What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a degenerative joint disease affecting the knee joint that causes the cartilage in the knee to slowly wear down, leading to the knee joint bones’ rubbing against each other, causing extremely painful bone spurs. The damage caused by osteoarthritis to the knee joint is slow and gradual and with time the osteoarthritis knee pain gets unbearable.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting joints like the hands, feet, spine hips and knee joints. Osteoarthritis is seen as an age related wear-and-tear type of arthritis that affects people mainly after the age of 50, but, many younger people too have complained about being affected by this disease.

Who Gets Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

Among all the different types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis is the most common of them all. It is regarded as an age related degenerative disease affecting mainly the older population but, is not limited only to them. And numerous young adults have reported to have this degenerative condition of the knee joint.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is mainly seen to affect more women than men, post 55 years of age, but, before the age of 45, this disease is more common among men than women.

Stages of osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee is classified into five stages according to the severity of the osteoarthritis knee pain. The varied Stages of an osteoarthritis knee are as follows;

Stage 0 – This is the first stage and is assigned to a normal and healthy knee with no signs of an osteoarthritis knee and no knee joint pain whatsoever.

Stage 1 – At this stage too, people don’t notice much knee joint problems but, minor bone spur growth is detected at this stage. However, there is still no knee joint pain or discomfort caused owing to the minute nature of the boney growth.

Stage 2 – This is regarded as the mild stage with growth in the density of the bone spurs. Nevertheless, the overall health of the knee is not vastly impacted but people start noticing knee joint problems like knee joint pain after an extended hours of walking or running or more stiffness in the knee joint after several hours of staying idle and tenderness when kneeling or bending.

Stage 3 – Termed as a moderate stage, the damages to the knee cartilage are more obvious now and knee joint pain is experienced with walking, running, bending, or kneeling and more joint stiffness can be felt after hours of resting or continuous sitting at a place.

Stage 4 – Stage 4 is attributed to the severe form of osteoarthritis. It is in this stage that the debilitating nature of the disease can be seen with extreme pain and discomfort in even short distance walking owing to the reduced joint space and the complete loss of cartilage.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee

The initial stages of osteoarthritis show no symptoms and it is only with the progression of the disease that the symptoms become more noticeable. Some of the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee are:

  • Knee pain after some activity like walking and running but, gets better with rest
  • Swelling
  • Warmth feeling in the joint
  • Knee stiffness after sitting for a while or in the morning after waking up.
  • Reduced mobility of the knee
  • Weird sounds emanating from the knee, with movement

 

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

The usual diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee begins with a physical examination of the knee along with taking in account the medical history and symptoms. After that some tests are recommended to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are basically the two major types of scans used in determining osteoarthritis.

Causes of osteoarthritis of the knee:

There is yet to be established any definite cause to the basis of osteoarthritis and as to why it affects certain individuals, and has been attributed to various associated symptoms like age related wear and tear of the cartilage. Some of the knee joint pain causes, besides age, associated with osteoarthritis are;

-Weight – Excessive weight is one of the prime knee joint pain causes, as extra weight puts the knees under lot of stress.

-Heredity – Heredity also is one of the significant knee joint pain reasons. Some people are genetically more prone to develop osteoarthritis of the knee owing to hereditary abnormalities.

-Gender – The gender of a person is also one of the major knee joint pain reasons as women aged 55 are more to develop osteoarthritis of the knee than men.

Besides the above knee joint pain reasons, there are several other associated causes of osteoarthritis of the knee like metabolic disorders, diabetes, repetitive stress injuries and certain sports like soccer, tennis, sprinting etc.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the knee

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, however, seeking knee joint pain treatment significantly controls and manages the symptoms of the degenerative disease and helps in returning mobility. The knee joint pain treatment includes the following;

-Medication: Doctors mainly prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help ease the pain

-Corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid Injections – these injection are an effective anti – inflammatory treatment that brings rapid relief

-Surgery – Surgery is treated as the last knee joint pain remedy, administered as a last resource to help in easing the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee when all other knee joint pain treatments fail to provide relief in the symptoms.

The various types of surgical procedures used to provide knee joint pain relief are;

-Arthroscopy – It is the removal of damaged cartilage and loose particles if any to bring relief to the patient.

-Osteotomy – It is a procedure that helps in aligning the knee better by altering the shape of the bones.

-Knee Joint replacement surgery – Knee joint replacement surgery also referred to as Arthroplasty, is the replacement of damaged knee joint parts with artificial parts made from plastic or metals.

-Cartilage grafting – In this surgery healthy cartilage tissue is taken and filled in the hole in the articular cartilage.

Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis

Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis forms a crucial component in the treatment of knee joint pain. Based on the evaluation of the biomechanical issues a doctor or physiotherapist might recommend specific exercises to stretch inflexible soft tissues and strengthen the muscles to help increase mobility and flexibility. Physiotherapy for osteoarthritis becomes all the more crucial in post operative rehabilitation of the patient after they have undergone any surgery for arthritis of the knee. Physiotherapists teach the patient specific exercises to help in strengthening and improving the overall health of the knee.

How can we help?

People with severe osteoarthritis of the knees face a lot of difficulty in moving around; even a visit to the doctor proves to be a herculean task for them. For such patients Portea offers the best at home healthcare services. The team of doctors and nurses offer a carefully planned knee joint pain treatment to bring about rapid knee joint pain relief to the patient by providing appropriate care and physiotherapy for osteoarthritis. So if you need any assistance with this debilitating disease then do reach out to us for an effective care and management of osteoarthritis of the knee.

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References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteoarthritis

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925

https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/

https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/default.htm

 

 

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