Arthritis is a condition which is characterized by inflammation of the knee joint. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis of the knee joint. This degenerative condition most often occurs in persons over 50 years since it is caused by “wear and tear” of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis and gout are other forms of arthritis which affect the knee, but they tend to occur in younger persons.
Symptoms of knee arthritis include pain, which is usually felt during movement and especially after periods of rest. The knee may also become swollen and stiff making it hard to bend the joint. The American College of Rheumatology states that crepitus or a grinding noise, which is felt as the joint moves, is another symptom of knee arthritis.
There is no cure for knee arthritis but various forms of treatment are available to relieve the pain and improve joint function. Palo Alto Medical Foundation reports that the non-surgical treatment of this condition involves the use of medications, exercise and weight loss.
Medications used to treat knee arthritis include pain killers like ibuprofen, naproxen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Physical therapy exercises are also used to treat knee arthritis, since they help strengthen the joint and increase its range of motion.
Losing excess body weight is one lifestyle modification that is used for this condition, since it helps reduce knee pain by minimizing the stress placed on the joint. Another lifestyle change that is used to manage knee arthritis is avoiding high impact activities like jogging and playing tennis, since they also strain the knee.
If the pain from knee arthritis cannot be relieved by non-surgical treatment, operations can be done to treat it. These include total or partial knee replacement (arthroplasty) in which the damaged bones and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic parts made from metal and plastic.
Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer