Knee Arthritis Treatment
What is Knee Arthritis?
Knee Arthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that normally cushions and lubricates the bones within the knee wears down, causing pain, swelling, and hampered movement. In the case of arthritis of the knee, the cartilage in question covers the bottom of the femur (thigh bone) behind the knee cap and the top of the tibia (shin bone).
As this cushion of cartilage wears down, the bones can begin rubbing against each other, rubbing against surrounding tissue, and developing growths called spurs, all of which lead to pain, swelling, and a “locked” or weakened joint. Once this happens, an effective Knee Arthritis Treatment is required to help alleviate the symptoms.
There are three common types of arthritis that affect the knee:
- Osteoarthritis – the most common form of knee arthritis, osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative disease in which the cartilage wears away over time, often affecting middle age and older adults.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammatory condition that destroys joint cartilage, usually affecting both knees at once, found in young and old alike.
- Post-traumatic arthritis – damage to the cartilage initially caused by an injury to the knee, although symptoms may show up years after the injury.
So, nearly anyone can potentially suffer from this common cause of chronic knee pain, which require prompt knee arthritis treatment to address.
Knee Arthritis Treatment
Relieving the pain caused by arthritis of the knee requires that you:
- Reduce the inflammation
- Lessen or eliminate the causes of knee joint stress
- Strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee
- Support the patella and the knee structure during activity
While there is no cure for arthritis, there is knee arthritis treatment, and you should note pain relief and a slowing of the progression of the condition if you can accomplish those goals.
Doctors providing knee arthritis treatment will recommend the following options for accomplishing this:
- OTC Pain Relievers – Take Motrin, Advil, or other over-the-counter pain relievers that contain ibuprofen or naproxen to help lessen the inflammation and ease pain.
- Cold or Warm Compresses – When the pain is especially bad, wrapping the knees in ice (to lessen inflammation) and/or warm compresses (to encourage circulation) can be helpful in easing the flare up.
- Stretches – Stretch your quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings repeatedly before, during, and after exercise to keep the muscles and tendons limber.
- Strengthening – Strength training focused on balanced conditioning of the knee joint and surrounding muscles will help stabilize and strengthen the entire structure.
- Compression Knee Product – Purchase a compression knee sleeve, knee brace, or other knee stabilizing support that will apply medical grade pressure to the joint during activity, reducing strain and allowing it to stay active while easing pain.
- Surgery – Several surgical options exist that range from arthroscopic shaping of the affected areas to complete replacement of the joint.
PLEASE NOTE: While some or all of these options may be effective in temporarily easing the pain of plantar fasciitis, they can also be difficult, costly, uncomfortable, and even dangerous!
Knee Arthritis Symptoms
- Progressively worsening pain in the knee
- Swelling of the joint
- Knee buckling
- A grinding or locking sensation in the knee when in use
- In extensive cases, the joint can become misshapen
While the three types of knee arthritis have different causes, the symptoms are essentially the same for all three and they all require knee arthritis treatment to reduce and prevent painful symptoms.
Sufferers experience intense pain in the knees that is most pronounced early in the morning, immediately after a long period of inactivity, or after use. Many individuals note that changes in humidity and barometric pressure have a direct effect on their knee pain, with a flare up accompanying a coming storm, for instance.
Knee pain from arthritis can sometimes be so intense that the joint weakens and buckles or locks, preventing movement temporarily. For this reason, those who suffer from arthritis of the knees – especially older ones – must beware of potential falls.
As the condition progresses, the knee joint can become permanently misshapen and swollen due to scar tissue and bone spurs that develop where the cartilage has worn away.
Knee Arthritis Causes and Risk Factors
- Over the age of 45
- More common in women than men (although not by much)
- Family history of arthritis
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Intense athletics (especially long-distance running)
- Repetitive stress injuries
Unfortunately, to a large extent, arthritis is simply part of getting older. The majority of adults over the age of 45 suffer from knee arthritis, with women being slightly more likely to develop the condition than men. As we age, our cartilage naturally wears down and loses elasticity. As a result, few people live their entire lives without facing it.
There are other factors, however, which increase the chances knee arthritis will develop, or that will bring it on at a lower age.
Carrying excess weight is very hard on the joints, especially the knees, and will wear down cartilage faster than maintaining a healthy weight.
There are some hereditary factors involved in how resilient your cartilage is to decay. So, if your parents and grandparents suffered from knee arthritis, there’s a good chance you will too. If they did not, you may be among the fortunate few at lower risk.
A balanced level of physical activity has proven to be best for preventing or staving off arthritis of the knees. While certain athletes involved in intense running-related exercise (such as marathoners, soccer players, etc.) have a greater chance of developing knee arthritis due to the repetitive stress placed on their joints, those who are sedentary are also at high risk since their joints are weaker and more prone to the stress and injury stronger joints can better withstand.
A regular schedule of low-impact activity such as walking, biking, or swimming several times a week can strike that balance – strengthening the knee joints without causing undue stress and damage to the cartilage.