There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Each of these diseases affects joints throughout the body in a different way, but they can all cause significant damage to joints and cartilage, leading to inflammation, tenderness, pain and other symptoms. Arthritis can affect any parts of the body that contain joints, including the hands, feet, hips and more. A common location where people experience symptoms of arthritis is the knee. In this post, we’d like to focus on bone knee arthritis, including the risk factors, causes and what you can do about this dreadful disease. If you have recently been diagnosed with arthritis in your knee or you suspect that you may be developing this health condition, then read on.
Causes and Risk Factors
Educating yourself about the risk factors that contribute to a higher risk of developing arthritis in your knee is important. This will help you determine whether you are at a higher risk; thus precaution can be taken to reduce your risk. Arthritis Health reports that the following contributes to a higher risk of arthritis in the knee and in other areas of the body:
- Age – Age plays an important role in a person’s risk of developing certain types of arthritis, especially the most common kind of this disease, known as osteoarthritis. Individual who are over the age of 45 is at an increased risk of obtaining knee arthritis, with the risk rising further with older age.
- Overweight – Since the upper body’s weight places pressure on the knees, you are at a much higher risk to develop bone knee arthritis when you are overweight. In fact, it is reported that individuals who are obese are 66% more likely to develop osteoarthritis in their knee than people who are not obese.
- Genetics – Having a family history of knee arthritis is also a cause for concern. Approximately 35% of knee osteoarthritis cases are related to genetics.
Other than the above mentioned, other possible causes and contributing factors also exist. A direct injury to the knee, for example, can contribute to osteoarthritis. WebMD explains that women are also at a higher risk and athletes that participate in certain sports, including tennis and soccer, are also at a higher risk.
If you experience painful symptoms in your knee or noticed inflammation in your knee, then you should take action as this could mean that you are developing osteoarthritis or another type of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, in your knee. Let’s take a closer look at the particular symptoms associated with bone knee arthritis.
Arthritis Research UK reports that the most common symptoms are pain and swelling, but it is important to note that other symptoms may also be present. These may include stiffness in the knee, which gets worse after being in a still position for a while. A creaking sound or a grinding sensation is also another symptom that people commonly experience when they have arthritis in their knee. Certain visual changes can also be noted in some cases in people with knee arthritis. This may include a bent appearance of the knee, as well as thin-looking muscles around the affected knee.
Treating knee arthritis is quite complicated as the particular treatment options that a person can receive will depend on how severe the damage is and how far the disease has progressed. The treatment plan for one person often defers from the treatment plan of another. Seeing a doctor first is always recommended to get proper diagnoses. Once diagnosed, the doctor will work with the patient to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for their condition.
Before a doctor starts to talk about potential medical treatment options, such as prescription drugs, surgery and injections, they will first discuss possible changes the individual can make in their life to better manage their disease. Most often, the doctor will start by looking at the weight of the patient. If the patient has some excess weight that can be lost, then a better diet will be recommended to reduce the pressure that is put on the patient’s knee. This can provide a significant relief of the pain and inflammation due to less pressure being put on the knee.
It is also common for a doctor to recommend strengthening exercises that will improve the muscles surrounding the knee joints, which will provide better support for the knee. These exercises often also help to reduce pain that is experienced. Arthritis Foundation reports that even slight improvements to these muscles can provide a significant reduction in the speed at which knee osteoarthritis progresses and it can also provide a great reduction in pain.
Once an action plan has been established to help the patient make lifestyle changes to better manage their condition, the doctor may also prefer to provide the patient with certain medicated treatments to help them cope with the pain, reduce the inflammation and also help to slow down the rate at which the disease worsens. NHS Choices explains that various types of medication are available, including:
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol, which helps to relief the pain associated with arthritis.
- NSAIDs, short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which helps to reduce inflammation and relief pain at the same time. This may include traditional NSAIDs, such as diclofenac and ibuprofen, or COX-2 inhibitors, such as etoricoxib.
- Opioids, which is also a painkiller, but stronger than paracetamol.
- Corticosteroid injections, which is adequate for more severe cases of bone knee arthritis.
If arthritis is too severe to be treated with the treatments mentioned above, surgery may be recommended. While very rare, surgery can be used to replace joints that have been damaged too much. Surgery can also be used in cases where symptoms are very severe and mobility has been affected too much.
Bone knee arthritis can be painful and dealing with such a condition can be rather difficult. Knowing that many types of arthritis cannot be cured at the moment is an important part of managing the disease, but realizing that the symptoms can be controlled and the progression of the disease can be slowed down is also as important. By making adjustments in your daily life and taking better care of how you deal with your condition can make a significant difference and lead to less severe symptoms.