What you need to know about arthritis of the knee.
The most common form of arthritis in the knee:
The most active type of arthritis in the knee is osteoarthritis. This is where the disease causes a gradual deterioration of the cartilage in the joint, resulting in swelling, sometimes excruciating pain and loss of mobility.
The most likely affected:
Most at risk are women over 50 who are overweight. A hereditary link also seems to be a factor, plus men or women who have experienced fracture to the bone near the joint, a ligament injury or a meniscus tear.
Symptoms associated with knee arthritis:
There is no typical progression of pain as this disease worsens. Weather can play a key factor so cold symptoms can be particularly difficultly in winter months, while summer days can be remarkably easy on the knees but that doesn't mean the arthritis is in remission.
Time is the key factor in measuring its progress along with constant monitoring through x-rays and blood tests.
Most reported symptoms:
- Bow legs or knock-knees.
- Discomfort when active.
- Restricted movement.
- Joint inflammation.
- A sensation which feels like the joint might "pop out".
There are three ways to treat knee arthritis, you can treat the symptoms, have surgery or you can treat the cause - which ideally will fix if not put the disease in to remission.
Treatments for the symptoms of arthritis in the knee:
First things first and that's to go and get a physical examination and an x-ray. A second evaluation is also not a bad idea also as early stages of osteoarthritis can often go undiagnosed.
Each case should be valued on its own merit, so do not interpret this article as a definitive guide for treating arthritis in this region, it merely serves to highlight the practices that patients and practitioners generally follow today.
You won't find this endorsed on About.com but acupuncture has to be one of the fastest and more effective methods for acute and serious cases of osteoarthritis, yet it can still be practiced on less damaged joints.
Prof Dr Anton Jayasuriya's methods while often frowned upon in the West, is an art of acupuncture which dates back centuries and is reported to provide instant and permanent relief.
It can reduce the swelling, relieve a patient from pain by up to 80% and provide almost sudden mobility.
Four needles are inserted in to specific stress points - not just points of acupuncture - to a certain depth, then heated till they glow piping red, then gently and swiftly removed one by one.
This practice is repeated 2 to 3 times a day until the swelling has all but disappeared and the pain has relinquished.
Once the course of treatment is complete it is stated to be permanent.
Soothing oils and warming pads are then used by the patient at home to complete the treatment.
Acupuncture does not treat the deterioration of the joint directly, but rather the pain inflammation and lack of movement - the symptoms.
Anti-Inflamatory Prescription Drugs
These have provided the earliest breakthrough in the West for an initial pain release but the effects these have on your body now that they've been on the market for more than two decades, are coming to light.
Prolonged usage of theses NSAID's as they're known have shown to have a debilitating effect on the liver, kidneys and heart, so before deciding to take a quick fix for the inflammation and pain, make sure you lay out what initial health problems you may have with your doctor so the prescription won't conflict with your current medication.
Physical Therapy & Relaxation
Physical therapy and controlled periods of relaxation both help strengthen the muscle around the joint, lightening its burden and reducing the stress.
Meditation, sleep and hypnotherapy are all forms of relaxation that can reduce the amount of pain you're experiencing in your knee and exercise will prevent atrophy of the leg muscles.
If the disease has simply become unbearable in pain and has left you almost immobile, then surgery today is the last resort.
a) Knee Osteotomy
This is effectively for only young patients who have caught the disease early on and have had a total knee replacement.
b) An Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Or simply known as a partial knee replacement, this again is for a small surgical replacement of the knee when the disease is limited and this is more common among middle to elderly aged patients.
c) Total Knee Replacement
Now that the joint can no longer function the will be the last resort where a plastic and metal implant is fitted in to the knee.
Treatments to Influence Remission of Arthritis in the Knee
a) Biologically Injected Medications
Cortisone injections which ooze the pain and reduce the swelling are much safer and more beneficial than NSAID's, and while they won't influence remission, you can safely take additional joint supplements without any side-effects that can help treat this disease.
b) Joint Supplements and Non-Prescription Treatments
Glucosamine is still lacking in research data, but it is showing signs that it may help the remission process of arthritis in the knee.
Additional non-prescription natural treatments include active compounds found in Capsaicun, Tonkat Ali, Omega 3 Acids and Reishi.
These ingredients not only treat inflammation effectively, they also naturally help block the pain signals being sent from the joint to the brain.
More importantly they assist in rebuilding the cartilage.
Now dry and deteriorated from this disease, these are just some of the ingredients when taken regularly in high concentrations that can help the cartilage function better.
Cod liver oil tablets have for years been used to free up stiff joints for mild arthritis of the knees, but now research over the last decade has given birth to new supplements that not just treat the symptoms but fight it.