Osteoarthritis in the knee is also known as “degenerative arthritis” as well as “wear-and-tear” arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that occurs when the tissue around your bones starts to wear away leaving them unprotected. This damaged tissue is the cartilage and the wear and tear on it can be very painful and debilitating.
It is yet unknown just why your body’s joint cartilages break down and wear away. What is known is that osteoarthritis of the knee becomes more common as you age or if you are carrying around extra weight. Many times people who suffer a serious injury to their knee will find themselves suffering from arthritis in just a few years.
If you are feeling pain in one or both of your knees your doctor will be able to make the diagnosis of whether or not you have arthritis. X-rays will be taken off your knees and you will also have your blood tested. The x-rays will be able to tell your doctor just how serious your arthritis is. The blood tests are simply a way to rule out other types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis knee treatment can take on many forms. You can manage the pain of arthritis through the use of physical therapy and medications. There are pain relieving sprays and creams that you can use on your knees to bring you temporary relief. As well, there are some common medications that you can take for pain relief. Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) is a pain medication that you can buy over the counter. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications include such brands as Advil and Aspirin.
Osteoarthritis knee exercise, using a physical therapy program with a trained specialist, will help you to keep and regain movement in your knees. Therapy can also bring you some relief from pain. You may want to include exercises that strengthen the muscles around your knees so that you gain more balance and stability. If you end up having osteoarthritis knee replacement surgery, you will definitely need to undergo some physical therapy.
If you find that physical therapy and medications aren’t giving you enough pain relief, or easing movement in your knees, your doctor may opt to give you injections of a pain medication that is called “anesthetic”. This type of a knee osteoarthritis injection can bring you pain relief for up to one or two weeks. Another option is a “corticosteriod” which lasts longer than two weeks. If none of these options bring you enough relief from your arthritis your doctor may want to recommend osteoarthritis knee surgery. It will take you a few months to recover from knee surgery so this option is one that you will only want to consider if you are suffering from a great deal of pain and immobility.