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Archive for September, 2017

Stage 4 – Severe

The pain is severe.  Walking anywhere hurts.  This is the most advanced stage of knee osteoarthritis.  There’s not much cartilage left, if any.  There’s very little fluid remaining in the knee.  The joint space has narrowed to the point where an x-ray will show bone-on-bone.  The legs may be bowed or pigeon-toed depending on what side of the knee is most impacted.  The remaining treatment options all involve surgery.   Joint replacement is common.

 



Stage 3 Knee Osteoarthritis – Moderate

Daily activities are starting to hurt.  The arthritis has your attention.  Walking, bending down, running, kneeling can all cause your knee to hurt.

The knee will probably be inflamed and swollen.  Damage to the cartilage is obvious.  The joint space is narrowing.   The cartilage is thinning and eroding.  The bones begin expanding, becoming thicker, responding to the changes in cartilage.  Lumps on the bone form.  All this drama impacts the tissue lining the joint.  This is where the fluid and inflammation come from.

Treatments get a bit more serious.  We move into NSAID’s, cortisone, physical therapy, and supplement injections.



Stage 2 – Mild

Stage 2 is where symptoms start to develop.  A knee may start to get achy if a person sits for a long time, walks too much, or spends the whole day on their feet.  Stiffness and joint pain are common complaints.

Bone lumps and thinning cartilage can be seen on X-rays or MRIs.  The joint space will remain normal and the bones are not rubbing or scraping against one another.

Exercise and weight loss are still the primary treatment options.  Arthritis knee braces are also recommended.  An arthritis knee brace can help stabilize and protect the knee joint.



Stages of Knee OA

It takes many years to develop osteoarthritis of the knee – one step at a time.  The degradation of the cartilage can be tough to treat because the damage is usually done by the time it’s diagnosed.  Symptoms might only be experienced once the damage is irreversible.

There are progressive stages of knee osteoarthritis:

Stage 0 – A normal, healthy knee

The knee joint shows no sign of OA, and can move freely and without pain.

Stage 1 – Minor

Bone spurs may start to appear.  The cartilage may show some sign of wear.  There is no sign of joint space narrowing.  Pain or discomfort is rarely felt at this stage.

Your doctor may recommend exercise and weight loss, possibly some supplements.