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Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the knee joint. This condition is characterized by the gradual breakdown of cartilage in the knee, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. It is often caused by wear and tear over time but may also result from injury or certain medical conditions.

Anatomy of Knee Arthritis

The knee joint is composed of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella (knee cap), which are cushioned by cartilage. In knee arthritis, the cartilage gradually wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. This friction leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the knee joint.

Causes and Risk Factors

Knee arthritis is primarily associated with aging, but several factors can contribute to its development:

Age

The risk of knee arthritis increases with age as the cartilage naturally wears down over time.

Previous Injury

Past knee injuries, such as ligament tears or fractures, can predispose individuals to develop arthritis in the affected knee.

Obesity

Excess body weight places increased stress on the knee joint, accelerating cartilage degeneration.

Genetics

A family history of arthritis or joint problems may elevate the risk of developing knee arthritis.

Occupation and Activity Level

Jobs or activities that involve repetitive stress on the knees, such as kneeling or heavy lifting, may contribute to the development of knee arthritis.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, can cause inflammation in the knee joint and contribute to the breakdown of cartilage.

Symptoms

The symptoms of knee arthritis may vary from person to person, but common signs include:

  • Pain in the knee joint, especially during movement or weight-bearing activities
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the knee
  • Swelling and tenderness around the knee joint
  • A grinding sensation in the knee when moving it
  • Deformity or changes in the shape of the knee joint
  • Instability or feeling like the knee may give out

Diagnosis

Diagnosing knee arthritis at Excel Health involves a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and physical examination. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may be conducted to assess the extent of joint damage and rule out other conditions.

In some cases, joint fluid analysis (arthrocentesis) may be performed to evaluate for signs of inflammation or infection within the knee joint. This comprehensive diagnostic approach helps our specialists develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Our conservative approach to treating knee arthritis focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function without surgery:

  • Physical Therapy: Tailored exercises to strengthen knee muscles, enhance flexibility, and ease discomfort
  • Medication: NSAIDs, analgesics, or corticosteroid injections for pain and inflammation relief
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight to lessen knee stress
  • Assistive Devices: Braces, orthotics, or canes for support and mobility enhancement
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Avoiding aggravating activities and integrating low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling into daily life

Surgical Treatment

When conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options are carefully tailored to each patient’s needs, focusing on maximizing function and minimizing recovery time. Our experienced orthopedic surgeons utilize advanced techniques and technologies to achieve optimal outcomes for our patients with knee arthritis.

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