Knee Arthritis: Does this Mean Surgery?
A large number of cases of chronic knee pain can be attributed to osteoarthritis or the gradual deterioration of the knee joint. This wear and tear usually manifests later in life and can have a detrimental impact on daily activities as the condition progresses.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee: What exactly is it?
This degeneration of the knee joint may originate with an injury. However, judging by the percentage of adults over the age of 60 who have knee osteoarthritis, we also have to chalk some cases up to the normal process of aging. Technically, osteoarthritis of the knee and the local pain around the knee joint indicate that the tough cartilage that buffers friction between bones in the joint has worn down. The more friction there is between the bones, the more inflammation that may occur.
In addition to local pain, knee osteoarthritis can cause symptoms like cracking, stiffness, limited mobility of the leg, and instances of locking or buckling of the leg.
Treating Knee Osteoarthritis
Fortunately, surgical joint replacement is the last resort in treating knee osteoarthritis. The sooner that non-surgical modalities can begin after the onset of symptoms, the better. These include:
- Activity moderation. Exercise is a vital aspect of joint health as well as general wellness. Pain should not stop you from maintaining an active lifestyle. On the other hand, the activities that you engage in may need to be tailored to support healthy knees. Low-impact exercise like swimming and biking are kinder to the joints than running or even climbing stairs.
- Adding support. Support may come in the form of a knee brace or sleeve, or it may be a shoe insert that brings your stance into better alignment. Depending on the severity of joint decline, support may need to come from a cane or some crutch.
- Pain management. Pain management is a crucial aspect of treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Initially, a prescription strength anti-inflammatory may help. Some patients achieve better and longer lasting results by obtaining injections of corticosteroid medication a few times a year.
- Physical therapy. This level of care isn’t reserved for extreme cases of knee osteoarthritis or post-surgical patients. Physical therapy focuses on improving range of motion and flexibility by strengthening the muscles around the joint. In addition to managing comfort, physical therapy has the potential to slow down further breakdown within the knee.
Managing a problem like osteoarthritis of the knee begins with a thorough consultation and examination with your medical doctor. Knees and hips are all we do here at Hartzband Center for Knee and Joint Replacement, so you can rest assured you are in very experienced hands. Schedule your visit to our Paramus, NJ office at 201-291-4040.
Category: Knee Injury and Treatment