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Archive for May, 2011

Knee Acupuncture

Knee Acupuncture

An acupuncture treatment for knee osteoarthritis involves placing tiny needles along your arms, legs, shoulders and perhaps your fingers.  Acupuncture points can be located all over your body, not just the affected area.

Some believe that arthritis symptoms emerge when the flow of chi in the meridians become blocked.  Chi or “Qi” is frequently translated as an “energy flow”.  A meridian is one of twelve pathways that allow chi to flow throughout the body.  The blockage of the Chi within the meridian is called “bi”.

The number of treatments, duration, and number of needles will vary by patient.  An acupuncturist will examine you, and determine the best acupuncture treatment for you.  Each treatment is customized.



Risk Factor - Hemochromatosis

Risk Factor - Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is a disorder where the body absorbs too much iron from the gastrointestinal tract.  It occurs when too much iron builds up in the body.  This is a genetic condition that is usually inherited.

Having too much iron in the blood can damage cartilage and the ability of joints to repair themselves.  Hemochromatosis is a risk factor for developing knee osteoarthritis.



Pituitary Gland

Pituitary Gland

Acromegaly is a condition involving the growth hormone (GH).  GH controls the growth of soft tissue and bones.  Elevated GH can lead to serious complications and early death if left untreated.  Acromegaly is a risk factor for developing knee osteoarthritis.

A benign tumor in the pituitary gland usually causes increased GH levels but malignant tumors in the pancreas and lungs can also be culprits.



Risk Factor - Sedentary Lifestyle

Risk Factor - Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle is a serious risk factor for developing knee osteoarthritis.  When you do not exercise your joints become stiff.  Joints require lubrication to function and exercise increases lubrication.  Also muscles become stronger when you exercise, they atrophy when you don’t.  The anatomy surrounding your knee must be strong to prevent and treat osteoarthritis.  A sedentary lifestyle can not only make your osteoarthritis worse but it can also lead to a host of other health problems.

If you don’t use it, you will lose it.



Risk Factor - Repetitive Stress

Risk Factor - Repetitive Stress

Repetitive stress on the knees can also be a risk factor for osteoarthritis.  Certain occupations, specifically jobs that involve kneeling or squatting, and excessive walking and lifting are susceptible to knee osteoarthritis.  Carpet installers,  floor layers, dock workers, and shipyard workers are some examples of occupations that are at high risk.



Risk Factor - Bone Disease

Risk Factor - Bone Disease

Bone diseases are medical conditions which affect your bones, also called osteopathy.  Your bones are living tissues which rebuild constantly throughout your life.  There are many kinds of bone problems that can become risk factors for knee osteoarthritis.  Some common disorders for bones are listed below:

  • Paget’s Disease – a chronic condition that causes enlarged and deformed bones.  This disease is caused by a malfunction in the bone formation process.  New bone is poorly formed and may become weak and bend over time.
  • Bone Tumors – refers to abnormal growth of tissue within bone.  These growths can either be benign or cancerous.
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans– is a disorder of the joint where cracks form in the articular cartilage and underlying bone.  It i usually caused by blood deprivation to the bone causing the bone to die – a process called avascular necrosis.
  • Metabolic Bone Disease – this a generic term that refers to bone abnormalities caused by a variety of disorders.  Most often these disorders are caused by irregularities of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, or vitamin D.
  • Lobstein Syndrome – Brittle Bone Disease or Osteogenesis Imperfecta – This is a congenital genetic bone disorder where people are born with defective connective tissue, or without the ability to make it.  This is caused by a defect in the gene that produces Type 1 collagen, an important component of bone.


Arthritis is very crippling and painful. There are treatments that can help lesson the pain, but not take it away totally. One of the treatments for knee osteoarthritis is glucosamine. Glucosamine is one of the most non-vitamin, non-mineral, dietary supplements used by adults in the United States.

As with any vitamins, there are different ways that you can take it. Liquid glucosamine is easy to digest, especially if you don’t take pills well. This alternative might be better suited for you. Sinceis usually derived from the shells of shellfish while the allergen is within the flesh of the animals, it is probably safe to use, even if you have a shellfish allergy.



Risk Factor - Inflammatory Joint Disease

Risk Factor - Inflammatory Joint Disease

There are different types of inflammatory joint diseases, and different reasons for their causes.  Inflammation generally describes swelling, pain, and redness.

  • Autoimmune – Inflammation is the result of the immune system mistakenly creating antibodies.  These antibodies attach themselves to tissues in the joints and become targets for the immune system to attack.  This confrontation causes the joints to become inflamed.  Examples are: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Reiter’s syndrome.
  • Septic Infection – Infection or bacteria in the bloodstream that is directly introduced to the joint by trauma or surgery can lead to this type of inflammatory joint disease.  If untreated a septic infection can lead to destruction or fusion of the joint.
  • Gout – A build up of uric acid can cause severe swelling and pain.  Fatty foods, genetic disposition and side-effects from medications are common causes.
  • Enteropathic – These inflammatory joint diseases are similar to autoimmune joint diseases with the exception that the intestines are involved.  Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel conditions can have arthritis symptoms as well.

Any of the above conditions can be a risk factor for developing knee osteoarthritis.



Risk Factor - Ethnic Background

Risk Factor - Ethnic Background

Research indicates that racial and ethnic differences exist in the occurrence of osteoarthritis.  Further race and ethnicity may play a role in how individuals respond to medical care and their associated outcomes.

Generally speaking, research suggests that African Americans and people from Hispanic descent are more likely to experience pain and disability when it comes to osteoarthritis.  Also these same minority groups are less likely to have their knees replaced as when compared to Caucasian Americans.

Researchers admit that racial and ethnic differences relating to knee osteoarthritis are poorly understood.  More studies are needed to understand the biological, lifestyle factors, and psychosocial influences that might lead to these differences.



Risk Factor - Injury

Risk Factor - Injury

Most people who hurt their knees remember the incident clearly.  Was there an audible pop?  Immediate swelling?  Could you walk?

The knee normally extends to zero degrees and can flex up to 135 degrees.  The knee functions so your legs can bend and straighten.  The joint is critical for normal standing, walking, and running.

The knee joint is complicated weight-bearing structure.  Ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones, menisci, bursae, and blood flow all play important roles in how the knee slides, glides, twists, and  feels.  An injury to any part of the knee joint can throw off the way your knee moves.

This biomechanical imbalance caused by an injury can affect the wear-and-tear of your cartilage and be a leading risk factor for you to develop knee osteoarthritis.