How Does Osteoarthritis In The Knee Affect My Body
Knee pain is the most common symptom of osteoarthritis in the knee, making it painful for you to jog, run, climb stairs or kneel. It can also make your knees feel stiff or swollen. Over time, osteoarthritis of the knee can change the shape of your knee joint, making your joint feel unstable or wobbly.
Tip : Experiment With Different Running Terrains
Again, theres no specific terrain that has been shown to be better for runners with osteoarthritis in their knees. My patients usually have to test it for themselves. Some find that they are better when running on the flat, others prefer off road and some has to stick to running on a treadmill.
Running down hills are usually harder work for knees and I tend to advise my patients with sensitive knees to limit the amount of downhill running they do. Running up hills doesnt seem to be such a big problem.
Experiment with this for yourself. See what your knees feel like when you run the same distance at the same speed on a variety of surfaces.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help
Once you have received a diagnosis of knee OA, your physical therapist will design an individualized treatment program specific to the exact nature of your condition and your goals. Your treatment program may include:
Range-of-motion exercises. Abnormal motion of the knee joint can lead to a worsening of OA symptoms when there is additional stress on the joint. Your physical therapist will assess your kneeâs range of motion compared with expected normal motion and the motion of the knee on your uninvolved leg. Your range-of-motion exercises will focus on improving your ability to bend and straighten your knee, as well as improve your flexibility to allow for increased motion.
Muscle strengthening. Strengthening the muscles around your knee will be an essential part of your rehabilitation program. Individuals with knee OA who adhere to strengthening programs have been shown to have less pain and an improved overall quality of life. There are several factors that influence the health of a joint: the quality of the cartilage that lines the bones, the tissue within and around the joints, and the associated muscles. Due to the wear and tear on cartilage associated with knee OA, maintaining strength in the muscles near the joint is crucial to preserve joint health. For example, as the muscles along the front and back of your thigh cross the knee joint, they help control the motion and forces that are applied to the bones.
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Articles On Knee Osteoarthritis
While age is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, young people can get it, too. For some individuals, it may be hereditary. For others, osteoarthritis of the knee can result from injury or infection or even from being overweight. Here are answers to your questions about knee osteoarthritis, including how it’s treated and what you can do at home to ease the pain.
What Should You Do If You Already Have Been Diagnosed With Arthritis
People with a Diagnosis of OA should be encouraged and supported to, at the very least maintain current activity levels or even increase their physical activity.
The American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation recently published their recommendations in the 2019 Guideline for management of Osteoarthritis.
Listed below are their top recommendations for the management of Arthritis:
These are all things good healthcare clinicians can help you with.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine
There is a wide variety of traditional, nutritional, herbal, naturopathic, and homeopathic medicines used to treat osteoarthritis. Many of these have little evidence to support their use.
With that being said, there a number of complementary treatments that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health believes may offer benefits. Among them:
- Acupuncture has been shown to provide modest arthritis pain relief, particularly of the knee.
- Boswellia serrata, an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects beneficial to osteoarthritis.
- S-adenosyl-L-methionine is a chemical naturally produced in the body that is sold as a dietary supplement. There is some evidence that SAMe may be as effective as over-the-counter NSAIDs in treating arthritis pain.
Warm Up And Cool Down
Its important that you warm up before and cool down after exercise to avoid injury. A good warm up should include a mixture of exercises that stretch and strengthen your muscles, as well as work on balance techniques.
Spend five minutes cooling down afterwards, stretching out your major muscle groups, particularly the hips, knees and ankles. Massage, compression stockings and a cold bath followed by a hot shower can help you recover too.
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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 Does The Condition Change Over Time
The Kellgren-Lawrence Classification of Osteoarthritis is a common system for describing the stages of knee osteoarthritis. Kellgren-Lawrence classification measures the progression of knee osteoarthritis in terms of joint space narrowing . The stages range from 0 to stage 4 . When discussing late stage or advanced knee osteoarthritis, it is usually in reference to those at stage 3 or 4 of the Kellgren-Lawrence classification system.In late stage knee osteoarthritis, there is little to no separation between the bones remaining. This can lead to very different symptoms from those experienced by people at earlier stages of the condition. When these bones freely grate together they often cause more severe pain and stiffness. This also leads to reduced mobility in many cases.
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But What About More Demanding Forms Of Exercises Such As Running
We know that our joints love the right amount of load and they require this to stay strong and healthy. Running is a more demanding way to load our lower limb joints compared to other forms of exercise such as walking or cycling.
If you are a runner and you have built up your load appropriately over time, your tissues will have the capacity to cope with this load, and running can be very beneficial for your joints and overall health. If you havent run in a while, there are gradual and progressive ways to prepare the body for these more demanding movements.
If you are a runner and you have been diagnosed with OA, you should NOT fear that you will make the condition worse by running, in fact it has quite the opposite effect!
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.
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Running Your Best Run
Is it ok to run with arthritis? It is a common misconception that running is bad for your knees.
The fact of the matter is everyone is different. For some people, running may not be the right exercise due to arthritis or a musculoskeletal condition. But it isnt the case for everyone.
Having a regular exercise routine is beneficial for people with arthritis as it can help to strengthen the joints, muscles and is good for wellbeing. Read more about staying active with arthritis.
If you do want to start running or you are preparing to step up your distance, you should:
- listen to your body and find what works for you
- combine running with core stability and strengthening exercises
- choose your pace and get the right shoes
- eat well and keep hydrated.
Can I Run With Knee Arthritis
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and pain, and it can affect virtually every joint. There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Joint stress or overuse
A knee arthritis diagnosis is tough for anyone, but if you previously enjoyed an active lifestyle that depended on having healthy knees, it can be especially devastating. Knee pain may tempt you to forget about doing any exercise at all, but a sedentary lifestyle will do you more harm than good.
The truth is, exercise can help arthritic joints feel better.
Running in particular may reduce your chances of needing surgery down the line. Better still, running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise out there all you need is yourself, a good pair of running shoes, and someplace to run.
For most people, running with knee arthritis is safe. However, use common sense, talk to your doctor first, and pay attention to your body. If running worsens your pain, stop and take a break before you try again. Work with your doctor to create an exercise regimen that works for you.
Know too that any type of activity is great. It doesnt need to be running. Walking briskly or swimming may be a better option for your body.
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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 irregular areas rub against each other.
Pain Relief With Physical Therapy
There is no one solution to pain, but at least one expert says physical therapy is highly effective. âI recommend it to almost all of my patients,â says Hayes Wilson, MD, chief at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, and national medical adviser to the Arthritis Foundation.
Physical therapists teach people how to take care of themselves. âIf you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach him how to fish, he eats for the rest of his life,â says Wilson, noting physical therapists are like fishing instructors.
He is not far off. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists teach patients self-management skills. In the case of arthritis, therapists show people how to deal with pain in day-to-day life. They show people how to build up strength and improve range of motion, and how to make sensible decisions about activities to prevent arthritic flare-ups.
Yet physical therapy is far from a panacea. In patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that can shave 10 to 15 years off life, Wilson sees immune-modulating drugs as a first choice of treatment, and physical therapy as an adjunct.
In patients with osteoarthritis, the condition could worsen if swelling isnât fully addressed. âI think physical therapy does decrease inflammation to a certain extent, but I think the most dramatic changes to inflammation are made pharmacologically ,â says Wilson.
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How To Practice Squatting
Squatting can help build leg and hip strength, leading to more stable joints. Over time, your range of motion will increase.
As long as youre able to practice with minimal knee joint discomfort, its safe to include squats in your exercise routine.
People with arthritis may find the most benefit in wall squats, since squatting against the wall can help reduce your risk of putting unnecessary or incorrect pressure on your knees.
To do a basic squat:
Keep the knee over the ankle and not over the ball of the foot, Bell cautions.
If you begin to experience intense pain at any point more than your typical knee pain you should stop the practice for the day.
Be sure to give the move another try during your next practice. Youll find that your pain threshold increases as you build up muscle strength.
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:
- Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
- Does your knee swell up?
- Is your skin often red?
- Is your skin often warm?
- Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- How severe is your pain?
- Do you struggle to walk?
- Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?
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Will A Knee Replacement Get Rid Of Arthritis Permanently
Thanks to progressive technology today, you dont have to suffer from knee pain forever. When youve tried pain medications, weight loss, steroids, or lubricant injections, and still suffer from pain, knee replacement may be your best option to combat your particular issues.
At Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA, we are here to help you get back to enjoying your life without the struggle of knee pain, whether or not youve had knee surgery. Founder and medical director Dr. Christopher Williams uses cutting-edge technologies to provide his patients with premier services and excellent results to live a life well-lived without the constant interruptions of arthritic pain.
How Common Is Osteoarthritis
Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men. Australian studies show that about 1 in 10 women report having the condition, compared with about 1 in 16 men.
Osteoarthritis can develop at any age, but it is more common in people aged over 40 years or in those who have previously injured a joint. One in 5 Australians over the age of 45, and one in 3 over 75 years have osteoarthritis.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
There is no specific test for osteoarthritis. Your doctor will confirm or rule out osteoarthritis based on your symptoms and a physical examination. Some signs they may look for are:
- swelling around the joints in your body
- damage to joint cartilage cartilage is the smooth, cushion-like surface that covers the ends of your bones to allow them to move smoothly
- spurs extra bone growing around the edge of a joint
- weakness in the ligaments and tendons the connective tissue that holds your joints together or attaches muscles to bones
Your doctor may refer you for an x-ray to look for narrowing and changes in the shape of your joints. A blood test may help to rule out other types of arthritis .
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Talk To Your Doctor About Knee Joint Injections
Knee joint injections should only be explored when more conservative treatments for knee pain have proven ineffective. Before the procedure, your doctor will inject a numbing agent to reduce pain, followed by a corticosteroid to decrease inflammation. They may also discuss options like PRP injections.
While injections may work to decrease pain, knee joint injections do not treat any underlying knee pain causes or halt progressive joint deterioration. Still, when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, physical therapy, and other lifestyle changes, they can provide profound relief. Learn more about this option in the following video.
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