Osteoarthritis is one of the most common bone problems people suffer from worldwide. However, 4/5th of the people with arthritis have knee OA.
As a result, doctors are more concerned with spreading awareness about osteoarthritis in the knees and helping people identify the early symptoms. Since it is a generative disease, there is no other treatment than replacing the knees with artificial knee caps.
But if treated on time, people can benefit greatly from pain medications, treatment processes, and relief. But many people do not know the primary symptoms of knee arthritis, let alone recognize them on time and get the required treatment.
Therefore, we have discussed the significant symptoms of arthritis in the knee and the suitable treatment processes.
Understanding Knee Arthritis
The knee joint is synovial, covering the bones with a cartilage layer. In most arthritis types, the cartilage layer wears off, or the bone inflames, causing degeneration and swelling. It leads to intense knee pain, rendering you immobile for a long time.
Before we further learn about the symptoms or causes of arthritis, let’s look at the common types of knee arthritis people usually experience.
- The most common form of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis. It is a condition when the knee bone starts degenerating, and the cartilage layer wears off, thereby increasing friction between the bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is where the bones and cartilages swell up, causing bone deformation and excessive pain.
- Psoriatic arthritis is also increasing in number, where the body’s immune system attacks the healthy cells in the bones and cartilage in your knee.
- Another common type of arthritis is gout. Here, calcium deposition in the bones leads to swelling and pain.
The two leading causes of arthritis are age and obesity. Older people usually have higher chances of suffering from arthritis, along with people who are obese. Since these are generative diseases, the primary risk factor will be immobility. Sometimes, the cartilage and ligament in the knee region swell up, causing excessive pain by simply moving the leg.
Early Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
It is essential to understand that arthritis is a degenerative disease with almost no treatment, mainly when it is identified in later stages. That’s why you must understand the initial symptoms of knee arthritis, regardless of what type it is.
- Pain and Stiffness in the Knee
One of the significant symptoms of arthritis in the knee is pain that increases with slight movements in your legs. If you have deformative arthritis, you might have pain in standing or sitting for a long time as the bones become stiff and sore. For example, you will feel a sharp and shooting pain while getting up from a sitting position or walking from a resting position.
- Swelling and Tenderness Around the Knee Joint
As previously discussed, the cartilage and ligament swell once you suffer from knee arthritis. As a result, you will find the external part swelling and becoming tender. In addition, a simple touch of your finger will send shooting pain, proving the worsening situation of the bones.
- Difficulty in Movement and Walking
The bones will have increased friction with the cartilage layer wearing off from the bone surfaces in the knee region. As a result, there will be a burning sensation in the advanced stages, causing difficulties during walking and movements of the legs. The pain will also result from increased bone stiffness, cartilage, and ligaments.
- Cracking or Popping Sounds in the Knee
Sometimes, you can hear a popping sound that almost assembles a crack when you bend or flex your knees. It is also a primary sign of knee arthritis requiring immediate appropriate treatment.
Treatment Options for Knee Arthritis
There are many processes for the treatment of arthritis in the knees. Some of these involve therapeutic and rehabilitation techniques, while others are surgical. Based on the current condition of your knees and the extent of degeneration, your doctor will provide appropriate guidance on the best treatment method.
The primary treatment is in the form of medicines. First, your doctor will prescribe specific pain and anti-inflammatory drugs to ensure you can move your legs and continue with regular locomotion. It’s usually efficient at the beginning phase when the degeneration has just started. Usually, doctors suggest any of these three medicines to treat arthritis in the knees.
NSAIDs are readily available in any medicine store and can leave nominal pain. However, you cannot take medicines for long without a proper medical prescription. Corticosteroids are another medication type that will alter the level of cortex hormones in the body, thereby reducing inflammation.
Another effective treatment process for knee arthritis is physical therapy. First and foremost, a physiotherapist will perform specific exercises to increase the mobility and range of motion in your knees. If the degeneration weight is pretty high, you might have to use braces for the knees or crutches as additional support until you can move around quickly.
Steroid injection injections are often administered to reduce inflammation and trigger the release of more glucosamine with collagen fibres in the knee joint. With glucosamine, the friction between the bone surfaces reduces significantly, improving the overall arthritis condition. Sometimes, hyaluronic acid injection is also in some cases, especially when the surfaces of bones in the knee joint dry excessively.
The last form of treatment for osteoarthritis or any other type of knee arthritis is surgery. Your doctor can suggest an arthroscopic surgery where a small tube will be inserted inside your body having a camera. It is a minimally invasive surgical method with a higher success rate and reduced recovery time. For example, if your knee has 50% damage, your doctor might suggest a partial knee replacement, while for 90 to 95% damage, doctors go for a total knee replacement.
With knee arthritis treatments without surgery and with surgery available, you won’t have to worry about it making you immobile or causing immense pain throughout your life. However, you must understand that it is only possible to identify the symptoms early and start the proper treatment immediately.
Since arthritis is a degenerative disease, the chances of 100% recovery are next to impossible. So, these treatment methods discussed above will prevent the condition from worsening further.