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What Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

what is osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis affects millions worldwide, especially the knee. It causes cartilage breakdown leading to pain and stiffness. This article covers its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. By gaining a better understanding of knee osteoarthritis, people can become more empowered to seek appropriate care and improve their overall joint health.

Causes

Osteoarthritis of the knee can arise due to various factors, including:

  • Aging: As we grow older, our joints experience natural degeneration and wear and tear, which may result in osteoarthritis.
  • Excess body weight: Being overweight or obese puts additional pressure on the knee joint, elevating the risk of cartilage damage.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may have an inherent inclination towards developing osteoarthritis due to their genetic makeup.
  • Trauma: Prior injury or damage to the knee such as tears in the ligaments or meniscus increase susceptibility to osteoarthritis.
  • Repetitive strain: Activities that involve repetitive stress to the knee joint, like running or jumping, can gradually cause cartilage damage.
  • Bone density reduction: Medical conditions that lead to reduced bone density, such as osteoporosis, make the knee joint more prone to osteoarthritis.

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Symptoms

The indications of osteoarthritis of the knee may comprise:

  • Pain: Pain in the knee is a prevalent sign of osteoarthritis and can vary from moderate to severe.
  • Stiffness: The knee joint may feel inflexible, particularly after long periods of sitting or lying down.
  • Swelling: Inflammation can cause the knee to become swollen and sore.
  • Restricted mobility: Osteoarthritis may make it difficult to move the knee joint, restricting everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing up from a chair.
  • Cracking or popping sounds: Patients may hear crepitus, crunching or popping noise when moving their knee joint.
  • Bone lumps: Osteoarthritis can lead to bony outgrowths around the knee joint known as bone spurs, making joint movement painful.
  • Muscle weakness: Long-term knee pain may cause muscle weakness in the leg, limiting mobility and worsening discomfort.

Individuals expressing these symptoms should consult a doctor to diagnose whether they have osteoarthritis of the knee or another condition and receive appropriate treatment.

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Treatment

To manage osteoarthritis of the knee, patients can adopt various treatment methods based on their condition severity and individual requirements. The common approaches include:

  • Medication: They may use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to mitigate knee pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist may devise a tailor-made exercise regime, enhancing flexibility, strengthening knee muscles, and alleviating joint stiffness.
  • Weight management: Reducing excess weight can minimize pressure on the knee joint and slow down osteoarthritis progression.
  • Assistive aids: Unloading knee braces, crutches, or canes can lower pressure on the knee joint and alleviate movement discomfort.
  • Injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the knee joint can reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, knee joint replacement surgery using an artificial one may be necessary.
  • Alternative remedies: Complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage, and dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may also alleviate symptoms.

Effective osteoarthritis of the knee treatment plan depends on factors like joint damage degree, age, and overall health. Healthcare practitioners can help evaluate which treatment methods are most suitable for each patient’s unique circumstances.

Prevention

Preventing osteoarthritis of the knee involves maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular low-impact exercise, protecting the knees during physical activity, eating a balanced diet, avoiding repetitive stress, and seeking prompt medical attention for knee injuries.

By adopting these preventative measures, individuals can reduce their risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee and preserve their joint health.

Reference

Knee Osteoarthritis / Wear & Tear – What Exercises To Do

Emily Brook

Emily Brook

Hi, I'm Emily, a Health and Fitness Specialist with FivaliFitness. With years of experience in the fitness industry as a certified personal trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals achieve their health and fitness goals.

Whether you're new to fitness or an experienced athlete, our products and resources are designed to support and enhance your fitness journey. So, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at any time!

*Disclaimer
The information provided in articles written by Fivali is intended for educational and reference purposes only. The content on this website (www.fivalifitness.com) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We do not recommend self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on the information provided in our articles. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your health or well-being.
If you are experiencing any symptoms or discomfort, we strongly encourage you to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Only a licensed healthcare practitioner can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

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