Arthritis in the knee All you need to know

01/03/2021

"Arthritis of the knee can make taking a step painful. Swelling, discomfort, and stiffness in the joint are just some of the signs that can occur when a person has this condition."

The knee joint is a hinge joint, named for its action that is comparable to the opening and closing of a door.

Symptoms

Symptoms commonly linked to knee arthritis include:

  • Crepitus, a tickling or popping of the knee joint with movement
  • The pain is often weather-related and generally worsens with rain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Weakness in the knee joint that may trigger the symptoms

Types

  • Osteoarthritis : Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of knee arthritis. It occurs when the protective muscle that incorporates the bones wears away. As the cartilage erodes, the bones of the knee joint began to rub together.
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis : Old damages to the knee and surrounding links can continue to affect a body and cause post-traumatic arthritis, a type of ailment that can emerge after an injury.
  • Gouty Arthritis : A gout is a form of arthritis that causes uric acid crystals to collect in the joints, including the knee joint. Uric acid is an unuseful product that develops when body tissues break down.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis : Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder. This indicates the body's immune system hits healthy cells.

The condition tricks the body into thinking healthy tissues, such as protective cartilage, are bad.

Causes

Arthritis in the knee has various causes.

  • Getting older
  • Having a family history of arthritis
  • Being male, as it more frequently affects men
  • Obesity means that there is more tissue that can be broken down into uric acid
  • Using certain medications

Diagnosis

A doctor will recommend imaging studies to look for changes in the knee joint.

Examples include:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Treatments

Doctors usually treat early symptoms of arthritis with at-home care to lessen pain and limit the symptoms from getting worse.

In time, a person may need more powerful medication or surgery.

Medication

  • Duloxetine is an antidepressant medication that may assist with chronic discomfort.
  • Capsaicin, which comes from chilli peppers, is present in some topical lotions and balms.
  • Risedronate is a remedy for osteoporosis, but it may help to protect the cartilage.

All of these drugs can have adverse effects. A person should speak to their physician about which one is suitable for their situation.

DMARDS For Rheumatoid Arthritis

A doctor may prescribe one of a new set of drugs, known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

These include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine sulfate
  • Leflunomide
  • Methotrexate
  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Tofacitinib

Doctors can also use corticosteroid shots to reduce swelling in the knee joint.

Surgery

When the patient does not respond to medications or other treatment strategies, knee surgery may come as the last resort for treating knee arthritis.

Examples of these methods include:

  • Arthroscopy: A surgeon injects small instruments into the knee to find out about potential areas of damage. At the same time, they can eliminate any damaged bone fragments from the knee or flush out the joint in an attempt to lessen the pain.
  • Cartilage Grafting: This treatment involves removing cartilage from another area of the body and graft it around the knee bones.
  • Total Or Partial Knee Replacements: The surgeon removes the damaged knee joint and substitutes it with a metal or plastic joint, which should work as the original knee joint would.
Dr Ashwin Kumar
Consultant - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

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