When it comes to aging and suffering from knee pain, the first thing will come into your mind is knee osteoarthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. When the smooth cushion between bones (cartilage) breaks down, joints can get painful, swollen and hard to move. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in hands, knees, hips, lower back and neck. OA can happen at any age, but it commonly starts in the 50s and affects women more than men. This disease starts gradually and worsens over time. But there are ways to manage OA to prevent or minimize pain and keep mobile.
What are the symptoms of having knee OA?
- Pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest Swelling
- Feeling of warmth in the joint
- Stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while
- Decrease in mobility of the knee, making it difficult to get in and out of chairs or cars, use the stairs, or walk
- Creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves
How Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treated?
The primary goals of treating osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility. Recommendations for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee range from activity modification and anti-inflammatory medication to total knee arthroplasty, depending on the disability of the patient and the severity of the disease.
The non-operative management of osteoarthritis is multimodal, and may include exercise, bracing, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, viscosupplementation injections, and complementary and alternative medicine. Exercise can reduce pain and increase function in a patient with early arthritic changes.
When other treatments don’t work, surgery is a good option.
How to prevent knee OA?
Exercise plays a key role in preventing knee damage, supporting the knee during treatment, and recovery. Some evidence supports the recommendation that a low impact weight-bearing program may be beneficial to patients with osteoarthritis.
Exercise can help prevent joint damage by:
- strengthening the muscles around the knee
- helping you maintain a healthy weight
However, the effects of exercise programs may be lost after 6 months if patients do not maintain the exercise program. In order to maintain it, keeping yourself active is the best prevention!