One of the most common forms of arthritis occurs in the knees. It is called osteoarthritis, and it happens when the cartilage between the joints wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. The rubbing results in swelling, pain, and stiffness of the joints, making walking movements more difficult. Because this is wear-and-tear type of arthritis, it generally occurs in people older than 45.
Treatment of osteoarthritis at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine depends on a number of factors, including
- medical history
- how much pain you are in
- how the osteoarthritis affects your lifestyle
Natural treatments to relieve the symptoms
Some natural changes to your lifestyle can positively affect your osteoarthritis. A regular exercise routine helps maintain the motion in your knee joints, improves your leg strength, and reduces swelling. The exercise should be something low-impact, like biking, walking, swimming, or water aerobics.
Stretching is a small, easy way to relieve some of your symptoms. Stretching, or even yoga, helps loosen up those stiff joints. Try a gentle stretch routine every morning.
If you are overweight, your doctor may recommend trying to lose weight. Less weight on your joints will help reduce the strain and pain. Healthy weight control involves a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.
Pain Relief Medications
What medications do doctors recommend for relieving osteoarthritis pain? Mild pain can be taken care of with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDs (Aleve or Motrin). More severe pain may be treated with prescription-strength NSAIDs (like Celebrex) or a type of joint-replacement fluid like hyaluronic acid.
Osteoarthritis of the knee can sometimes be relieved with physical therapy, which involves repetitive exercises to strengthen muscles and improve mobility. If physical therapy is recommended, Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine physical therapists work with your orthopaedic physician to create a therapy plan that fits your lifestyle and schedule needs.
Reducing inflammation of the joints helps relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Doctors may inject steroids like glucocorticoids or corticosteroids three or four times a year. Viscosupplements may also be injected to replace knee fluids.
When osteoarthritis is severe, surgery of the knee may be your recommended procedure. These three types of surgeries are common in cases of severe osteoarthritis:
- Arthroscopic: This is a minimally-invasive procedure which cleans debris from the joint and repairs injuries. It is most commonly used on people under the age of 40.
- Osteotomy: This type of surgery stops joint damage by cutting parts of the bone to relieve pressure and correct misalignment.
- Joint replacement: In this procedure, damaged knee joints are replaced with artificial joints. This is a more complex procedure and contains a certain amount of risk, but it also has been proven to greatly reduce joint pain and increase mobility.
Do you suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee? You’re not alone. We understand your condition and have successfully treated it in many patients. Please contact Hampton Roads Orthopaedic Spine & Sports Medicine for an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists about your symptoms and possible treatments.