Arthritis in the Knee; Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints and the knee tends to be one of the most commonly affected joints. As it is with other joints, three different types of arthritis can affect the knees. These include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis refers to a progressive disease that wears and tears the joint cartilage with use and age.
This is something that occurs mostly because of age, as it is a progressive disease, and it usually affects people during their 40s and 50s. (2) Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body starts to attack its own cells. This type of arthritis can affect a person at any age.
Finally, post-traumatic arthritis affects people after they have had some kind of an injury to the knee, such as fracture of the knee joint, or a torn meniscus, or any injury that might have affected the ligaments in the area. Whatever the types of arthritis, the thing to note is that they all cause fatigue and pain.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pain Increases Gradually
- 2 Inflammation that Causes Swelling and Tenderness
- 3 Weakness in the Knee: Locking and Buckling
- 4 Grinding in the Knee, Causing Popping and Crackling Sounds
- 5 Poor Range of Motion
- 6 Bone Spurs
- 7 Deformities Formed in the Knee
- 8 Five Tips to Eliminate Arthritis in the Knee
Pain Increases Gradually
Even though pain that is caused by arthritis can have a sudden onset, in most cases, it develops slowly and steadily over time. (3) People might start noticing the pain only in the mornings, or after long periods of inactivity. People might also find that their knees start hurting after doing certain exercises, such as running, or walking, or climbing the stairs. Some people also tend to start feeling the pain when they are simply sitting and not using their knees. At other times, damp and cold weather can also cause the pain. If a person feels that he or she is unable to sleep because of the pain, it can also be a symptom of osteoarthritis.
Inflammation that Causes Swelling and Tenderness
If a person has been afflicted with arthritis in the knee, he or she can also face inflammation quite frequently. One of the reasons why inflammation occurs in the knees is because of bone spurs (osteophytes) that tend to get formed in the knee. (1) Extra fluids in the knee can also cause inflammation. The swelling caused by arthritis in the knee can be much more apparent and painful after long periods of inactivity. For example, many people who have arthritis in the knee tend to complain about pain and swelling after they wake up in the morning. Arthritis in the knee can also cause redness in the area as well as the feeling of warmth. As the arthritis in the knee progresses, it is likely that the inflammation and pain is going to get worse and not get alleviated using over the counter (OTC) medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Weakness in the Knee: Locking and Buckling
Arthritis in the knee can cause many problems in the body, such as weakening the knee joint. The entire joint structure of the knee can also become unsteady. (4) This weakness can cause buckling in the knee. Other than that, the knee joint can also get locked, which means that the patient would not be able to straighten it or bend it when he or she wants to. These symptoms tend to be intermittent, as they do not usually affect the patients all the time but keep coming and going over time.
Grinding in the Knee, Causing Popping and Crackling Sounds
Many patients have complained of a grinding sensation in their knees when they move. This is another consequence of having arthritis in the knee. (2) The main reason for this grinding is because the cartilage that is there in the knee joint to help the joint move smoothly gets worn out because of arthritis in the knee. This causes the surfaces to become rough and when they rub together, they cause these sounds of grinding, crackling, and popping. The bone spurs that are formed in the knee joints can also result in the sounds being created.
Poor Range of Motion
Arthritis in the knee can result in it being extremely difficult for the knee joints to slide together and move smoothly. This is why when a person tries to move, it can make it extremely difficult and in severe cases of arthritis in the knee, impossible for the person to move the joint. Patients tend to complain about restricted range of motion in their knees when conducting various simple movements, such as walking, running, climbing stairs, and other athletic activities. As noted earlier, osteoarthritis slowly wears and tears the cartilage. The worse the arthritis in the knee becomes, the more difficult it becomes for the patient to use the knee, put weight on it, or to indulge in such movements as walking and running. People with severe cases of arthritis in the knee tend to require supports, such as a walker, cane, or crutches to be able to walk.
Arthritis in the knee causes the cartilage to get worn out, which creates spaces in between the joints. Other than that, bone spurs also tend to develop in the spaces. (2) One way to diagnose arthritis in the knee is to take an X-ray of the joint, as the X-rays show the loss of joint space that results in the grinding sounds to be produced as well as the range of motion being reduced. The space that exists in between the joints in the knee is what allows the joint to move freely and smoothly; however, when bone spurs are formed in the space, they end up restricting the motion. This is why X-rays can provide a good way to diagnose arthritis in the knee.
Deformities Formed in the Knee
Over time, arthritis in the knee can start to cause deformities in the knee. The muscles around the knee start to get weakened and they start to think out, causing the knees to take on a sunken appearance. Knees can also start to change with regards to how they are positioned, causing the legs to bow towards each other.
Five Tips to Eliminate Arthritis in the Knee
Arthritis is a degenerative condition caused by wear and tear on the joints, in this case the knee. It usually occurs in older people and especially on joints that suffer from weight pressure.
Here are five tips to eliminate arthritis in the knee:
Added weight will put pressure on the knee and augment any problems you may be suffering from. Try to maintain a healthy weight through positive nutrition and regular exercise. However, be careful not to overwork your joints with destructive exercise such as running.
Reduce Salt intake:
Salt is known to irritate nerve endings, increasing sensitivity to pain. By reducing salt intake you are far less likely to suffer significant pain.
Consider Knee Surgery:
Ultimately the best way of eliminating arthritis is to solve the problem completely which involves inserting a new knee through surgery. This is the most drastic course of action but it is routine surgery across the world and has good results.
Ask your doctor about corticosteroids:
Corticosteroids have the potential to significantly reduce pain and swelling that comes about as a result of osteoarthritis. They need to be prescribed and there are potential side effects but you can talk to your doctor about this and weigh up the risks against the benefits.
Consume Fish Oil:
Known as Omega 3 fatty acids fish oil blocks inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, decreases joint tenderness and reduces overall stiffness.