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Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Do you experience:

  • Pain in the knee that increases with activity and gets better with rest
  • Knee joint swelling
  • Feeling of warmth in the joint
  • Stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while.
  • Decreased mobility of the knee making it difficult to get in and out of chairs, cars, use of stairs and walking.
  • Creaking or a crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves.

Osteoarthritis is commonly known as “wear-and-tear arthritis and is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints and cartilage wears away. When this happens the bones of the joints rub more closely against one another with less of the shock absorbing benefits of cartilage. The rubbing results in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased mobility and sometimes the formation of bone spurs.

Who gets Osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While it can occur even in young people the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after the age of 45. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 2.2 million of Australians have osteoarthritis with the knee being one of the most commonly affected area. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.

What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis?

The most common cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is age. Almost everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis. However, several factors increase the risk of developing arthritis at an earlier age.

  • Age- the ability of cartilage to heal decreases as a person gets older.
  • Weight- Increases pressure on all the joints, especially the knees. Every kilogram of weight you gain increases the extra stress placed on the knees.
  • Heredity- this includes genetic mutations that might make a person more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee. It may also be due to inherited abnormalities in the shape of the bones that surround the joint.
  • Gender. Women aged 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Repetitive stress injuries. These are usually a result of the type of job a person has. Occupations that include a lot of squatting or lifting heavy weight are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee due to constant pressure placed on the joint.
  • Athletics- Athletes involved in soccer, tennis or long-distance running may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • It is important to note that regular moderate exercise strengthens joints and can decrease the risk of OA. In fact, weak muscles around the knee can lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Other illnesses- People with rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis. People with certain metabolic disorders such as iron overload or excess growth hormone also run a higher risk of osteoarthritis.

How is Osteoarthritis of the knee diagnosed?

  • Physical assessment
  • X-rays- Can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
  • MRI scans

How is Osteoarthritis of the knee treated?

The primary goal of treatment is to relieve the pain and improve mobility. The treatment plan includes a combination of the following:

  • Weight Loss
  • Exercises
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Cortisone Injections of cortisone or hyaluronic acid into the knees
  • The use of braces
  • Physiotherapy- to Educate and teach exercises to strengthen muscles and increase joint flexibility.
  • Surgery- when other treatments do not work. Surgery is a good option.

Why be in pain any longer? Make an appointment today with one of the friendly physiotherapist’s at Take Control Active Rehabilitation today.

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