Treatment Options for Knee Arthritis

Knee Anatomy

Knee Anatomy

The knee is the largest joint in the body and is made up of three individual bones, including the shin bone (tibia), the thigh bone (femur) and the knee cap (patella). The knee joint is lined with cartilage to protect the bones from rubbing against each other. This cartilage ensures that the joint surface can glide easily over one another.

About Arthritis

There are two common types of knee arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA):

OA or the degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis (also known as synovial disease). OA is a chronic condition characterised by the breakdown of the joints cartilage. The breakdown of the cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement of the joint. It is associated with aging and most typically begins among people aged 50 years or older.

A young person, who develops OA, typically has had an injury to the knee or may have other pathological conditions.

Characteristics / Symptoms of Knee OA

  • Pain in and around the knee joint
  • Morning stiffness
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Occasional night pain
  • Restrict continuous walking for just a few steps
  • Unable to stand for long

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid arthritis ,which generally affects people at a younger age than OA, is an autoimmune disease. This means it occurs as a result of the immune system attacking its own cartilage of the body.

RA generally attacks all joints of the body. This disease is commonly known as the crippling disease.

Treatment Options at Different Stages for OA

      1. Medication:
        If you suffer from mild to moderate OA pain, your doctor may recommend you a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) based on your disease condition. While NSAIDs can reduce symptoms, they do not stop or improve underlying condition of the disease.
      2. Exercise:
        As your OA advances, your doctor may recommend a change in your physical activities to help reduce the pain and inflammation in your joints. Some of the suggestions he might give are:

        • Physiotherapy aims to restore function to the maximum possible degree
        • Obesity aggravates the symptoms of OA. You may be recommended weight loss as a way to relieve some of the stress on your joints and reduce pain and inflammation

        However, these treatment options provide symptomatic relief from pain but cannot cure or arrest the progression of the disease.

      3. Surgical Option:
        When you can no longer manage the pain through non-surgical treatments or deal with the loss of mobility caused by your severe OA, surgery is the final option.

Arthroscopy

When OA sets in joints, small pieces of cartilage tend to wear away from the joint surface and float around inside the joint. This debris causes inflammation and pain. In certain cases of OA, arthroscopy is used to remove some of the debris and provide temporary pain relief and improving mobility.

Joint Replacement

Medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment help manage the pain and stiffness.

However, if osteoarthritis has progressed to the point where bone is rubbing against bone, knee replacement to replace the damaged bone and cartilage can be an effective option to help relieve pain, improving mobility and allow people to return to doing the activities they love.

Knee Replacement

Knee Arthroplasty helps to relieve pain and restore function and mobility for arthritis pain sufferers.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended to you by your doctor as a solution for

  • Severe knee pain, inflammation and stiffness
  • Loss of movement
  • Knee deformity

There are two kinds of knee replacements.

  • Total knee replacement is replacing your damaged natural knee joint with an artificial one to help you regain movement and flexibility.
  • Partial knee replacement is intended to preserve the healthy knee structures, and may restore normal knee motion and function.

Knee Replacement

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