Osteoarthritis of the knee
Arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is the most common joint disease that occurs in almost everyone as they age. Changes tend to progress slowly over the years. With osteoarthritis, more cartilage is lost from the joint than is created by the body. The surface of the articular cartilage breaks and can wear out, causing the bones to rub against each other. As a result of this irritation, the synovial membrane becomes irritated and begins to swell and stiffen. The body itself cannot repair damaged articular cartilage. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include drowsiness and worsening pain when moving. Pain is often relieved at rest. Morning and motor stiffness in the joints are also typical symptoms.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
- Being overweight
- Joint injuries and ligament damage
- Wrong limb positions
- Heavy workload
Aging impairs the mechanical properties of articular cartilage as well as tissue metabolism. These predispose the person to articular cartilage damage.
Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis
- Knee osteoarthritis feels like pain in the knee. The knee may hurt and ache when you walk on a hard surface such as asphalt. It may also ache after a run.
- Knee pain prevents you from engaging in sports that involve sudden stops, such as running, tennis, soccer, and other ball games.
- As osteoarthritis of the knee progresses further, walking up the stairs can become difficult. Landing in particular is tricky. You may have to descend the stairs one at a time sideways like a crab.
- Osteoarthritis also stiffens the knee joint. Your leg will no longer bend as easily as before. You won’t be able to touch your buttocks with your heel, and your knee may not stretch quite straight when walking.
- You may also need to look for a comfortable sleeping position and place a pillow under your knee, for example, to avoid knee aches.
Treatment of knee osteoarthritis
Movement as Medicine.
The most important treatment for osteoarthritis is exercise, but movement that cause severe shocks should be avoided. Exercise lubricates the joints like oil on a door hinge.
- Remember that your joint is not broken and you cannot break it yourself or worsen the osteoarthritis. Therefore, exercise or carrying heavy objects is not prohibited. Any muscle strengthening work is good for you if you can do it.
- Joint-friendly sports include walking, cycling, water running, water aerobics, swimming, cross-country skiing and ice skating.
- Head to the gym and strengthen your muscles. Strengthening the thigh muscles can reduce pain in the knee, as strong muscles reduce the load on the knee joint.
- Stretching and stretching the legs and arms with a rubber band, for example, activates mobility and curbs stiffness in the joints.
Adequate rest is an important counterbalance to exercise.
Lighten the load on the joint
Being overweight is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis. A drop of just a few pounds can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick. If an osteoarthritis has broken out, according to current knowledge, exercise does not cure or stop it, but it can treat and relieve symptoms, e.g. through improved muscle condition and weight management.
Good ergonomics is recommended treatment for osteoarthritis, as, for example, the height of the work surface and the sitting position affect most of us for hours every day.
There is a variety of mobility aids and your physiotherapist will help you choose the right aid to support your mobility.
You may receive appropriate painkillers for pain management from your doctor.
Knee osteoarthritis is the most common cause of artificial joint surgery on the knee. If walking is no longer successful or the functional capacity is otherwise clearly impaired, and the above-mentioned treatments do not help, artificial joint surgery becomes an option. This option is evaluated by a doctor.
Reference: Fransen M, McConnell S, Hernandez-Molina G ym. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hip. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009;(3):CD007912 PubMed. Fernandes L, Storheim K, Sandvik L ym. Efficacy of patient education and supervised exercise vs patient education alone in patients with hip osteoarthritis: a single blind randomized clinical trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2010;18:1237-43 PubMed