If you are dealing with chronic knee pain, read through the list below to find out whether the discomfort you are experiencing may be due to osteoarthritis in the knee:
- The knee is swollen and painful
- Bending the joint is difficult
- You cannot straightening the knee entirely
- Pain is worst first thing in the morning and then after activity (such as walking up stairs)
- There is a general feeling of weakness in the knee
- The joint sometimes buckles or locks
- There is a clicking or catching sensation when you walk
How Did I Get Osteoarthritis in the Knee?
If you read through the list above and found that all of most of the criteria applied to your knee pain, then you are probably suffering from degenerative joint disease. Now you may be wondering how you ended up with this condition. Well, let’s take a step back and look at the basic anatomy of the knee itself.
All About the Knee
Your knee is the joint where two major bones come together - the thigh bone, which is called the femur and the front, lower leg bone, which is the tibia. The third bone that makes up the knee is the actual knee cap (patella) that covers the front of the joint and protects the ligaments inside. Inside the knee, four strong ligaments stretch from bone to bone in order to hold the joint and provide stability and range of motion. And, as mentioned, on the ends of the bones, cartilage acts as a cushion so that when you perform weight bearing functions, your bones are not sitting on top of or rubbing against one another.
And here is where the problem lies. For most of your life before you had arthritis, you probably never even thought twice about why you could run, walk, squat, jump and land from that jump without any pain. That is because you were benefitting from the existence of healthy cartilage in your knees. The cartilage is what keeps you from feeling the painful impact of bone-on-bone contact when you move.
But when cartilage wears away over the years, the pain becomes apparent and the knee joint ceases to function as it should. Osteoarthritis in the knee is a degenerative disease. This means that it is a “wear and tear” condition - one that results simply due to natural use and break down over time. However, it is also worse in those who have a genetic predisposition toward cartilage loss. In other words, if someone in your family had osteoarthritis, there is a greater chance that you may also suffer from this disease.
Finding a Solution for Severe Knee Arthritis
While some cases of arthritis are milder and may be addressed with non-surgical techniques such as, physical therapy, steroid injections, Visco supplementation and platelet rich plasma therapies, others may have progressed to a point of severity that requires knee replacement.
First, let’s look at some of the possible, non-surgical treatment options for osteoarthritis in the knee:
- Change your workout routine - switch to swimming and cycling
- Make an effort to shed some pounds if you are overweight
- Ask your doctor about a plan for a physical therapy program
- Do daily stretches to maintain and improve range of motion
- Wear a brace or a supportive wrap on your knee for added support
- Apply heat or ice, depending on the recommendation of your physician
If these conservative treatment options are not enough to reduce the pain and help you return to an enjoyable lifestyle, then it’s time to consider the solution of total knee replacement surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is recommended for those patients whose knee cartilage is so severely damaged that a prosthesis is the best option. During the procedure, the surface of the joint is removed and the ends of the bone are fortified with new material to replace what used to be cartilage.
Not only will this solution relieve pain, but it offers the benefit of returning full function of your knees. You no longer have to put up with irritating, painful arthritis in your knees. Call Rothman Institute today at 1-800-321-9999 to speak with a qualified medical professional about your individual case.