Your joints are responsible for your body’s every movement. They connect the bones, which in turn, link up to the muscles. The collaboration of your bones and muscles allows you to walk, lift objects, climb stairs, and so much more.
Unfortunately, all of this movement—among other factors—can cause damage and inflammation to the joints. This condition, known as arthritis, can affect any joint in the body. One of the most common forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, about 27 million Americans suffer from some form of OA.
Osteoarthritis is the gradual breakdown of cartilage that covers the ends of the bones at the joints. And, cartilage is a rubbery material that cushions the joints and allows for motion. When cartilage breaks down, you may experience pain, swelling, or difficulty moving the affected joint. As cartilage deteriorates, the underlying bone becomes exposed and starts to break down. Bone spurs and bits of broken cartilage may flake off and begin to float around the joint. This triggers the body’s inflammatory response, which causes even more damage to the joint. As OA becomes more severe, your cartilage wears away and the bones start to rub together. This can be very painful and limit movement.
The knee is especially prone to osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Foundation reports that about one in two adults will develop this condition at some point in their lives. Think that you might have knee OA? Let’s start by understanding the knee joint and common risk factors that may trigger this disorder.
The knee is the largest and strongest joint in your body. It connects the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone), and patella (kneecap). The knee joint is considered a synovial hinge joint that allows for flexion and extension of the lower leg relative to the thigh. This joint is responsible for helping you walk, run, sit, and stand.
The knee joint is held in place and protected by several soft tissues. A joint capsule, made up of connective tissues, surrounds the bones, keeping the knee aligned. Likewise, synovial fluid lubricates the joint and reduces friction as we go about our everyday lives.
Since most of our ambulatory movements require the cooperation of the knee joint, it’s no wonder why the knee is so prone to injury and disease. So why do some people develop this condition more quickly than others? There are a variety of reasons.
Just about anyone can develop knee OA. The condition can result from a combination of factors, including:
If you have knee pain or any combination of these risk factors, you may want to receive an evaluation from an orthopedic doctor.
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Those with knee osteoarthritis often experience symptoms that gradually get worse with time. Others may deal with sudden painful “flare-ups.” Symptoms include:
If you suspect osteoarthritis is causing your knee issues, then you’ll want to consult with a doctor or orthopedic specialist. Unfortunately, no single test can detect knee OA. In fact, doctors must gather information from several sources in order to diagnose this condition. These include:
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If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, then there are both conservative and surgical options to relieve pain and restore functioning to the knee. In most cases, doctors begin with conservative treatments including:
Medications can also benefit those with knee osteoarthritis. Be warned, however: some medications may be habit-forming or come with adverse side effects. Talk to your doctor about the best OTC or prescription options for you. Some medications that are known to be effective for knee OA include:
Knee surgery is often considered a last resort when conservative treatments aren’t effective. However, surgery can provide considerable pain relief, as well as stabilize the joint to prevent further damage. An orthopedic surgeon may suggest some of the following procedures:
Dealing with knee pain can greatly disrupt almost every aspect of your life. Even simple activities like getting up from a chair can become an incredibly painful experience. Are you ready to regain control of your life?
NJ Spine & Orthopedic specializes in conservative and minimally invasive treatments for knee osteoarthritis and other orthopedic conditions. Using the latest treatments and technology, we help you get back to the things that you love doing as quickly as possible.
Why continue to suffer? Our experienced doctors at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can accurately assess your condition and suggest the most appropriate treatments for you. Contact us today at (855) 586-2615 to schedule a consultation!
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