What it is:
Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints -- 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 Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis while it can occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45
The most common cause of arthritis of the knee is age (The ability of cartilage to heal decreases).
Other risk factors for developing significant arthritis at an earlier age are:
- Weight (increases pressure on knees. Every kilogram of weight you gain adds 3 to 4 times of extra weight on your knees) Heredity, Gender (Women ages 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.)
- Repetitive stress injuries (certain occupations that include a lot of activity that can stress the joint, such as kneeling, squatting, or lifting heavy weights (20 kg or more), are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee because of the constant pressure on the joint.)
- Athletics. (Athletes involved in soccer, tennis, or long-distance running may be at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee.)
- Other illnesses. (People with rheumatoid arthritis the second most common type of 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.)
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam, X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs and MRI may help to delineate the cartilage loss.
The primary goals of treating arthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility.
Weight loss exercises, Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.Taking them for longer increases the chance of side effects. If over-the-counter medications don't provide relief, your doctor may give you a prescription anti-inflammatory drug or other medication to help ease the pain.
- Injections of corticosteroids o r hyaluronic acid into the knee.
- Alternative therapies. Some alternative therapies that may be effective include topical creams with capsaicin, acupuncture or supplements including glucosamine and chondroitin or SAMe.
- Using devices such as braces. There are two types of braces: "unloader" braces, which take the weight away from the side of the knee affected by arthritis; and "support" braces, which provide support for the entire knee.
- Physical and occupational therapy. If you are having trouble with daily activities, physical or occupational therapy can help. Physical therapists teach you ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in your joint. Occupational therapists teach you ways to perform regular, daily activities, such as housework, with less pain.
- Surgery. When other treatments don't work, surgery is a good option.
Surgery for Knee Osteoarthritis
Different surgeries are used depending upon damage and age of patient
- Arthroscopy uses a small telescope (arthroscope) and other small instruments. The surgery is performed through small incisions. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to see into the joint space. Once there, the surgeon can remove damaged cartilage or loose particles, clean the bone surface, and repair other types of tissue if those damages are discovered. The procedure is often used on younger patients (ages 55 and younger) in order to delay more serious surgery.
- An osteotomy is a procedure that aims to make the knee alignment better by changing the shape of the bones. This type of surgery may be recommended if you have damage primarily in one area of the knee. It might also be recommended if you have broken your knee and it has not healed well. An osteotomy is not permanent, and further surgery may be necessary later on.
- Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which joints are replaced with artificial parts made from metals or plastic. The replacement could involve one side of the knee or the entire knee. Joint replacement surgery is usually reserved for people over age 50 with severe osteoarthritis. The surgery may need to be repeated later if the joint wears out again after several years, but with today's modern advancements most new joints will last over 20 years. The surgery has risks, but the results are generally very good