Dealing With Arthritis in Knee Joints

Dealing With Arthritis in Knee Joints

Mitchell K. Freedman, D.O. October 12th, 2015

Your knees play a fundamental role in almost every part of your day. From the moment you get out of bed in the morning, they are there to support you and help you to perform the activities you love. Patients who suffer from arthritis in knee joints can go through a painful experience. 

Fortunately, Rothman Institute doctors are experts in orthopaedic medicine, and can help with pain from arthritis in knee joints, beginning by answering some common questions about the condition.
What is knee arthritis?
The term “arthritis in knee joints” refers to inflammation of the joint where the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) connect, as well as the patella (kneecap bone) which protects it. This condition can cause pain, redness, swelling, and instability of the joint. 
There are many forms of knee arthritis. However, the most common is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. This disease is characterized by erosion of the cartilage in the knee, causing the bones to rub together.

Who gets knee arthritis?
Although anyone can suffer from arthritis in knee joints, but there are some factors that make a person more likely to develop this condition. Age plays a large role in the development of knee arthritis, as the most common form, osteoarthritis, is the physical erosion of cartilage from wear-and-tear over time. Individuals who are middle-aged or older are therefore more likely to develop knee arthritis. Family history may also contribute to your risk of developing knee arthritis. If your parents suffered from arthritis, you are more likely to develop it than someone with no family history. Obesity is also a factor in the development of knee arthritis. Extra weight puts additional strain on the weight-bearing joints of the body, causing faster erosion of cartilage. 
How can I decrease pain from arthritis in knee joints?
Depending on your particular symptoms, the cause of your arthritis, and your overall medical history, your doctor may recommend different options for treatment. Some of these may include:
  • Physical Therapy can help improve joint mobility and reduce pain.

  • Light, low-impact exercise keeps joints moving and healthy, while reducing the risk of further injury.

  • Reduced participation in high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, relieves the extra strain put on the joints by these activities.

  • Rest can help to reduce inflammation from repeated friction and pressure.

  • Weight loss leads to reduced pressure and wear on arthritic joints.

  • Assistive devices, such as braces or canes, can support and stabilize a joint.

  • Over the counter medications for pain and inflammation can be effective in treating the pain of mild to moderate arthritis.

Often, lifestyle changes and non-operative treatment options such as those listed above can be enough to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and restore your mobility. In more severe cases, however, your doctor may recommend surgical treatment options. These may include knee arthroscopy or total knee replacement surgery. Before beginning any treatment for arthritis, however, it is important to talk with a doctor about your symptoms. 
If you or a loved one is suffering from the pain of knee arthritis, the doctors at Rothman Institute can help. With knee specialists available at 20 convenient offices in the greater Philadelphia region, Rothman Institute is a leader in orthopaedic medicine. Call today for an appointment at 800.321.9999.

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