Your knees allow you to bend, sit, and walk hassle-free. However, when arthritis strikes, knee pain can stop you from working productively, leaving you frustrated and unhappy with the limitations it causes.
Awareness and education are vital to managing arthritis. Here are some essential facts you need to know about arthritic knee pain:
Causes And Types
Knee arthritis is the deterioration of joint cartilage, which protects the bones from rubbing against each other. There are many different types of knee arthritis, and the most common are the following:
Osteoarthritis is more common among older people but may also occur in younger adults. It causes knee cartilage to gradually wears away, exposing bone ends that meet at the joint to friction and damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes the joints’ synovial membrane to swell, causing stiffness, inflammation, and swelling in multiple joints at the same time. Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t usually affect one knee at a time.
A traumatic knee injury incurred in a car or sports accident may increase the risk of arthritis developing in the knee. Continuous joint damage may thin the cartilage, causing symptoms and the eventual development of arthritis.
Arthritic knees are pretty easy to detect because they experience similar chronic symptoms, such as the following:
Arthritis pain may begin slowly, appear suddenly, or progress unexpectedly, depending on the type of arthritis. Your knee may hurt when you climb stairs, sit, walk, or rise from sitting. Pain that just doesn’t go away, or gets worse with activity is a telltale sign of arthritis.
Swelling And Tenderness
Inflammation is a common symptom of an arthritic knee. You may observe an unusual swelling after waking up or in periods of inactivity. Other body organs like the eyes, heart, and lungs can be inflamed, too, if you have rheumatoid arthritis.
When the knee joint becomes damaged or erodes, it can become unleveled or develop bone spurs. That makes it challenging to straighten or bend the arthritic knee. Inflexibility is a telltale sign of arthritis.
Unusual Popping Sounds
You may have arthritis if you feel a cracking sensation and hear popping when bending your knee. When joint cartilage is damaged, bone spurs clash, producing a cracking sound.
Persistent inflammation may damage the joint cartilage, affecting your knee’s shape and appearance.
An arthritic knee may halt your mobility due to pain, resulting in muscle atrophy and weaker joints.
Anyone can develop an arthritic knee, but specific factors can heighten your chances of developing it, such as the following:
As you grow older, your joints’ connective tissues tend to degenerate and erode faster, leading to wear and tear and arthritis.
Patients with a history of arthritis have a higher likelihood of developing it, too.
People who frequently use their joints heavily, such as athletes, are more prone to an arthritic knee. Repetitive motion in sports may overstress the knee joints, resulting in the development of osteoarthritis.
Repeated injuries striking the knee can add more damage, leading to arthritis later down the road.
Overweight or obese people have an excess body weight that may burden the knees to work harder than normal, leading to more wear and tear than usual, which can lead to arthritis.
Your doctor may order a physical examination, imaging tests, or laboratory procedures to diagnose your arthritic knee.
During a physical examination, your doctor will check your knee for joint swelling, warmth, and unusual redness. They may ask about your medical records and family history, and determine if your pain is from lifestyle or hereditary factors.
You may need to get imaging tests done, like:
- X-ray to examine the knee structure and eliminate certain causes of pain
- CT scan or MRI to know if there is damage to the soft tissue protecting the knee
Lab tests can help identify rheumatoid arthritis by checking for an antibody factor. A uric acid test can also help differentiate gout from other arthritis types.
It may be bothersome to have an arthritic knee, but there are many ways you try to prevent one.
Make sure you have a healthy weight, as added body weight can stress out your knees.
Do not force yourself to lift heavy items. If you have an injury, refrain from any intense activity. You may also use knee accessories or pads to prevent damage when playing sports and other activities.
Healthy And Proactive Lifestyle
Exercise regularly to train the joints to be flexible and adaptable to movement. Avoid unhealthy vices, get good quality sleep, and refrain from consuming high-sugar meals to prevent cartilage stiffening.
Non-surgical treatments can help alleviate knee arthritis symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition. These include:
- Ice and compression
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Knee braces
- Exercise limitations
- Steroid and anti-inflammatory injections
If non-operative procedures are unhelpful, your doctor may suggest surgery, like:
Your surgeon will insert a small device with a camera into the knee joint to examine the area for issues. They may use small tools to remove unwanted bone fragments and make repairs through tiny incisions using miniature tools.
Osteotomy aims to reposition and realign the bones in the knee joint.
Your surgeon may use a cartilage graft from another body part to protect the knee joint.
Joint replacement is where the surgeon replaces a part or the entire damaged joint with an artificial substitute.
Arthritic Knee Treatment In Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Being well-versed in the fundamentals of knee arthritis can help save you from unnecessary suffering. Knee arthritis can be persistent, but the right orthopedic provider can make relief easier to achieve.
Dr. Paul Meli is a renowned and respected orthopedic doctor in South Florida. With his decades of experience, he and his team can help you receive personalized care for your orthopedic needs. If you want to know more about our specialties, call us at (954) 324-7711 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!