Osteoarthritis is above all, the most common form of arthritis. It is also the most common condition affecting joints in our bodies. This is a disease that affects and concerns many people because it’s so common nowadays.
Researches show that older people are the biggest target of osteoarthritis, but that doesn’t mean that other people are completely not at risk. Basically, no matter the age or gender, osteoarthritis can strike everyone.
It is known that osteoarthritis can affect all the joints in the body. However, it mostly affects the joints that carry most of our body weight. That’s why the knee is the first target of osteoarthritis.
Knees are the biggest joints in our bodies and the joints that have to carry all of the body weight. Although they are the biggest, these joints are usually the first to get problems connected with osteoarthritis.
The Damage That Osteoarthritis Does to the Knee
Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes wear-and-tear of the cartilage. In different words, it causes the knee cartilage (tissue that enables the joints to move easily) to wear down and then the moving of the joints becomes painful.
Another damage that osteoarthritis does to the knee is that it narrows the space between the two joints and there isn’t enough space for the bones to move. Because of these changes, inflammation and swelling can appear which is also painful.
There will be significant decreasing of motion and mobility of the infected knee and this can cause the muscles around the knee to weaken and by that – to worsen the condition.
Most Common Causes of Osteoarthritis
The exact cause of osteoarthritis in the knee can’t be exactly given as strictly one. Instead, researchers agree on the fact that many smaller factors might cause osteoarthritis. These are some of the most common causes and reasons:
Aging – older people are in a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis because as they age, the bones become weaker and their immune system goes down.
Overweight – people that are overweight or obese have a greater chance and risk of developing osteoarthritis. This is because the knee joint has to carry all that weight and this can be a lot of pressure for the knee joint.
After injury – some previous injuries, traumas or fractures of the knee may contribute towards arthritis appearing later in life.
Genetics – it is said that you are at a greater risk of osteoarthritis if someone in your family had also suffered from it.
Knee Joint Overuse – some jobs that include a lot of knee pressure, like constant kneeling or lifting weight can represent a risk factor in developing osteoarthritis later in life.
Inflammation or infection of the knee joint that happened in the past can have consequences in the present and contribute to osteoarthritis.
Faults in the development can also be a potential cause for osteoarthritis.
Diabetes, hormonal or endocrine disorders.
Osteoarthritis Common Symptoms
- Pain inside or around the knee joint area;
- Sharp pain when a sudden movement is made;
- Joint knee stiffness, especially after resting the joint;
- Deformity of the knee joint;
- Weak leg muscles, especially weak quadriceps;
- Limited mobility or having a hard time moving;
- Creaking of the knee joint;
- Swollen knee joint, etc.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
There are many different approaches for treating osteoarthritis. Self-care and help, along with some medications, physical therapy and exercises, all combined can contribute towards a successful treatment.
If you have a few pounds overweight, try to lose them. That way you will take the pressure off your knees. Another thing you need to do is avoid doing things that might cause stress on your knees. Be careful when you’re walking and don’t lift or carry heavy weights. Be careful not to twist or bend your knees too much and avoid sudden movements. Another thing you need to be careful of is to wear shoes that will support your knees. Applying hot or cold can also help you find a relief from the pain.
Taking pain-killers will help you reduce the pain in the knee. Anti-inflammatory medicines can also help reduce the pain as well as the inflammation. In patients with lot of pain, steroid injections can help with relieving the pain for a short time.
Physiotherapy and Other
Physiotherapy has shown good results in people with osteoarthritis. Depending on the condition, kneecap support can also help you as well some walking stick or crutches.