Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints cartilages wears and shock-absorbing benefits of cartilages are decreased
What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis?
- Age. The cartilage decreases as a person gets older.
- Over weight. Weight increases pressure on all the joints, especially the knees.
- Gender. Women ages 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Repetitive stress injuries. People with certain jobs that include a lot of activity such as kneeling, or lifting heavy weights are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Athletics. Athletes involved in tennis, or long-distance running may be at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee.
What Are the Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis?
- Formation of bone spurs
- Pain that increases when you are active, but decreases with rest
- Feeling of warmth in the joint
- Stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or after sitting for a long time
- Decrease in mobility of the knee, making it difficult to use the stairs, or walk
- Crepitus, or grinding sensation when you move the joint
- knee giving way because of knee weakness or the unstable joint structure
- bent and bowed knee (in severe cases)
- Thin and waste of muscles around knee
Risk factors for knee osteoarthritis
While age is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, young people can get it, too. The chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45. Women are more subjected to osteoarthritis than men. Many factors can increase risk of osteoarthritis of the knee including:
- if your parents have had osteoarthritis
- if you have had history of knee injury or trauma
- if you have had a history of operation on knee, for example surgery on menisci or ligaments
- If you do a hard, repetitive activity or a physically demanding job.
- If you have joint disease which has injured your joints, for example rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
How Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treated?
The primary goals of treating osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility. The treatment probably needs a combination of the following:
- Weight loss. Losing even a small amount of weight in obese subjects can significantly decrease knee pain.
- Exercise. Stretching and strengthening the muscles around the knee (quadriceps muscles) makes the joint more stable and decreases pain.
One of the best exercises for reinforcement of anterior knee muscles include: sit on the chair, elevate your leg until knee become straight, keep this position for 10s and release it. Again repeat this exercise for 30 times.
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Don’t take over-the-counter medications without checking with your doctor.
- Injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the knee.
- Using assistive devices such as knee braces. Braces support the knee and reduce pain by compressing it.
Physical therapy. knee strengthening and stretching exercise program which increase flexibility of knee joint are effective in reducing pain
- Heat or icing. Using a warming pad for a few minutes can relax a stiff knee joint making activity easier. Icing the knee joint for 15 or 20 minutes after activity can decrease swelling and provide some immediate pain relief.
- Surgery. When other treatments don’t work, surgery is a good option.