Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis — a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints — is actually a very complex set of musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, there are more than 80 forms of arthritis, several of which affect the knee.
If you have any type of arthritis of the knee, you’ll want to know that the University of Michigan Health System offers several surgical and non-surgical options that bring relief to hundreds of patients every year.
Our multidisciplinary approach enables us to diagnose and treat our patients quickly. The end result for our patients is the best possible care.
Glucosamine And/or Chondroitin Sulfate 1
Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.Since the production of glucosamine slows with age, some people use glucosamine supplements to fight aging-related health conditions, like osteoarthritis. Taking glucosamine as a nutritional supplement is thought to keep osteoarthritis in check by restoring the bodys glucosamine supply and repairing damaged cartilage.Treatment with glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulphate may provide symptomatic benefit, however if no response is apparent within 6 months, experts recommend to discontinue treatment.
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.
You May Like: What Is A Good Rheumatoid Factor
What Causes Knee Arthritis
Unfortunately, the most common cause of knee arthritis is age and women are more prone to get it than men. Yet, it can also be caused by:
Genes: some genetic traits can cause knee arthritis. For example, osteoarthritis in the knee has been found in people in their 20s who have a genetic defect which affects the production of collagen, the protein which makes cartilage.
Weight: being overweight puts extra pressure on the knees and as time goes on this can cause the cartilage, which cushions the joint, to breakdown faster.
Overuse or injury: repetitive movements or injuries can be a cause of knee osteoarthritis. Also, athletes who repeatedly damage their ligaments, joints and tendons are prone to knee osteoarthritis.
Knee arthritis affects people in different ways and one persons symptoms may be different to anothers.
Is Walking Good For Arthritis In The Knee
If you are experiencing the painful, frustrating symptoms of arthritis in your knees and other joints, you are probably thinking that increasing your activity level is the last thing youd want to do. However, you may be surprised to learn that regular walking, stretching, and other movements can actually help relieve your arthritis pain and improve your overall mobility. Experienced orthopedic provider Dr. Christopher Williams and the knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta are dedicated to providing the most personalized level of care to help patients rid themselves of debilitating arthritis pain and regain control of their lives. Find out more about your options for minimizing knee pain related to arthritis, including how increased physical activity may actually benefit you.
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis One Side Of Body
Will I Always Need Medical Treatment For Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
You might always need pain medication to ease your symptoms. Many people find exercise and physical therapy helps their symptoms. People also benefit from self-management programs that provide information about living with osteoarthritis of the knee. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can use exercise and other self-care to manage your symptoms.
What Is The Knee Joint
Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:
- Thighbone .
- Shinbone .
- Kneecap .
A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.
Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint
Don’t Miss: What Does Ra Pain Feel Like
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.
How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 63,035 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though there’s no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because it’s a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
Read Also: Arthritic Knee Symptoms
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.
What Are Gel Knee Injections
Our bodies naturally produce a thick gel called synovial fluid that keeps our joints lubricated and properly functioning. In patients with osteoarthritis, this gel becomes watery as the cartilage in your knees breaks down and is no longer effective in protecting your joints and absorbing shock.
Doctors can temporarily restore this substance into arthritic knees via gel shots. This treatment increased the hyaluronic acid levels in your knees to that of fully functioning joints. Once this fluid is restored, patients can experience reduced creaking, grinding, and inflammation, as well as restored function in their knees and most of all, pain relief.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis Pain In Hands
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Knee OA is a very common source of pain that can limit your mobility.
Causes of Knee OA
The cause of OA is unknown. These risk factors make it more likely you will develop knee OA:
- Age: OA can occur at any time of life, but it is most common in older adults.
- Sex: Women are more likely to have knee OA than men.
- Obesity: Being overweight adds stress to your knees. Fat cells also make proteins that can cause inflammation in and around your joints.
- Injuries: Any knee injury, even old ones, can lead to knee OA.
- Repeated stress: Frequent stress on your knee from your job or playing sports can increase risk for OA.
- Genetics: You can inherit a tendency to develop OA.
- Bone deformities: If you have crooked bones or joints, you are at higher risk.
- Some metabolic diseases: Diabetes and hemochromatosis, a condition in which your blood has too much iron, have been linked to OA
Symptoms of knee OA develop slowly and worsen over time.
- Pain: Movement causes pain. Sometimes your knee will ache while sitting still.
- Stiffness: Your knees may be stiff first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long time.
- Loss of motion: Over time, you may lose the ability to bend and straighten your knee all the way.
- Creaking and grating : You may hear crackling noises or feel a grating sensation.
- Instability: Your knee may give out or buckle, or feel like it could.
- Locking: The knee may lock or stick.
- Swelling: Your knee may get puffy all around or on one side.
Your doctor will check for:
How Do We Diagnose Arthritis Of The Kneecap
Generally, arthritis behind the kneecap causes the following symptoms:
- pain under kneecap, usually worse after sport or prolonged sitting
- grinding or clicking with the movement of the knee
- swelling of the knee joint
Often, imaging is useful to confirm the diagnosis. X-ray, ultrasound or MRI can be used to look at the health of the patellofemoral joint and to diagnose arthritis in kneecap.
Read Also: Rf Negative Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Are The Symptoms Of Knee Arthritis
While knee pain can certainly affect patients without arthritis, there are some classic knee arthritis symptoms to keep an eye out for. These can include:
- Chronic or recurrent pain
- Stiffness, often upon waking or after sitting for a long period of time
- Limited mobility
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by a qualified provider to obtain a definitive diagnosis and find out what treatment options are available to help relieve your discomfort. During your initial consultation for knee arthritis in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Williams will thoroughly evaluate your joints and perform any necessary imaging studies to determine whether arthritis may be affecting you.
Knee Bionics & Exoskeletons
Bionics and exoskeletons augment joint function by enhancing your strength above and beyond what your body could produce naturally in an unassisted manner. You can think about these devices as instantly adding extra muscle mass to your legs. Products in this category typically have motorized, pneumatic and/or spring hinges that provide a dual benefit as they not only increase the strength of the knee but they also provide joint distraction offloading all three compartments of the knee joint. Tri-compartment offloading has been identified by healthcare professionals as a best practice for the conservative management of osteoarthritis. Further, reducing the compressive force on the knee joint is also the focal point of weight loss and dieting a gold standard treatment for Osteoarthritis. A recent study showed that knee bionics can reduce compression forces across the joint by over 40%.20 This is a significant advancement over traditional knee braces that do not enhance strength and are only able to offload one compartment at a time. Since over half of OA patients have degenerative changes in more than one compartment of the knee, these technologies can be particularly effective for the majority of individuals suffering from moderate-severe osteoarthritis.21
Active Exoskeletons vs Passive Exoskeletons
Read Also: What Does Arthritis In Your Hands Feel Like
What Is Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is inflammation and deterioration of knee joint cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery coating on the ends of bones that serves as a cushion and allows the knee to smoothly bend and straighten. Knee cartilage coats the end of the thighbone , top of the shinbone and the backside of the kneecap . When cartilage wears away, the space between the bones narrows. In advanced arthritis, bone rubs on bone and bone spurs may form.
Damage to the joint cartilage over time may result in the development or worsening of deformities of the knee, including knock knees and bowleg.
Find Out What Type Of Arthritis You Have
Learn about the type of arthritis you have and your treatment options. Ask your doctor about creating a tailored management plan and team care arrangement for you. This includes subsidised care from a team of healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, dietitians, and others. Your local Arthritis office may also run self management courses to help you develop skills to manage your symptoms, communicate with your healthcare team and lessen the impact of arthritis on your life.
Don’t Miss: Ra Symptoms Hands
Gout And Calcium Crystal Diseases
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in joints. It typically affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.
Joints affected by gout can become red and hot. The skin may also look shiny and can peel.
Its caused by having too much urate, otherwise known as uric acid, in the body. We all have a certain amount of urate in our body.
However, being overweight or eating and drinking too much of certain types of food and alcoholic drinks can cause some people to have more urate in their bodies. The genes you inherit can make you more likely to develop gout.
If it reaches a high level, urate can form into crystals that remain in and around the joint. They can be there for a while without causing any problems and even without the person realising they are there.
A knock to a part of the body or having a fever can lead to the crystals falling into the soft part of the joint. This will cause pain and swelling.
There are drugs that can reduce the amount of urate in the body and prevent gout attacks. Examples are allopurinol and . If youre having a gout attack, youll also need short-term pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as paracetamol can be good drugs to try first.
Men can get gout from their mid-20s, and in women its more common after the menopause. Taking water tablets can increase the risk of gout.
There are also conditions that cause calcium crystals to form in and around joints.
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.
Recommended Reading: Long Term Effects Of Arthritis
What Other Alternatives Are There
Other Pharmacological Treatments: There are other types of injections for the knee joint such as hyaluronic acid and Platelet Rich Plasma that could provide a similar benefit. Various prescription and over the counter oral anti-inflammatorydrugs can also provide quick relief from pain. However, many of them come with a high risk of adverse side-effects.
Non-Drug Treatments: If you are worried about the risk of negative side effects associated with injections and oral pain killers conservative treatmentmay be for you. The focus here is to avoid/delay surgery, get you off painkilling drugs and improve the health of your knee joint.
Offloader Knee Braces: If you have knee osteoarthritis and want to preserve what cartilage you have left, offloader knee braces could be the right fit for you. These knee braces actively reduce the pressure between the bones in your knee joint significantly reducing pain.
How Does Arthritis Affect The Knees
The knee is commonly affected by arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis . You may notice pain and stiffness in your knee, particularly when you first get out of bed in the morning, after sitting for a long period, climbing stairs, walking, kneeling or even when youre just sitting still. Your knee might look swollen, or feel like it might give way or buckle.
There are many things that can help you manage arthritis of the knee. The first steps are regular exercise, weight loss and using medicines wisely.
You May Like: Does Arthritis Hurt All The Time
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 Is Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints. It can affect the largest and strongest joints in your body. Its common in knees. Arthritis of the knee can be a serious, debilitating disease.
Although there is no cure for knee arthritis, there are steps you can take that might ease your symptoms and potentially slow the progression of your disease.
Read Also: Rheumatoid Arthritis Hand Pain Relief
Meniscus Tears Of The Knee
The meniscus can be torn with the shearing forces of rotation that are applied to the knee during sharp, rapid motions. This is especially common in sports requiring reaction body movements. There is a higher incidence with aging and degeneration of the underlying cartilage. More than one tear can be present in an individual meniscus. The patient with a meniscal tear may have a rapid onset of a popping sensation with a certain activity or movement of the knee. Occasionally, it is associated with swelling and warmth in the knee. It is often associated with locking or and unstable sensation in the knee joint. The doctor can perform certain maneuvers while examining the knee which might provide further clues to the presence of a meniscal tear.
Routine X-rays, while they do not reveal a meniscal tear, can be used to exclude other problems of the knee joint. The meniscal tear can be diagnosed in one of three ways: arthroscopy , arthrography, or an MRI. Arthroscopy is a surgical technique by which a small diameter video camera is inserted through tiny incisions on the sides of the knee for the purposes of examining and repairing internal knee joint problems. Tiny instruments can be used during arthroscopy to repair the torn meniscus.