Arthritis is a group of inflammatory articular diseases, as well as inflammatory-dystrophic nature.
Knee arthritis is an inflammatory process that occurs in the knee and spreads to the inside of the joint and to the periarticular tissues. In another way, the disease is called gonarthritis.
The knee joint is one of the largest in the human body, containing a lot of synovial (articular) fluid when an inflammatory factor is introduced into which arthritis occurs.
If one knee joint is affected, it is monoarthritis; if both, it is polyarthritis (multiple arthritis). The disease begins with a lesion of the joint capsule, then gradually the inflammation expands and passes to cartilage and bone tissue.
The main symptom of knee arthritis is pain, both during movement and at rest. In addition to pain, the patient experiences stiffness, decreased range of motion, redness and swelling, increased pain with pressure. The temperature may rise. Never ignore these symptoms!
Both children and adults suffer from arthritis of the knee joint, although in old age it is diagnosed incomparably more often. Moreover, it is believed that women, weightlifters, overweight people and those who have a hereditary predisposition to arthritis are more susceptible to arthritis.
The causes of knee arthritis can vary. Often, inflammation occurs as a result of natural aging and destruction of hyaline cartilage. Then inflammation joins, for example, due to friction of osteophytes.
Knee arthritis can occur after a traumatic injury as a complication if rehabilitation is not carried out properly. Pathology of the knee joint is often caused by an autoimmune reaction of the body, accumulation of uric acid in the joint, congenital changes, metabolic disorders or endocrine system activity, frostbite or hypothermia, viral and bacterial infections, surgical interventions, excessive stress (the so-called “housewife’s knee”) and others.
Knee arthritis can be an independent pathology (primary arthritis) but often becomes a companion of the underlying disease, for example, hepatitis, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus (secondary arthritis).
The main types of knee arthritis are:
With the wrong treatment of arthritis or its absence, arthritis can become chronic and subsequently lead to loss of motor function of the knee joints and disability. Moreover, the target of arthritis can be not only the musculoskeletal system but also other organs and systems: the heart, kidneys, intestines, lungs.
The classic clinical picture of any type of arthritis is formed by a whole complex of symptoms that join and become more intense as the degrees of arthritis of the knee joint progress. Symptoms are very diverse due to a number of factors: a large area of the lesion, a complex design of the knee joint, the degree of stress on the knee joint, the age and weight of the patient, and specific features of the body.
It should be noted that the symptoms of knee arthritis are both local and extra-articular. They can be pronounced clearly or be erased, subtle, but gradually increasing. At the same time, not all of the listed signs of joint disease are often present at the same time – some symptoms are added over time.
Accurate diagnosis at the initial stage of the disease is the key to a successful fight against arthritis of the knee joint. Knee arthritis should be detected as early as possible so that arthritis treatment is timely and effective.
It is necessary to differentiate arthritis with bursitis, arthrosis, myalgia (muscle pain) in the knee, and other diseases of the musculoskeletal system. For this, the doctor conducts a professional comprehensive examination and studies the anamnesis. At the initial examination, the specialist evaluates the objective signs: the patient’s gait and range of motion, the degree of knee swelling, redness, joint pain and the severity of other characteristic symptoms of arthritis.
Further laboratory tests and instrumental methods are prescribed.
Radiography remains the main diagnostic method. It allows detecting osteoporosis in the knees (porosity and fragility of the bone tissue of the knee), a measure of narrowing of the joint space, signs of ankylosis of the joint, the presence of bone defects, including cysts. In chronic arthritis, X-ray reveals dislocations and subluxations of the knee joint, osteophytes (bone growths). These are all considered diagnostic symptoms of arthritis.
Increasingly, modern medicine uses arthroscopy – an examination of the knee joint, which helps to thoroughly identify the dynamics of pathological changes in the knee.
For completeness of the data, other examinations may be indicted: ultrasound (to detect effusion and changes in the knees), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (to obtain data on the state of soft tissues), radionuclide scintigraphy (shows the activity of the inflammatory process and the reaction bone tissue of the knee).
The nature of inflammation in the knee joint is sometimes clarified by cytological and microbiological analysis of synovial (articular) fluid obtained by puncture. In the course of the study, the degree of transparency and viscosity of the liquid, the cellular composition, the amount of protein and enzymes, and the presence of microorganisms are determined.
Biochemical and clinical blood tests and rheumatic tests are required. A high-quality examination will help the treating specialist to form the optimal treatment.
The tactics of treating arthritis of the knee joint is prescribed by a rheumatologist or arthrologist. Consultation with an orthopedic traumatologist may be recommended. Mostly, the treatment of the joint is conservative, but in some cases, surgery may be recommended – prosthetics of artificial joints.
Treatment of arthritis of the knee joint, like arthritis of any other localization, must be comprehensive. That is, it is necessary to treat arthritis in several directions, using several means and methods at once, the joint action of which is enhanced according to the principle of synergy (consistency).
Typically, knee arthritis therapy to relieve symptoms includes medications and chondroprotectors, physical therapy (such as magnetic pulse therapy), exercise therapy, non-flare knee massage, and lifestyle revisions.
The physician selects medicines taking into account each particular case, the individual characteristics of the organism, and the course of the disease of a particular patient.
You should immediately accept the fact that the treatment of knee arthritis will be long-term. And if arthritis has already passed into a chronic state, then it will have to be treated for life, periodically repeating courses of magnetotherapy and taking medications in order to slow down the progression of the disease, alleviate negative symptoms in the joints and improve overall well-being.
In severe cases of arthritis, endoprosthetics may be required – replacement of the joint with an artificial prosthesis (if the joint is completely destroyed and the limb has lost its mobility). Surgical treatment is usually resorted to in extreme cases.
Changing the lifestyle with arthritis of the knee joints includes adequate physical activity, establishing the correct mode of work and rest, following a diet and getting rid of excess weight, avoiding risk factors for inflammation in the joint, and giving up bad habits.
It is not possible to cure chronic arthritis, but a competent therapeutic complex will help a patient with knee pathology feel acceptable, reduce pain, and lead a relatively active life. Therefore, you need to start treating yourself as early as possible!
Consider the components of the treatment complex for knee arthritis.
Physiotherapy methods used to treat gonarthritis (arthritis of the knee joints) are varied. It is necessary to supplement the medical complex with physiotherapy in order to increase the combined effect of various agents and treat inflammation of the knee joint much more effectively.
As a rule, laser therapy, magnetotherapy, amplipulse therapy, UHF, ultrasound, darsonvalization, diadynamic therapy, massage, acupuncture, kinesiotherapy, exercise therapy (physiotherapy exercises), mud, therapeutic baths, paraffin therapy are widely used.
Let us dwell in more detail on the most common types of physiotherapy for knee arthritis.
Most treatments are allowed only if the chronic arthritis of the knee is in remission. The exception is some devices of magnetic impulse therapy with a special mode, specially designed to combat exacerbations of diseases of the joints and spine (including arthritis) in clinical and home conditions.
Efficiency is provided by the course passage of procedures, which gives a cumulative and long-term effect in the treatment of a serious disease – arthritis of the knee joints.
Treating arthritis is an urgent matter. Perform it in a timely and professional manner, under the supervision of a doctor. Long life of joints is a guarantee of your long activity!
During the past 4 weeks……
1. How would you describe the pain you usually have in your knee?
2. Could you kneel down and get up again afterwards?
3 .Have you had any trouble washing and drying yourself (all over) because of your knee?
4 .Are you troubled by pain in your knee at night in bed?
5. Have you had any trouble getting in and out of the car or using public transport because of your knee? (with or without a stick)
6. How much has pain from your knee interfered with your usual work? (including housework)
7. For how long are you able to walk before the pain in your knee becomes s eve re? (with or without a stick)
8. Have you felt that your knee might suddenly “give away” or let you down?
9. After a meal (sat at a table), how painful has it been for you to stand up from a chair because of your knee?
10. Could you do household shopping on your own?
11. Have you been limping when walking, because of your knee?
12. Could you walk down a flight of stairs?
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