Osteoarthritis is a condition of the joints that occurs in any number of locations, but is commonly found in the knee. The most common symptom is pain and stiffness of the affected joint. As humans age, more cartilage is lost than formed, and pain may result after a certain amount of cartilage is lost.
The pain can be magnified first thing in the morning and later in the evening. In very serious cases of osteoarthritis of the knee, the total loss of cartilage can result in bone-on-bone friction that causes severe pain and limited mobility. Symptoms are different for every person, but it is common for people to not have any physical pain from osteoarthritis in the knee for years.
One of the main causes of osteoarthritis in the knee is being overweight or obese. The extra weight causes the knee to experience undue stress because they are regularly forced to support a weight that is too heavy. The disease can also be caused by repeated injuries or surgeries.
Over time, the knee experiences degenerative cartilage damage that can cause the knee to become bent inward or outward. This bowlegged curvature can ever cause people to limp or have limited walking ability, and often leads to the need for a total knee replacement.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is commonly diagnosed with a simple x-ray. The x-ray can identify loss of cartilage, bone spurs, and the narrowing of joint space. The method is also used to exclude causes of pain and help with the creation of a treatment plan.
Arthrocentesis involves removing fluid from the joint. The fluid is then analyzed to exclude infections, gout and other causes of arthritis. Often times, corticosteroids are injected into the knee joints to treat pain and inflammation.
Arthroscopy is a surgery that is used to detect knee damage and other abnormalities. In some cases, arthroscopy can be an effective way to repair knee damage caused by osteoarthritis in the knee.
Treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee
There are several treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee. They range from commonly used main supplements such as glucosamine and pain medication, to prescription drugs, weight loss and exercise regimens, and surgery.
It is important to see a doctor to properly diagnose osteoarthritis and create a treatment plan moving forward. In any case, signs and symptoms like those discussed above should never be ignored. Left untreated, the pain can get worse and cause serious damage. Talk with your health care provider today.