Arthritis of the knees
Knee pain is a common problem nowadays, especially among old age. Many people complain of difficulty in walking, and the limitation of their usual activities. If you are suffering from pain in your knees, you have to think about arthritis. Arthritis is a disease of inflammation that affects body joints. The inflammation can spread to any joint, from large joints ex: shoulders, knees, and hip joints to small ones such as joints of the hand.
In this article, we are going to talk about the arthritis of the knee, keep reading to know how it presents.
- Types of knee arthritis:
This type of arthritis commonly affects old people. The main etiology is unknown, but it’s most probably due to wear and tear of the cartilage.
This process leads to the roughness of the cartilage and inflammation.
- Rheumatoid arthritis:
It’s an inflammatory type of arthritis. Usually, it’s modulated by abnormal immune system response. The immune system attacks the body joints, causing inflammation.
- Post-traumatic arthritis:
Exposure to trauma can cause bone fractures and joint weakness or even damage. A broken bone may cause injury to the knee joint. Later, arthritis may develop due to weakness of the cartilage and ligaments or improper healing.
- Risk factors:
- Old age.
- Genetic factors: arthritis can be hereditary and affects young people.
- Obesity: overweight and obesity increase the pressure applied to the knees which means higher risk for arthritis.
- Gender: women are more likely to have arthritis due to hormonal withdrawal that happens with aging.
- Trauma and fractures.
- Morning stiffness may last for a longer time in rheumatoid arthritis.
- In rheumatoid arthritis, usually, the disease has bilateral distribution, and other joints may be affected.
- A low range of mobility.
- How is knee arthritis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of arthritis of the knees depends on physical examination and clinical investigation.
If you have arthritis, your doctor will have your full medical history, to identify the symptoms you’re having, the risk factors, and if the disease is hereditary.
The physical examination includes some tests done by your doctor to know the extent of the disease.
Some clinical investigations may be requested such as knee X-Ray, CT, and MRI to visualize the level of inflammation and the possibility of having ligament tears or bone fractures.
- Life-style modification:
- Adding healthy habits to your life will be of great help. A healthy diet and simple exercises will help you stay fit, and lose the extra pounds you have. This reduces the stress applied to your knees and improves your condition.
- Avoid aggressive movements, and minimize the activities that worsen your condition like clumping stairs.
- Assistive devices such as shock-absorbing shoes can relieve your pain.
- Medical treatment:
Treatment of arthritis is mainly symptomatic. No specific medication or procedure can cure the inflammation, but at least we aim to limit its extension. Here’s a list of the common medications used for relieving arthritis:
- Over the counter analgesia: acetaminophen (paracetamol).
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs): they are used to limit the extension of the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Steroid injection: this procedure is done in resistant cases to relieve the pain and slow the inflammation.
- Surgical treatment:
It’s the last solution for resistant cases with extensive joint damage or deformity. The surgical procedures include:
- Cartilage grafting.
- Total or partial knee replacement.