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Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Updated on April 12, 2013

Osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis. Generally develops slowly and does not cause a serious loss of performance, particularly with appropriate guidelines for the management of the disease. Osteoarthritis is the result of mechanical failure of the normal joint structures, changing the articular capsule and cartilage damage. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints of the hands, but most commonly affects the large joints of the hip, spine, and knee.

The first symptom that requires them to consult a doctor is a pain in the joint. Patients often say that pain is "persistent", and clearly located. Pain intensity may vary depending on disease progression - from a pronounced progress, which limits the mobility of the joint, moderate progress, occur only in certain movements. The joint pain tends to rise and fall with loads after rest. According to the progression of osteoarthritis, pain begins to occur with minimal activity.

This pain is diffuse in nature and first appears periodically, but after exercise and time will be constant, and in advanced cases can even wake the patient at night. Later, the pain becomes the main factor limiting knee motion.

Knee osteoarthritis, whose treatment if not taken in time, can have serious consequences, as it is a slowly progressive disease. Even if this condition does not have significant external signs and symptoms, it can still cause great discomfort for the person to limit their motor activity, and lead to disability. The base of the disease is the degenerative process in joint cartilage, bone surfaces varying the joint. In the advanced stage there is significant deformation of the joint.

The causes of osteoarthritis

For many years it was thought that osteoarthritis is the result of natural wear and tear of the joint during the life of man. But researchers now recognize that there are several factors that lead to its development:

- Age - age of cartilage becomes less elastic and loses its resistance to stress;

- Obesity - being overweight for a long period of time speeds up the process;

- Injury (trauma) set. Contributes to the development of arthritis, an example is the development of arthritis of the knee in miners, football players etc...

- Family (genetic) predisposition to osteoarthritis - certain forms of osteoarthritis is inherited in families. Some people have an inherent predisposition to disease, a defect of one of the genes responsible for cartilage formation, leading to cartilage a defect, which in turn leads to joint damage, but the gene is not the principal reason for the development of osteoarthritis.


Specific laboratory tests for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis do not exist, but you can do tests to rule out other forms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, unlike other types of arthritis, no inflammatory changes in the clinical analysis of blood and no rheumatoid factor, no increased levels of uric acid in blood serum, which is characteristic for the drop . Your doctor will ask you to describe any physical stress or damage, which may have led to his pain. Overall review will be conducted with great care, especially to avoid damaging the joints. Radiographic examination may help in diagnosis, but does not give predictions for the future development of symptoms.

Of additional research methods can help thermography (thermal imaging) and ultrasound. Examination of the joints is a method to detect inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues, which cannot be seen on radiographs.

Different treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee:

The treatment does not affect the changes that have occurred in the joints however, the treatment can delay disease progression and symptom control. Negligence and apathy is the worst enemy in the fight against osteoarthritis.

The essence of the treatment is to improve the functional activity, relieve pain, and reduce symptoms of the disease. Recommendations for rehabilitation can prevent the progression of arthritis...

Treatments include:

- A rate of activity alternating with periods of rest and load.

- Special exercises that allow you to form a muscular corset around the joint, maintain normal mobility and proper blood circulation in the limbs, and strengthen the cartilage itself;

- Weight reduction;

- Physical Therapy;

- Pain control or anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections into the joint to reduce inflammation and production of lubricant.

For the treatment of arthritis of the knee are subject to different types of drugs. The most important of the many anti-inflammatory drugs: ibuprofens, aspirin, and acetaminophen the focus effect is the reduction of inflammation of the joint. Pain relievers such as Tylenol, are sold freely in pharmacies, and have a strong analgesic effect.

Experience shows that the best results can be achieved with an early visit to a doctor, preferably a specialist (rheumatologist). Anti-inflammatory drugs have a host of unwanted side effects, so the doctor will choose the most suitable.

Oral nutritional supplements - glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, these substances help to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. These substances reduce inflammation, and contribute to increased motor function of the joint. Also, when there is a very severe pain and swelling can be used intraarticular corticosteroid injections. The annual rate of treatment should not exceed four injections into a joint. Hyaluronic acid is also injected into the joint; this acid is added to synovial fluid.

Hyaluronate injection

There are several types of hyaluronate injections - viscosity enhancer, used in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, restoration of optimum thickness of synovial fluid. The injections were made directly into the joint cavity.


How do the injections?

Hyaluronate is a natural component of synovial fluid. It acts as a lubricant in joints or moisturizing substance necessary for normal functioning of the joint. Currently, this medicine is used to treat knee arthritis mild to moderate.

Different Surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee:

- Arthroscopy - a small operation with the use of fiber optic technology allows the surgeon to see inside the joint, followed by a cleaning of the components and renews damaged tissues and damaged cartilage;

- Osteotomy - The surgeon cuts the femur or the tibia in order to give the correct position of the bones in the knee joint.

- Partial or total arthroplasty - a special operation for changing the damaged articular cartilage or the knee joint with plastic or metal equivalent;

- The transplantation of cartilage - a method of treatment that is applied to the knee joint with cartilage loss subsequently limited arthritis or injury.

Of course, in order to achieve a successful result, initially you need to remove the cause behind the development of the disease. For example, a balanced diet and limit the loads.


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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful information shared in this hub, about treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

      Voted up and Thanks!


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