Knee Osteoarthritis


Vector Smart Object knee and lower leg

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What is knee osteoarthritis?

Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which involves inflammation in the knee joint. This can cause swelling and pain. Osteoarthritis - which can also occur in other joints such as the hip and shoulder - is the most common form of arthritis, which is a condition related to ageing or previous injury to a joint.

The knee is one of the most common areas affected by osteoarthritis.

What causes knee osteoarthritis?

The main cause of knee osteoarthritis is simply ageing. However, aside from age, there are several other factors which are understood to increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

These factors include; gender, as women are understood to be more likely to develop the condition; genetics, as an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis, as well as abnormalities in the joint, can be inherited; weight, because pressure on the knee joints can increase risk; and repetitive stress injuries, which can be the result of a specific occupation which applies pressure on the knee joint repeatedly, or sports which have the same effect, such as running, tennis or football.

There are also other conditions which increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, such as metabolic disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include; swelling; pain which flares up with exercising; knee stiffness, typically when sitting for a while, or in the morning; a 'warm' feeling in the joint; a 'creaking' sound when moving the knee; and restricted movement of the knee, which can make it difficult to perform actions such as using stairs or getting in or out of a car.


Treatment options for knee osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is usually diagnosed via a physical examination performed by a doctor. The doctor will review your medical history, and note symptoms being experienced: For this reason, it is important to note which symptoms you are feeling in order to assist the doctor. You may also be asked if anyone else in your family has had arthritis. In some cases, an x-ray or MRI scan may be ordered.

The main treatments used to address knee osteoarthritis include non-surgical steps such as; losing weight, to decrease the painful symptoms of the condition and exercise, in order to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and increase stability.

Medication for knee osteoarthritis?

Drugs which can be administered for knee osteoarthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), which are available over the counter. There is also the option of injection therapy into the joint, which can reduce inflammation and pain. These injections may contain steroid
drugs, or newer treatments such as platelet rich plasma or hyaluronic acid.
Alternative therapies to treat knee osteoarthritis include; supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine; braces which are designed to support the knee, or take the weight away from one affected side; and targeted physical therapy, to build strength and increase range of motion.

Surgery for knee osteoarthritis

For cases in which several of the treatments outlined above have proven ineffective, surgery can be considered a good option. Common types of treatment for knee osteoarthritis include arthroplasty or joint replacement, and osteotomy, where the bone is cut and re-set to take pressure off the joint

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