Knee arthritis is a medical condition that impacts the largest joint in the body, the knee joint. It is a type of arthritis that develops when the supporting cartilage in the knee joint starts to deteriorate, resulting in discomfort, stiffness, and a restricted range of motion. Knee arthritis has common symptoms like pain, stiffness, swelling, tenderness, and a grating or crackling feeling in the joint.
It affects around 500 million people around the globe, making it the fifth most common medical condition diagnosed globally. Some common risk factors for knee arthritis include obesity, past knee injuries, or family history.
Knee arthritis can significantly adversely impact a person’s mobility and capacity to carry out daily tasks, triggering pain and stiffness. A person’s quality of life and mental health can both be negatively impacted by knee arthritis.
Aside from the physical and emotional stress of knee arthritis, it can also be costly to manage. According to a study in India, knee treatment can cost up to 152 million dollars. This estimate excluded the low wages of the affected individual.
Are There Types of Knee Arthritis?
There are many types of arthritis based on varying factors that can cause knee pain. It’s important to understand what type of knee arthritis you have to get the correct knee arthritis treatment. We have listed the most to least common arthritis. Keep in mind that the symptoms may vary from person to person according to their eating habits, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions.
The most prevalent type of knee arthritis is a degenerative condition caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage in the knee joint.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is a chronic autoimmune condition that results in inflammation, swelling, and destruction of the joint tissue when the immune system assaults the lining of the joints. It may result in sporadic symptoms over time and can affect any joint, including the knee.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis
This kind of arthritis may appear following a fracture or ligament tear in the knee. It may develop gradually due to joint deterioration and cause pain, edema, and stiffness in the affected knee.
- Gouty Arthritis
Caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint. This condition can result in sudden outbreaks of excruciating pain, swelling, and inflammation in the knee joint.
- Psoriatic Arthritis
It is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting some people with psoriasis. It causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and can damage joints over time.
- Septic and Reactive Arthritis
Both are caused by an infection in the knee joint, making it extremely painful, swollen, and stiff. It can be a medical emergency that has to be treated immediately with antibiotics.
Treatment Options for Knee Arthritis
- Non-Surgical Treatment
Improvement in lifestyle can go a long way to help treat arthritis in the knees. The most effective changes are regular exercise and avoiding activities that may trigger the pain. Expert physical therapy in the early stages of knee arthritis prevents it from worsening. Prescribed medication like painkillers and anti-inflammatory pills.
- Surgical Treatment
Your practitioner may advise getting surgery if they see that non-surgical treatment is not providing long-term relief. Some of these treatments are provided below:
- Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that may be used to remove damaged tissue or bone spurs in the knee joint.
- Osteotomy is a surgical procedure that includes cutting and relocating the bones in the knee joint to help adjust the weight and reduce strain on the afflicted area.
- Joint Replacement is the last resort for the most severe cases of knee pain.
What to Expect From Treatment?
The main objective of knee arthritis treatment is to reduce pain. Pain and inflammation in the body are controlled with the previously mentioned non-surgical methods. In some circumstances, surgical therapies such as arthroscopy, osteotomy, and joint replacement are advised to alleviate symptoms and enhance mobility. With proper treatment for knee arthritis, flexibility and mobility will improve to enhance the individual’s quality of life.
Are There Risks Involved?
Non-surgical treatments, such as medicines, might cause stomach irritation and a greater risk of bleeding. Physical treatment may sometimes induce muscle soreness during and after sessions. Invasive treatments, including arthroscopy and joint replacement, come with risks of infection, bleeding, and nerve or blood vessel injury.
Moreover, some may adversely react to anaesthesia. It’s necessary to adhere to all post-treatment instructions to minimize the likelihood of complications.
What to Do After Treatment?
After every treatment for arthritis in the knees, regardless of whether it is surgical or not, there will be physical therapy advised by your health provider. Patients should timely visit their doctor to prevent further complications and ensure that it is properly treated.
When to Consider Surgery
There are three main factors your practitioner will consider before recommending surgery:
- The severity of Knee Arthritis
- They will check how badly the pain affects your daily activities.
- Your response to non-surgical treatment. If they notice that oral medication and exercise are not as effective.
Non-surgical treatments for knee arthritis include dietary improvements, physical therapy, and medicines. Surgical methods like arthroscopy, osteotomy, or joint replacement are considered if non-surgical therapy is ineffective.
It is beneficial to get a medical consultation to determine the optimal treatment option for knee arthritis. For the best course of treatment, a healthcare professional might assess the patient’s age, general health, and preferences in addition to the type and severity of their arthritis.
Although knee arthritis can be a persistent and troublesome condition, several treatments can alleviate symptoms and enhance joint health. A healthy weight, being physically active, and avoiding activities that apply too much strain on the knee joint are all lifestyle adaptations that can help control the symptoms of knee arthritis and improve one’s overall health.