Knee osteoarthritis is a prevalent degenerative joint condition affecting the knees. It primarily involves the cartilage within the joint breaking down, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased joint function. The condition often results from wear and tear or ageing and can also be linked to obesity, previous knee injuries, or genetic predispositions.
There are three common types of knee osteoarthritis:
Knee osteoarthritis is quite prevalent, particularly among older adults. The prevalence tends to increase with age and is more common in females.
Knee osteoarthritis can develop due to various factors, including:
Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis often include:
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis typically involves a combination of the following:
Your orthopaedic specialist will discuss your symptoms, their onset, and how they affect your daily life. They may ask about any previous injuries or surgeries related to your knee.
The doctor will physically examine the affected knee, looking for signs of swelling, tenderness, and range of motion limitations.
X-rays can help visualise the joint, showing any loss of cartilage, bone spurs, and other signs of osteoarthritis. MRI scans might also offer a more detailed image of the knee’s internal structures.
Although not typically used to diagnose osteoarthritis, blood tests might be conducted to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Complications that can arise from knee osteoarthritis include:
Treatment options for knee osteoarthritis can include:
Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help manage pain and inflammation.
Specific exercises can strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improve flexibility, and reduce stress on the joint.
Weight management can significantly reduce stress on the knee joint. Low-impact exercises and appropriate footwear can also help alleviate symptoms.
Using assistive devices like canes, knee braces, or orthotic shoe inserts can reduce pressure on the joint.
Injections into the knee joint can help reduce pain and inflammation.
These injections aim to supplement the viscosity of the synovial fluid in the joint.
In severe cases, surgical procedures like arthroscopic debridement, knee osteotomy, or knee replacement may be considered.
Preventing knee osteoarthritis or slowing its progression involves several lifestyle and health measures:
Living with knee osteoarthritis can be challenging, but several strategies can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life:
Knee osteoarthritis can be managed through a balanced approach involving pain management, exercise, weight control, and proper medical guidance. Taking steps to improve daily life quality is essential. If you’re experiencing knee discomfort or suspect osteoarthritis, seek help from professionals.
Don’t hesitate to request an appointment with The Orthopaedic Practice and Surgery Clinic to get tailored guidance and treatment suited to your needs. Taking proactive steps is key to managing knee osteoarthritis and ensuring a better quality of life.