What is knee arthritis?
Aside from age and genes, knee arthritis can develop from repetitive stress injuries. These kinds of injuries are synonymous with certain jobs and sports that involve stress at the knee joint: kneeling, squatting, or heavy lifting. Some sports are also thought to cause its onset, including football, tennis and long-distance running. Weak muscles surrounding the knee can lead to arthritis –regular and moderate exercise helps to strengthen these muscles and therefore decrease the risk of knee arthritis.
- Gradually developing pain in knee joint (although sudden onset is not uncommon)
- Joint stiffness
- Weakness of knee, leading to ‘locking’ or ‘buckling’
- Weather-sensitive degrees of pain
Generally, there are three main types of knee arthritis:
Osteoarthritis in the knee begins with the gradual deterioration of cartilage. Osteoarthritis is the most common; a slow, degenerative disease that is characterized by the erosion of the cushion layer between bones. Without the protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, loss of mobility, and deformity. The majority of arthritis cases involving the knee are osteoarthritic cases. Osteoarthritis is also referred to as a degenerative joint disease and mostly occurs during middle age.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory-based disease that degrades the cartilage lining of the joints and causes swelling that is painful and can lead to joint deformity, worsening over time. However, unlike osteoarthritis, it is likely to occur at any age, and generally affects both knees.
Post-traumatic arthritis is the result of injury to the knee. Like osteoarthritis, it can develop years after a fracture, injury or tear.
There is no permanent cure to arthritis, the course of the disease can be modified so to lessen the damage, making the patient more comfortable so that they can still enjoy every-day activities. Treatment is most effective when begun as early as possible, before the process of deformity is far progressed, but some relief can be offered by treatment at any stage. Some of the most common recommendations include avoiding activities that make the pain worse and the application of a cooling therapy.
Patients have dramatically reduced the pain and inflammation suffered by applying a Physicool bandage size B to the knee for 30 minutes a time throughout the day. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, and the use of physical therapy to promote function without risking further injury is effective for most patients. Exercises are performed that do not place additional stress or weight on the knee joint. Supportive devices like knee braces can be used to provide stability.