What is knee arthritis?
Knee arthritis means a break down of the knee joint cartilage and a decrease in the joint’s functionality by extension. The joint movements become more limited and the legs become deformed over time.
Who might suffer from knee arthritis?
Though people over the age of 45 are more likely to have knee arthritis, it may occur in young people too. Women are more likely to have knee arthritis than men.
What are the causes of knee arthritis?
Age: Cartilage structures lose their ability to recover with increasing age. Every person, despite not complaining about it, will suffer from different levels of arthritis in his/her old age.
Weight: The load and pressure on the knees are much more in overweight people. Every pound gained means 3-4 pounds more weight on knee joints.
Hereditary causes: There may be genetic modifications that cause knee arthritis. Deformations in the knee joint based on genetic abnormalities may also cause arthritis.
Gender: Women are more likely to have arthritis especially after 55.
Difficult and repetitive activities: It is generally developed due to occupational activities. People that work in jobs which require bending, kneeling or lifting heavy weights are more likely to have arthritis based on overloading the knee joints.
Physical activities: Football and tennis players are more likely to have knee arthritis as well as professional athletes.
Other diseases: Patients of rheumatoid arthritis often have knee arthritis as well.
What are the symptoms of knee arthritis?
How is knee arthritis diagnosed?
Your doctor will listen to your complaints and conduct a physical examination. Do not forget to tell your doctor about which activities/states cause or increase the pain. Your doctor will request x-rays from you. X-rays allow your doctor to see the deformations in bones and cartilages of your knee joint. Your doctor may also request MRI in order to know about the state of ligaments and meniscuses in your knee joint.
What are the treatment methods for knee arthritis?
The main purposes of treatment in knee arthritis are to remove the pain and to increase the functionality.
Losing weight: Losing a few pounds can decrease the pain by reducing the load on knee joints.
Physical exercise: Strengthening the muscles around the knee can protect the durability of the knee joint and relieve the pain.
Medical treatment: It helps in controlling the pain. It is not advisable for long periods due to side effects.
Intra-articular injections: Intra-articular cortisone injection helps in controlling the pain and taking down the swelling. It is a rarely used method due to its unwanted side effects. Hyaluronic acid is a material that is naturally found in the synovial fluid. This material provides smoother mobility of bones over one another and shock absorption in distributing the weight on the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid preparates are reported to increase the cartilage formation inside the joint. Recently, we have started stem cell injections inside the knee. Stem cell therapies like PRP and Ortokine can provide some treatment in knee arthritis and decrease the need for replacement surgery.