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.
How Will It Affect Me
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you will probably feel your knee is painful and stiff at times. It may only affect one knee, especially if youve injured it in the past, or you could have it in both. The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your knee, and it may improve when you rest. You might have some stiffness in the morning, but this wont usually last more than half an hour.
The pain can be felt all around your knee, or just in a certain place such as the front and sides. It might feel worse after moving your knee in a particular way, such as going up or down stairs.
Sometimes, people have pain that wakes them up in the night. Youll probably find that the pain varies and that you have good and bad days.
You might find you cant move your knee as easily or as far as normal, or it might creak or crunch as you move it.
Sometimes your knee might look swollen. This can be caused by two things:
- Hard swelling: when the bone at the edge of the joint grows outwards, forming bony spurs, called osteophytes .
- Soft swelling: when your joint becomes inflamed and produces extra fluid, sometimes called an effusion or water on the knee.
Sometimes osteoarthritis of the knee can cause the muscles in the thighs to weaken, so your leg may look thinner. This weakness can make the joint feel unstable and could cause the knee to give way when you put weight on it.
Points To Remember About Arthritis
- “Arthritis” means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints.
- There are many types of arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Medications and surgery can treat arthritis.
- Activities that can help reduce symptoms at home include exercise hot and cold therapies relaxation therapies splints and braces and assistive devices.
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Relieve Knee Pain And Enjoy Life Again With Arthritis Treatment In Atlanta Ga
If you are tired of suffering with constant or recurrent arthritis knee pain, it may be time to seek help. In many cases, behavioral modification – such as beginning a walking routine – can help provide knee pain relief. In addition, conservative treatments are available that can result in long-lasting, reliable symptom relief. These may include physical therapy, exercise, anti-inflammatory supplements, and medications. If these methods are ineffective, Dr. Williams may recommend a more extensive treatment plan, including the use of a breakthrough Regenexx® orthobiologic injections .
To learn more about how walking can actually help your knee pain, and to discover what long-term treatment options you have for arthritis in the knee, we invite you to call the friendly team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to schedule your private in-office or online consultation with experienced orthopedic expert Dr. Christopher Williams today. We look forward to helping you get the results you deserve and enjoy life without knee pain once again!
What Are Treatments For Knee Arthritis
Though neither category of arthritis is curable, both kinds of knee arthritis can be managed well, particularly when caught early. Thats especially true for those with inflammatory arthritis.
We know a lot more about inflammatory arthritis than we do about OA, Dr. Domingues says. And we have drugs that target the root cause of inflammatory arthritis disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs which decrease inflammation, help preserve the joint, and ease pain. Biologics, a more targeted type of DMARD, may be recommended for those who dont get sufficient relief of knee pain and other symptoms from traditional DMARDs.
As for what to take for knee osteoarthritis, doctors often first recommend over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which are also sometimes used to alleviate the pain of inflammatory arthritis.
If those dont help your knee OA, steroid injections may be a good next step for managing knee joint pain, or your doctor might suggest hyaluronan injections, which provide some of the cushioning lost by cartilage breakdown in your knee joint.
But because OA is a degenerative disease, which means it will likely get worse over time, these options mostly buy you time before you may ultimately need a knee replacement, which is the definitive treatment for moderate-to-severe knee OA, Dr. Domingues says.
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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.
How To Practice Deep Lunging
For people with knee osteoarthritis, lunging poses the same benefits and risks as deep squatting.
Lunges are a great way to improve your overall leg and hip strength, but they may cause unnecessary pain when practiced incorrectly.
The trick, Bell says, is to make sure your knee doesnt extend past your ankle.
You may also find it helpful to practice lunges while holding on to the back of a chair or table for added support.
To do a basic lunge:
During your practice, its important that you take note of any changes in pain or discomfort. If you begin experiencing more pain than usual, you should stop lunging for the day and move on to another form of exercise.
Running can increase your overall wellness and help control weight. This can reduce the amount of stress on your knees and lessen the overall effect of osteoarthritis.
However, some caveats do apply:
No one with arthritis should start running, she says flatly.
To minimize symptoms:
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Types Of Knee Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis of the knee, but by far the most common is osteoarthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis can occur as we get older, from around mid-40s onwards, or can sometimes happen as a result of a knee injury or other joint problems.
Arthritis means the cartilage of the joint is thinning and becoming rougher, making the joint muscles and ligaments work harder. More advanced arthritis can mean the cartilage is worn away entirely.
Osteoarthritis usually occurs in joints in the hands, hips, and knees.
Living With Arthritis Of The Knee
Having arthritis in the knee can be a challenge for everyday life, whether thats managing pain or just getting around.While theres no permanent treatment for arthritis, it is possible to either control the symptoms or slow its progress, depending on the type you have. Weve brought together some tips and answered a few common questions on how to treat knee arthritis at home.
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How Much Does It Cost For A Cortisone Injection
Spendonhealth reports that cortisone injections into the knee joint can cost anywhere between $100 300 USD. These costs likely vary a lot by region and country. Since cortisone shots are a well recognized medical treatment much of the expense may be covered by your health insurance should you have it.
Arthritis Of The Knee
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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Youre Not Losing Weight If You Need To Which Could Stress Your Knee Joint
The more you weigh, the more stress is placed on the knee joint, which can trigger an increase in pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . Whats more, a study published in August 2017 in the journal Radiology found that when overweight and obese adults lost weight over a two-year period, they significantly slowed down their rate of knee cartilage degeneration.
Are There Any Complications
Osteoarthritis can develop over just a year or two, but more often its a slow process over many years that only causes fairly small changes in just part of the knee.
But in some cases, the cartilage can become so thin that it no longer covers the ends of the bones. This causes them to rub against each other and eventually wear away.
The loss of cartilage, the wearing of the bones, and the bony spurs can change the shape of the joint. This forces the bones out of their normal positions, making your knee feel unstable and painful.
Some people with osteoarthritis find a lump appears at the back of their knee. This is called a Bakers cyst or popliteal cyst.
A Bakers cyst is fluid-filled swelling at the back of the knee that happens when part of the joint lining bulges through a small tear in the joint capsule. This can then cause joint fluid to be trapped in the bulge.
It can happen on its own, but is more likely in a knee thats already affected by arthritis. A Bakers cyst doesnt always cause pain, but sometimes they can burst so the fluid leaks down into your calf, causing sharp pain, swelling and redness in the calf.
Osteoarthritis in the knee might change the way you walk or carry your weight, and this could cause you to develop the condition in other joints, such as your hips.
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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.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Knee
The symptoms of arthritis in the knees are so many. There are the basic ones and the ones that will be obvious once the condition escalates. The basic symptoms include:
- Deep pain that aches
- Inflammation, tender, and redness around the knee
- Hard to move joints
Rheumatoid arthritis has some of the most severe symptoms of the two. It is often very infectious and will leave you with so much pain. An escalated case of RA will easily lead to knee replacement surgery.
NOTE: You may also experience some trouble when dressing, gripping things, bending over, squatting, or climbing stairs. However, this will depend more on the type of joints involved in the action.
How Is Knee Arthritis Treated Nonsurgically
The severity of your arthritis will determine the most appropriate course of action. For early-stage arthritis, effective treatments include:
- Physical therapy
In more advanced cases, the following can be effective at relieving your symptoms:
Patients with arthritis typically have to undergo some lifestyle modifications. If specific activities make your symptoms worse, then avoiding those activities can provide relief. Low-impact exercises such as cycling, elliptical, swimming, and light strength training are the best options.
Oral anti-inflammatory medicines may be effective at decreasing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. However, some people suffer from side effects while taking them. If you experience anything unusual when taking these medications, contact your doctor immediately to determine if continued use is appropriate.
Unloader knee braces
Your doctor may prescribe an unloader brace. This brace relieves the pressure on the worn area of the joint. You will need to wear this brace when participating in such activities as walking, hiking, and sports. For some, this brace may provide significant symptomatic relief, allowing the enjoyment of physical activity again.
There is no limit to the total number of knee injections you can have, and long-term steroid injection treatment does not cause any further damage to the joint.
Joint fluid therapy
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Pain In Hips And Knees Symptoms You Shouldnt Ignore
Image of the hip joint
When it comes to your hips and knees, there are 5 symptoms you shouldnt ignore. If you delay seeing a physician, you could make your pain worse. You should make an appointment if you have any of the following:
1. Not being able to maintain your normal active lifestyle. If you find yourself not able to do the activities you normally enjoy, such as tennis, golf, cycling, or walking, you should see a physician.
2. Pain that gets worse at night and interferes with sleep. Inflammation, which is your bodys reaction to pain, tends to intensify at night. This inflammation can trigger higher levels of pain.
3. Catching, popping, or locking. This is a sign that the cartilage in the joint has torn or that bits of cartilage has broken off in the joint space. The cartilage may wear away completely if it is left untreated.
4. Difficulty doing simple tasks. Some patients will experience difficulty putting on shoes and socks or doing other simple activities, such as bending down.
5. Swelling. This could also be a sign that the cartilage in the joint is breaking down. The cartilage may wear out completely if it is left untreated.
Pain in the Knees
Do: Maintain A Healthy Weight Which Eases Stress On Your Knee Joints
Excess weight puts greater pressure or stress on your already damaged knees, Pisetsky explains. If you’re overweight, losing weight can relieve knee pain and even slow down the rate of cartilage degeneration, according to a study in the August 2017 issue of Radiology. The research showed that the more weight participants lost, the greater their improvements were. If youre overweight, weight loss can help with knee pain, Pisetsky emphasizes.
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