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Archive for the ‘About Knee Osteoarthritis’ Category

Standing calf stretch

Strengthening, stretching, and exercising the knee will help provide pain relief for knees suffering from osteoarthritis.  This is the second part of three posts on this subject.

Exercise can also help support healthy cartilage.  Healthy cartilage requires motion and some stress.  Nutrients and lubrication are delivered to cartilage whenever it is used.  Synovial fluid moves in and out of knee cartilage every time you take a step.  If you don’t move, neither does the synovial fluid.  Imagine the difference between drinking water from a crisp clear babbling brook or a stagnant pond.  What do you think will be better for you?

Cartilage is like a sponge.  Keeping the synovial fluid moving through it keeps the sponge moist and supple.  Think of the sponge that dries out on your sink.  It gets crumbly and starts to deteriorate.  The same is tru with your knee cartilage.

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Knee Trauma

A knee injury can lead to post-traumatic knee arthritis.  A break in the tibia, fibula, or femur may damage the joint surface and lead to arthritis years after the injury. It depends on the severity of the injury.  Meniscal tears and ligament injuries can lead to an unstable knee joint, and additional wear on the cartilage, which can result in arthritis as the months and years pass.

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Obesity linked with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis has several common risk factors.  Some of the risk factors you can change, some you can’t.

  1. Obesity – The more extra weight you carry the more stress you put on your knees.  Weight loss is one of the best ways to reduce your knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  2. Infection – An infection in your knee can destroy or weaken cartilage.
  3. Occupation – Do you squat, kneel, or bend a lot at work.  Repetitive stress on the knee joint can increase your likelihood of developing knee OA.
  4. Age – OA is “wear and tear” arthritis.  The older you are, the more you’ve used your knees.
  5. Gender – The shape of women’s hips make them more likely to develop knee OA.
  6. Genes – A family history of arthritis can mean you have a higher risk of arthritis hurting your knees.

 

 

 



Osteophytes

Bone spurs or osteophytes are lumps of bone that grow on bones around the knee joint.  Osteophytes often grow beside joints affected by osteoarthritis.  Bone spurs can form on any bone and are most common in the neck.

Bone spurs don’t always cause symptoms, but can cause knee pain if they rub against bone or tissue, restrict movement, or affect nerves.

Osteophytes can reduce range of motion in the knee.  Knee pain relief caused by osteoarthritis.

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Knee Arthritis

A knee will get swollen, red, and warm.  These are all signs of inflammation.  There can also be creaking sounds, some people will actually feel the knee “catching” as the worn cartilage rubs together.  There can be a dull ache to sharp pain depending on how bad the arthritis is.  The knee can be stiff  and difficult to move.

Common symptoms are:  a gradual increase in knee pain, swelling, tenderness, buckling, locking, cracking, poor range of motion, loss of joint space, and knee deformities.



Knee OA

A doctor should examine your knee to diagnose knee osteoarthritis.  Your doctor will know your medical history and document any symptoms.  It is a good idea to keep a “pain diary” so you can explain to your doctor exactly when your knee hurts, and during which activities.  It may help to ask your family members if they experience knee pain.

Your doctor may order x-rays or MRI scans to take a look at the inside of your knee.  It’s important to start with your primary care physician and document each and every visit, treatment, and resulting tests and scans surrounding your knee pain.  Your health insurance will look to deny every claim you make.  Don’t take it personally, that’s just what they do.  Document every thing.  Every person you talk to, times, and dates.  Information is power when it comes to working with health insurance companies.

 



Knee Pain due to OA

Knee Osteoarthritis can have the following symptoms:

  • Pain – knee pain that increases during activity.  The pain can recede with rest.
  • Swelling
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Morning knee stiffness, or the knee may get stiff when sitting for a while
  • Mobility issues – it may be difficult to climb stairs, step up curbs, or get in and out of a car or chair
  • Cracking sounds when the knee bends

 



Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

Age is the most common cause of knee osteoarthritis.  Just about everyone will develop some degree of osteoarthritis as they get older.   But there are factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis earlier in life.

  • Age – the older you get get, the more brittle cartilage becomes.  It also is harder for cartilage to heal as you age.
  • Weight – The more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your knee joints.  Extra weight on your body means your knees have to work harder.
  • Heredity – Osteoarthritis can run in your family.
  • Injury – If you’ve had a knee injury you are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.
  • Gender – Women are more likely than men to develop knee OA.  It has to do with the shape of the hips.
  • Athletics – Athletes that engage in high-impact exercises over long periods of time can wear out their knees.
  • Other illnesses – Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and metabolic disorders can predispose people to osteoarthritis.

 

 



Knee Therapy

Knee Pain from OA

 

Osteoarthritis, is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis.  It is a condition where cartilage, the natural cushioning between your bones, erodes.  When this occurs, the bones of the joints rub against one another with less cartilage to absorb the shock. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and sometimes the formation of bone spurs.

There are many forms of arthritis – osteoarthritis is the most common.  Young people can get it, however the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45.   More than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis.  The knee is the most commonly affected area.  Also, osteoarthritis is more common in women than men.

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Ice Pack Wrap

December 14, 2016

cold-therapy-wrap

Ice packs are an effective treatment option for knee osteoarthritis for several reasons.  Ice will decrease swelling in the knee.  Also, cold therapy will slow the release of chemicals within the body that cause pain and inflammation.  Cold also reduces that ability of nerve endings to conduct pain impulses.  Ice will also limit the ability of muscles to reduce spasms.

An ice pack wrap is an effective means of delivering cold therapy to an arthritic knee.