When it comes to knee pain, how do you know if you have knee osteoarthritis or some other condition? Arthritis is a very common condition that can cause mild to chronic pain in a person’s joints, especially the hands, knees, and wrists. There are actually over 100 different types of arthritis that are named based on where they affect a person’s joints. One of the most common of all types of arthritis is knee osteoarthritis. This condition can make it hard for patients to walk, exercise, or even get out of bed. Here is what you need to know about knee osteoarthritis, why it happens, and some tips to find relief from pain!
Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Arthritis itself is a chronic condition that describes inflammation of the joints—“arth” meaning joint and “itis” meaning inflammation. Many people think arthritis is a single disease, but it’s actually a group of over 100 different types of joint inflammation, as we mentioned. Symptoms of arthritis that can happen anywhere a joint is affected include:
- Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Limited range-of-motion
- Redness and warmth around the joint
- Bumps or nodules on the joint
According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 54 million American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. About 31 million of these cases are osteoarthritis, making it the most common type. Diagnoses are on the rise each year, with 67 million Americans—or a quarter of the adult population—predicted to have arthritis by 2030. The widespread prevalence of arthritis makes it the most common cause of disability among adults in the United States. The knees are the areas most commonly affected due to how much they are used with walking, standing, sitting, exercising, and moving you about your day.
Knee osteoarthritis most often develops slowly and gets progressively worse over time. It’s commonly observed when people are middle-aged and older. However, you can develop it at any age, following a joint injury or another disorder. Joint pain accompanies most, if not all, types of arthritis. However, there are specific symptoms to look for and treat with knee osteoarthritis.
Signs and Symptoms
Arthritis is a condition that can come on over many years. Your progression may be slow moving, or you may suddenly start seeing your joints decline. If you are prone to injuries, you may actually have earlier-onset arthritis. This is especially true for marathon runners and those who compete in similar competitions, as the joints of the legs and knees are going through much more use than someone who doesn’t run as much.
This is just one example of frequent use that can lead to earlier problems with the knees or knee osteoarthritis. When our patients come in for evaluation, we see the same type of symptoms if the problem is knee osteoarthritis. See if any of these sound familiar:
- Joint soreness after overuse or inactivity
- Joint stiffness after resting or in the morning
- Pain when moving your knee
- Pain when using stairs or getting up from a chair
- Catching when moving your knee
- Pain that prevents you from exercising your leg
- Joint pain that feels worse in the evening after a day’s activity
- Deterioration of coordination due to pain and stiffness
- Weakened thigh muscles
If you’re having these types of symptoms, make sure to tell us during your evaluation. The faster you get ahead of knee osteoarthritis, the quicker you can get started on therapies to prolong the use of your knees.
Therapies and Tips for Combating Pain
So what can our center do for your knee osteoarthritis? Joint injections are some of the best ways to stop initial joint inflammation and pain. The purpose is to lubricate the large joints of the body. That lubrication will stop the production of painful inflammation, which also halts the breakdown of joint cartilage. We also do regenerative medicine injections containing stem cells if you want to try to rebuild damaged cartilage and joint tissues.
Other therapies our patients have found to be effective include:
- Chiropractic care: By realigning your joints with chiropractic adjustments, you can reduce muscle tension and help stiff joints feel more mobile.
- Physical therapy: Gentle joint exercises can relieve arthritis pain and improve your range of motion.
- Electrical stimulation: Electrodes are placed on the painful, arthritic areas of your body to stimulate the release of endorphins and enkephalins. These peptides activate the body’s opiate receptors, resulting in natural pain relief.
- Trigger point therapy: Trigger points, or areas of knotted muscle caused by arthritis, can decrease blood flow and worsen your symptoms. Trigger point injections promote healing and reduce arthritis pain.
- Physical exercise: It’s a myth that people with arthritis should avoid exercise. In fact, staying physically active is important to slow joint deterioration and maintain a healthy range of motion. To prevent arthritis pain, try low-impact exercises such as walking, water aerobics, stationary cycling, weight lifting, and yoga.
We may pair some of these therapies with acupuncture, heat therapy, and changes in lifestyle and diet for your treatment.
Get Help for Knee Osteoarthritis Today
Don’t let knee osteoarthritis keep you from living your life! Arthritis can be a painful condition, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with that pain! Those who invest in therapy services can reduce or eliminate their pain, reduce inflammation and swelling, and prolong the use of their knees and other joints. To schedule your free consultation, call Spine Correction Center today at (970) 658-5115!