Do you have pain in your knee? Is it stiff and swollen in the morning? Does it hurt when you move?
If so, you may have knee osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it is caused by damage to the protective cartilage in the joint.
This is often called just “arthritis” because it is so common, and it is also referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis or bone-on-bone arthritis. It can happen to active adults and young athletes alike because it is due to frequent pressure that is squeezing and flattening the cartilage.
Let’s talk about knee osteoarthritis, its symptoms and treatment options, and where you can go in Fort Lauderdale to see a world-class orthopedic doctor who can provide lasting relief for your knee pain.
What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?
The knee is a hinge joint that connects the thighbone (femur, or the upper leg bone) to the shinbone (tibia, or the large lower-leg bone). The cartilage on the ends of the thighbone and shinbone in the knee joint helps them glide smoothly over each other as you move.
Knee osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the shinbone and thighbone gradually wears away. This leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the knee because these bones rub against each other as you move your leg.
Causes of Knee Arthritis
In addition to the wearing-down of the cartilage in the knee, osteoarthritis can cause bone changes and erode connective tissues that hold the joint together. This can result in inflammation, which can worsen the arthritis damage that is already being done to the knee.
Certain factors can put you at a greater risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, such as:
- Injury or trauma to the knee
- Bone deformity
- Metabolic disease
- Overuse of the knee joint
Signs of Knee Osteoarthritis
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee include:
- Pain: The knee joint which is affected with osteoarthritis can hurt during or after movement or activity.
- Stiffness: The affected knee joint might become stiff, especially upon awakening in the morning or after sitting or staying inactive for long periods of time.
- Swelling: The soft tissue around your knee joint may develop inflammation, which can cause your knee to puff up.
- Tenderness: The affected knee joint feels tender when applying light pressure around or near the knee.
- Loss of flexibility: Knee osteoarthritis might cause your knee joint to lose its full range of motion or flexibility.
- Grating sensation: When you move or use your knee, you might feel a grating sensation and/or hear a popping or cracking sound.
- Bone spur: You may feel one or more hard lumps around your affected knee. These hard lumps can be extra growths in the bone, called bone spurs, which develop due to the inflammation of osteoarthritis.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knees
Osteoarthritis cannot (yet) be reversed, but treatment can alleviate the pain and help you move better:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help reduce the pain and swelling of knee osteoarthritis. Topical pain relievers can also be applied to the affected joint to reduce pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy involves special exercises and stretches which will help you to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. The muscles can then take some of the pressure off of the knee itself. Your physical therapist will also help you improve your range of motion and reduce pain in your knee.
- Corticosteroid injections: Steroid injections are administered by your orthopedic doctor directly into your affected knee joint. They can reduce inflammation and pain.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy: PRP involves your doctor using a sample of your own blood cells, the platelets, to improve the healing process and reduce knee joint inflammation.
- Hyaluronic acid injections: Due to its similarity to natural joint fluid, hyaluronic acid is injected into your knee to help reduce pain and provide cushioning.
- Surgery: The surgical procedure for knee osteoarthritis is joint replacement surgery. In a joint replacement, your orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged joint tissues and structures and replaces them with prosthetic materials.
Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment in Fort Lauderdale, FL
If you suffer from knee arthritis and seek a lasting solution, schedule a consultation with our skilled orthopedic surgeon at Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Meli has been a trusted leader in orthopedic care in South Florida since 1990. He specializes in surgical and nonsurgical treatment of orthopedic conditions, including pain-relief injections and total knee replacement for treating knee arthritis.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at (954) 324-7711 or fill out our appointment request form online. We look forward to helping you get your knee back!