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An Overview of Knee Arthritis

An Overview of Knee Arthritis

  • Admin
  • May 29, 2018

If you have knee pain, you could have arthritis. In addition to discomfort, you might have stiffness, swelling, locking, creaking, grinding or clicking in your knees, as well as weakness and buckling. Even though there are over 100 different types of knee arthritis, yours likely falls into one of three main types.

Osteoarthritis

The most common type, osteoarthritis occurs when the knee joint cartilage has worn down. Bone grinds against bone as the space in the joint narrows, resulting in painful spurs. Osteoarthritis occurs most often in those aged 50 years and older, but younger people can also feel its impact. Risk factors for this condition include advancing age, female gender, obesity and genetic susceptibility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune condition. This means that the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, in this case the anatomy of the knee. It behaves in a symmetrical fashion, so if you have pain in the same joints on both sides of your body, it could be this form of arthritis.

Rather than the degeneration and wear and tear that is seen in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the synovial membrane of the knee joint, as well as bone softening. The inflammation that causes rheumatoid arthritis can cause symptoms to flare and fade, as well as cause other changes throughout the body such as fatigue and muscle ache. If you have a family history of RA, are female and between the ages of 40 and 60, you have a higher chance of developing this condition.

Post-traumatic Arthritis

If you have knee pain after recovering from an injury such as a ligament tear or broken bone, you may have post-traumatic arthritis. This type of knee pain happens when the joint surface is damaged from injury, or when injury-related structural instability causes knee joint wear and tear. If you play sports or are in situations that can result in physical trauma, you are at risk for this type of arthritis.

Treatment

Fortunately, there is treatment available to ease the symptoms of knee arthritis. Lifestyle changes can help, such as losing weight and avoiding activities that can bother your knees. Physical therapy can increase your flexibility and strength. Heat, ice, topical pain relievers, shock-absorbing shoe inserts and knee braces can all make a difference.

Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs can also relieve the pain of knee arthritis. When all else fails, there are surgical options to discuss with your care team, such as arthroscopy, cartilage grafting and synovectomy. You may even be a candidate for a knee replacement.

The sooner knee arthritis is identified and treated, the better your chance for slowing its progression. If you have knee pain, see your doctor to identify the cause and start treatment.

Sources

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/arthritis-of-the-knee/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766936/

https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14616-post-traumatic-arthritis

https://www.arthritis.org/Documents/Sections/About-Arthritis/arthritis-facts-stats-figures.pdf

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/knee-arthritis-americans-has-doubled-1940

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