain with movement.
Other common causes of knee pain include the following:
- Injury: Injury such as torn ligaments and tendons, bone fractures, bursitis, and tendinitis can cause knee pain both at rest and during activity.
- Mechanical problems: Mechanical problems occur when something in the joint fails. This might include dislocated kneecap, iliotibial band syndrome, or a foreign body in the joint .
- Other forms of arthritis: There are over 100 forms of arthritis, many of which can cause knee arthritis pain. In addition to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis can cause knee pain.
Finally, a less common cause of knee pain is patellofemoral pain syndrome. This pain between the patella and the femur is most often seen in young athletes but can develop as a consequence of arthritis in the kneecap.
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Is My Knee Pain Arthritis Or A Torn Meniscus
A torn knee meniscus often has similar symptoms to knee osteoarthritis, making it difficult to know the cause of the pain.
Common symptoms of both osteoarthritis and a torn meniscus include:
- Pain around the knee joint, especially after activity, such as walking, running, or climbing stairs
- Swelling, which occurs because of inflammation and may make the knee painful to the touch
- Knee locking, which means it may be difficult to bend or fully extend the joint
A knee meniscus tear and knee osteoarthritis affect different types of cartilage in the knee:
- Knee osteoarthritis refers to damage to articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is tough, slippery material that covers and protects the bottom of the thighbone , the top of the tibia , and back of the knee cap .
- A torn meniscus refers to damage to a rubbery, flexible piece of cartilage that provides cushioning between the thigh bone and shine bone in the knee.
Below youll find a few questions to ask yourself when determining the cause of knee pain, however, a visit to a health care professional is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis.
How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
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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.
What Are The Surgical Treatment Options For Knee Arthritis
In the case of severe arthritis, surgery may be the best treatment option.
In this surgery, the physician will use a miniature video camera and tools to remove any loose cartilage. The result is a smooth joint surface free of loose tissue and minimal internal derangement that can cause irritation.
Arthroscopy can provide significant relief and allow the joint to flow freely through its range of motion. Arthroscopy can be effective in early arthritis and may be used to treat associated conditions that could lead to more severe osteoarthritis down the road, but is typically not effective in advanced osteoarthritis.
Total knee replacement
In advanced cases of arthritis, you may be a candidate for a total knee replacement. The techniques and prosthetics used in this surgery have made significant advances over the past decade. Patients who undergo a total knee replacement are living longer and getting more use out their new joints than ever before.
Learn more about total knee replacement.
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Find The Right Mattress And Pillow
Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow with adequate support. The right type of mattress may depend on your level and location of pain. For example, a mattress that cushions the spine may be best for hip pain. Mattresses that can rid some of the pressure points depending on the position and firmness of the mattress are best, says Dr. Winiarska. Sleep Number or WinkBed mattresses are just a few good options.
Try out a variety to see which one feels best most stores allow returns up to certain period of time. As far as pillows, feather or down pillows might be better as they will adjust to the shape of the neck and head, Dr. Winiarska suggests.
She adds: Strategically placing your pillow between the knees can also alleviate any pain from pressure from the mattress or from one joint rubbing against another.
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.
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Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, commonly known as TENS, interrupts pain signals sent to the brain with a weak electrical pulse. For some people with arthritis in the knee, this non-invasive treatment works wonders. TENS machines can now be purchased cheaply over the counter, which makes it an easy option to try.
What Are The Stages Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are five stages of osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis that affects your knees:
- Stage 0 . If youre at stage 0, your knees are healthy. You dont have arthritis of the knee.
- Stage 1 . Stage 1 means that youve got some wear and tear in your knee joint. You probably wont notice pain.
- Stage 2 . The mild stage is when you might start to feel pain and stiffness, but theres still enough cartilage to keep the bones from actually touching.
- Stage 3 . If youre at the moderate stage, youll have more pain, especially when running, walking, squatting, and kneeling. Youll likely notice it after long periods of rest . You’re probably in a great deal of pain because the cartilage has narrowed even further and there are many bone spurs.
- Stage 4 . Severe osteoarthritis means that the cartilage is almost gone. Your knee is stiff, painful and possibly immobile. You might need surgery.
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How Can I Treat Knee Arthritis
Whilst there is no definitive cure for arthritis pain in knees, there is a lot that can be done to help reduce pain and improve function. As we continue through the arthritis pain in knee section, you can find out lots more in the following articles:
What Is Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints — cartilage — wears away. When this happens, the bones of the joints rub more closely against one another with less of the shock-absorbing benefits of cartilage. The rubbing results in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, sometimes, the formation of bone spurs.
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What You Need To Know
- Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage in the joint wears down, making the knee stiff and painful with certain movements.
- Osteoarthritis gradual, age-related degeneration of cartilage is the most common form of arthritis in the knee, but trauma and autoimmune conditions can also lead to cartilage damage.
- The cartilage damage associated with arthritis is irreversible, but there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help reduce pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall quality of life for people with knee arthritis.
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.
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