What Kinds Of Arthritis Can Occur In The Knee
In the case of knee pain, one of the most common culprits is arthritis. There are three types of arthritis that can occur in the knee, and it is not unheard for patients to have multiple arthritic conditions present at the same time. The three kinds of arthritis that often develop in the knees include:
- Osteoarthritis : A slow-acting, progressive wear-and-tear process that deteriorates joint cartilage. Middle-aged and older patients are the most likely group to develop OA.
- Rheumatoid arthritis : RA can occur at any age. This inflammatory process can be marked by painful swelling in the joints.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Patients who have a significant knee injury, such as a fracture, torn ligament, or torn meniscus, may develop post-traumatic arthritis. This can occur many years after the injury itself.
Knee Surgery For Rheumatoid Arthritis
In the event that everything has been tried, but your disease is still progressing in your knees , then surgery may be considered to achieve a better quality of life.
Surgeons have one of three basic options
1. Arthroscopic Surgery. Keyhole surgery can be used to allow a surgeon to repair tissue in the joint or clear out tissue that is too badly damaged.
2. Osteotomy of The Knee. The surgeon aims to improve the alignment of your knee by cutting either the shin bone or your thigh bone.
3. Knee Replacement. Either a partial replacement where half the joint is replaced and fused to a prosthetic or a complete knee replacement where your entire joint is removed and replaced with a new knee.
There are a variety of types of prosthesis available depending on the surgeons preference of material and style
What If I Dont Want Surgery?
If your knees have been sufficiently degraded that surgery is the only realistic option for improvement and you really dont want to go ahead, then your most hopeful outcome is an improvement of symptoms with limited reduced mobility.
Symptoms may be controlled, at least in the short term with medication, but if youre at a surgery stage, then your mobility is already pretty poor and likely to deteriorate fast.
The Final Word
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Common Medications To Treat Arthritis Flares
OA patients might just need some OTC pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Dr. Bose also recommends topical gels and lotions like diclofenac gel or 2 Old Goats. If that doesnt work, Dr. Ashany says joint injections of steroids may be given. RA flares are more complicated. In inflammatory arthritis, steroids are often used to try to quickly bring a flare under control, Dr. Ashany says. If only one joint is involved a steroid can be given by injection, but otherwise it can be taken orally .
In inflammatory arthritis, if flares continue to occur, this indicates that the patients regimen of maintenance medication is not adequate, Dr. Ashany says. This may lead to addition of a medication, switching one drug for another or increasing the dose of medication that the patient is currently taking.
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Cracking Or Popping Sounds
When you bend or straighten your knee, you may feel a grinding sensation or hear cracking or popping sounds. Doctors call this crepitus.
These symptoms can occur when youve lost some of the cartilage that helps with smooth range of motion. Both OA and RA can result in cartilage damage.
When cartilage is damaged, rough surfaces and bone spurs develop. As you move your joints, these rub against each other.
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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How Is Arthritis Treated
There are many treatments that can help relieve pain and help you live with arthritis. You should talk to your doctor about the best treatments for you, which can include:
- Medications to relieve pain, slow the condition, and prevent further damage.
- Surgery to repair joint damage or relieve pain.
Doctors who diagnose and treat arthritis and other rheumatic diseases include:
- A general practitioner, such as your family doctor.
- A rheumatologist, who treats arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.
The Most Important Piece Of The Puzzle
If youre overweight or obese, the most effective treatment is weight loss. This isnt surprising. Every extra pound of weight adds two to four pounds of excess pressure on your knees.
Losing weight is probably the most difficult part of the treatment puzzle, but its also the most important, says Dr. Day.
A weight loss program should include both diet and exercise. Some people have difficulty exercising to lose weight because their knees hurt. But any type of exercise can help, even strengthening the upper body.
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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 Type Of Doctor Treats Knee Arthritis
Osteoarthritis of the knee may be treated by a sports medicine physician or an orthopedic surgeon, depending on your particular condition. A physical therapist may be able to treat less severe cases to help reduce pain and increase your mobility. If you knee pain is a result of rheumatoid arthritis, gout or other form of inflammatory arthritis, you should consult a rheumatologist.
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How To Practice Walking Or Running Up Stairs
Although walking up and down stairs may hurt, it can be a good strengthening exercise for your leg and hip muscles.
Theres another benefit to exercise, and thats having a protective effect on joint or articular cartilage. This is extremely important for slowing the onset of osteoarthritis.
Think of articular cartilage as a protective covering for your joints.
Articular cartilage functions as a shock absorber and also reduces friction between bones where they meet at joints. As a person ages, this cartilage can wear away, leading to joint pain and swelling, or osteoarthritis.
Research shows that loading of the articular cartilage maintains the health of the cartilage and that avoidance of loading, aka exercise, results in atrophy, or thinning of the articular cartilage.
To safely climb steps:
- Take your time. A slow and steady approach can help you maintain your stability.
- Use the railing for support. If you currently use a cane, talk to your physical therapist about how to best use it while on stairs.
For a low-impact alternative, try using a stair stepper machine. When using a stair stepper, keep the following in mind:
- Start with a shorter workout and increase the duration over time. Doing too much too quickly can be harmful.
- Adjust the height of the rise to suit your needs. Bell advises that you start small and gradually work your way up to a higher step.
- Use the railing for support, as needed. Be careful not to lean on the rails.
How Do Cortisone Injections Work
When you feel pain in your knee, it is usually the result of swelling in the joint. Inflammation occurs in response to injured or irritated tissues and structures. While it causes pain, it is also an important part of your bodys natural healing response.
Cortisone shots in the knee reduce inflammation by interrupting the cellular signaling pathway responsible for creating it. The damaged tissue that would normally trigger inflammation can no longer do so, allowing you to move with reduced levels of pain. After the shot, it takes some time for the corticosteroids to interact with the targeted area . Once they take effect, symptoms should improve rapidly and remain better for several weeks. After this, the corticosteroids slowly degrade, and knee pain typically returns to its original intensity.
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Ways To Manage Your Knee Pain
Aggressive intervention is essential is slowing the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, wherever it strikes. Although it is unusual to affect your knee joints first, it is still important to recognise the swelling/ pain and get a definitive diagnosis from your doctor. From there you have a number of options for managing the pain in your knee and preventing further erosion of your joints
1. NSAIDs . As the name suggests, these are designed to reduce the inflammation in your knee and increase its mobility. Common examples include Ibuprofen. This is likely only to be a short-term course, due to considerable side effects, particularly with long-term use.
2. DMARDs . These are used specifically to prevent further damage to your joints. They work by decreasing the cells that cause inflammation in the blood, therefore reducing the cause of joint damage. Examples include Ciclosporin and Methotrexate.
3. A Range Of Directly Injected Steroids Where Appropriate. Injected straight in to the knee joint, they can be used to reduce the inflammation. It is most likely your doctor will select from a range of corticosteroids to inject directly in to the joint spaces.
5. Strict following of the RICE technique Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. In other words, plan your days to ensure regular periods of rest, use ice whenever convenient to reduce the inflammation, Compress wherever possible to provide support and elevate when relaxing to rest and strong blood flow.
If Youve Got Arthritis Youve Probably Experienced The Intense Pain Of Flares Heres How To Handle Them
Youre feeling good, barely thinking about your chronic pain, and then wham an arthritis flare hits you like a Mack truck. These periods of increased disease activity take a toll on you physically and emotionally, especially because they can come on unexpectedly. If youve got either osteoarthritis or an inflammatory type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, you probably know what were talking about.
So how can you deal with an arthritis flare-up when it happens? I remind myself, This, too, shall pass, arthritis patient Beth Bloomfield told us on Facebook. Like a kidney stone! another patient, Katie Resnick, joked back. Although arthritis flares are never pleasant, there are techniques that can help shorten their duration. Also important: Being able recognize when a flare is starting and avoid the triggers that may cause your flare-ups in the first place.
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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.
What Is Knee Arthritis
There are two different types of knee arthritis caused by either wear and tear or inflammation.
The knee joint is made up of three bones, the femur , tibia and patella which form 2 separate joints:
- Tibiofemoral Joint: knee joint
- Patellofemoral Joint: kneecap joint
The ends of the knee bones are covered by thick layers of cartilage.
Cartilage is a thick, spongy material that lines the joint providing lubrication and cushioning, which allows the knee to move smoothly and painlessly. It also works as a shock absorber and ensures that the forces going through the knee during daily activities are spread evenly throughout the joint.
Arthritis pain in knees develops when the cartilage thins and wears away and bony bumps known as spurs develop. This results in bone-on-bone contact which causes knee arthritis pain, stiffness and inflammation.
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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.
The 10 Best Foods To Eat If You Have Arthritis
If you have arthritis, you know just how devastating this condition can be.
Arthritis is a term for a class of diseases that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds.
There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is one type, which develops in joints with overuse. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints (
Fortunately, there are many foods that can ease inflammation and may help relieve some of the joint pain associated with arthritis.
In fact, one survey found that 24% of those with rheumatoid arthritis reported that their diet had an impact on the severity of their symptoms (
This article will look at 10 of the best foods to eat if you have arthritis.
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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.
Switch From The Sidewalk To The Treadmill
Walking or jogging on a sidewalk made of concrete can be hard on the knees. A treadmill has a little more spring and decreases the overall compressive load on the knees. When walking on a treadmill, resist the urge to walk at an incline.
Walking on a groomed earthen trail will have a similar positive effect.
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What Are The Types Of Arthritis
There are several types of arthritis. Common ones include:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis is arthritis that affects the spine. It often involves redness, heat, swelling, and pain in the spine or in the joint where the bottom of the spine joins the pelvic bone.
- Gout is caused by crystals that build up in the joints. It usually affects the big toe, but many other joints may be affected.
- Juvenile Arthritis is the term used to describe arthritis in children. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints.
- Osteoarthritis usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows a joint injury. For example, you might have badly injured your knee when young and develop arthritis in your knee joint years later.
- Psoriatic Arthritis can occur in people who have psoriasis . It affects the skin, joints, and areas where tissues attach to bone.
- Reactive Arthritis is pain or swelling in a joint that is caused by an infection in your body. You may also have red, swollen eyes and a swollen urinary tract.
- Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the bodys own defense system doesnt work properly. It affects joints and bones , and may also affect internal organs and systems. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.
Arthritis is seen with other conditions. These include:
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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