Knee arthritis is commonly referred to as osteoarthritis. In this condition, the cartilage present in the joints wears away gradually. Knee arthritis makes the joints inflamed and destroys the cartilage. Arthritis has an effect on the supporting structures like tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Symptoms of knee arthritis
The symptoms of knee arthritis generally progress as the condition worsen. However, these symptoms always do not progress steadily. Patients often report bad as well as good months or symptoms that change with the weather. Some common symptoms of knee arthritis are swelling in the joints, limited range of motion, tenderness in the joints, knee stiffness, deformity in the joints, and a feeling that the joint may give out.
Causes of knee arthritis
Finding out the exact cause of knee arthritis is difficult since different aspects contribute to the development of this problem. Some common causes of knee arthritis are:
Genetics- genetics or heredity factors result in arthritis. However, there are genetic variations that may cause arthritis in individuals.
Age – the cartilage gets more brittle as age advances and their capacity to repair themselves becomes low. With age, arthritis can develop.
Weight – as joint damage depends to some extent on the load the joint supports, excess body weight may result in arthritis. It is particularly true in the case of knees and hips that worn-out faster in heavier people.
Previous injury – damage to the joints may result in irregularities. Previous injuries can be a part of knee arthritis cause, where the broken bone area enters the knee joint cartilage.
Occupational dangers – in some particular occupations, the workers are prone to a greater risk of developing arthritis-like heavy construction and assembly line workers.
Infection or illness – people experiencing joint infection, other medical conditions, or several episodes of gout may possibly develop knee arthritis.
Some high-level sports – some sports participation may result in joint injuries and gradually knee arthritis.
Diagnosis of knee arthritis
The doctor plays a vital role in diagnosing and treating knee arthritis. Proper communication with the doctor is very essential here. You should know what to expect from the doctor and what is the doctor’s expectation from you. The doctor will assess your symptoms of arthritis, order diagnostic tests, gain information from your medical history, suggest current physical examination, and then put forward a treatment plan for you. However, you need to give valuable information to the doctor without hiding anything. Here, the goal is mutual and that is to improve your health.
The doctor diagnoses the knee, take physical examinations, talk with you and your family, and perform several blood tests. Further, he may suggest an X-ray of the joints or in some cases MRI to identify the evidence of joint damage. He may withdraw a sample of synovial fluid to carry out further investigation.
Tips to avoid knee arthritis
Avoid kneeling – kneeling at work, home or church is a knee killer. It puts pressure on the front knee where arthritis is seen under the knee cap. Hence, it is suggested to avoid kneeling.
Don’t carry heavy loads – each extra pound carried or lifted by you exerts pressure and increases stress on the arthritic knee. You can take help from your family or friends or make use of assistive tools and devices in this case.
Avoid standing longer – if you stand for long hours, a lot of stress is put on the knees. This may not be felt at that moment; however, you may experience it later. The standard rule is standing for one hour at a time. Then, take a break or sit for some time and then stand again, if needed.
Using both hands for support – while getting up from a sitting position, make use of both your arms and hands to push down and lift yourself slowly. This will decrease the stress on the bent knee and decrease further damage or pain.
Stretching the legs – keep your legs in motion and change its position often when seated. Never fold the legs under the chair, since it exerts more pressure on the knees.
Do not walk up or downhill – if possible, avoid going up or down hills, since flat surfaces do not put any pressure on the knee arthritis, but an incline does.
Avoid stairs, use the elevator – stair steps put a strain on the arthritic knees. So, wherever you have an option of the elevator over steps, do prefer them.