Arthritis can develop from disease (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) as well as trauma or injuries to the knee. In osteoarthritis, the most common form of knee arthritis, the cartilage deteriorates in the joint, and the once smooth surface loses its ability to prevent shock to the joint and bone rubs against bone. Arthritis can run in families; more commonly it affects those who are overweight, individuals over 50 or those with a pre-existing knee injury.
- Pain (gradual or sudden)
- Swelling and stiffness in joint
- Limited range of movement
- Tenderness around joint
- Pain with increased activity, or in morning
- Sensation that knee is locking or slipping
The doctor may recommend activity modification, weight loss, heat and icing the knee.
Medication can address symptoms of arthritis, but cannot cure the underlying cartilage and joint damage. Most commonly anti-inflammatory medications are used to decrease swelling and pain. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may also be beneficial.
A variety of supports such as a brace, sleeve, cane, shoe inserts or other advanced support can help stabilize the knee during walking and movement.
While injections cannot cure the underlying arthritis, Corticosteroid injections to the affected portion of the knee can provide short-term pain relief and reduced inflammation in the joint, when medication is ineffective or not an option. Other types of injections such as viscosupplementation may also be considered.
Certified Physical Therapists work closely with doctors to create an individualized program to maximize healing and restore function, strength and mobility.
When conservative treatment fails and depending on the severity of the arthritis, surgery may be considered. Surgical procedures such as arthroscopicsurgery, osteotomy, total or partial knee replacement can help to relieve symptoms associated with arthritis.