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“What a refreshing change from some of the other doctors I saw for my knees! The entire staff were top notch! No long wait to see the doctor, which is unheard of around here. He was personable, friendly and professional. He provided me an option for my pain which really helped me. He was honest and to the point. So glad I went to him! Highly recommend him!” — Karen H.

Knee Arthritis Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zackary Byrd

Knee pain can have a major impact on your quality of life. If you think you may have arthritis, schedule an appointment today with JIS Orthopedics located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, Ohio.

About the Knee

Our knees are among the strongest and largest joints in our body. They are made up of the lower end of your femur (thighbone), the upper end of your tibia (shinbone), and your patella (kneecap). Articular cartilage covers the end of these bones and protects them as you move your knee.

What Is Knee Arthritis?

Knee arthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that cushions your bones wears down. Unfortunately, this can result in knee pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation.

If you have knee joint arthritis, it is common to notice that everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, become more challenging.

While there is no cure for arthritis, several effective treatment options and techniques are available to help you manage pain and remain healthy and active.

Types of Knee Arthritis

There are three types of arthritis that can affect your knee, and they are as follows:

  1. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury has caused damage to the joint. It may become evident years after the initial injury has occurred. For example, if you were injured in a car crash or a contact sport in the past, maybe even years ago, it could result in arthritis now.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body, including your knee joint, causing significant damage. Because this disease is symmetrical, it typically affects the same joint on both sides of your body. Those with rheumatoid arthritis usually have an unhealthy immune system that triggers their joints by mistake, causing damage and inflammation in their joints. This leads to stiffness, pain, and swelling of the synovial membrane.
  3. Knee osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee arthritis, and it occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones becomes damaged due to wear and tear over time. Without this protection, your bones can rub against each other, resulting in pain, stiffness, and restricted movement. Knee osteoarthritis can also result in the formation of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis of the knee joint generally gets worse over time. 

What Causes Knee Arthritis?

While there are several causes of knee arthritis, unfortunately, the most common causes are unpreventable. Some of these causes include:

  • Genes
  • Bone anomalies
  • Injury
  • Age

Additional risk factors include being overweight and participating in activities that put a lot of stress on your knee.

Thankfully, there are some preventative measures that you can take. These include maintaining a healthy weight and minimizing your participation in activities that put a lot of stress on your knees.

Knee Arthritis Symptoms

If you have knee arthritis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Audible creaking, clicking, grinding, or snapping noise (crepitus)
  • Difficulty walking
  • Warm skin
  • Knee joint pain that changes with different weather conditions
  • Stiffness
  • Bow legs
  • Knee buckling/locking
  • Skin redness

How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed?

To make an accurate diagnosis, your specialist will review your medical history and symptoms and then conduct a physical examination.

During your examination, your specialist will look for the following:

  • Swelling, redness, or warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Instability
  • Range of motion (active and passive)
  • Crepitus
  • Pain when you bear weight on your knee
  • Difficulty walking
  • Deformity
  • Knock knees
  • Involvement of other joints

Your specialist may request diagnostic imaging tests, such as x-rays or an (MRI), to help provide a detailed structure of your bone, its surrounding tissue, and joint space.

Treatment Options for Knee Arthritis

At JIS Orthopedics, we offer various non-surgical and surgical treatment options to provide pain relief. Your treatment plan will depend on your age, the stage of your arthritis, the severity of your pain, and several other factors.

While cartilage loss cannot be reversed, there are ways to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding high-impact exercises and engaging in low-impact exercises, may keep your pain and inflammation from flaring. It’s essential to remain physically active to manage your symptoms.
  • Physical therapy to gradually strengthen your knee and increase your range of motion.
  • Weight loss to reduce the stress placed on your knee.
  • Bracing to stabilize the joint.
  • Medications and injections, such as hyaluronic acid injections, to manage your pain and inflammation and aid healing.
  • Walking aids to provide additional support and avoid falls that could make for worse problems.

Your specialist will work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan for your specific needs.

If your body does not respond to non-surgical treatments, your specialist may recommend surgical intervention. These surgical options may include:

  • Total knee replacement to resurface the bones in your knee with artificial implants to stabilize and reduce pain long-term
  • Partial knee replacement to address cartilage damage in a small but crucial section of your knee joint
  • Arthroscopy in selected patients to check for and correct knee problems

Surgery will generally relieve pain, making it possible to return to everyday activities again.

After surgery, your recovery time will vary depending on the severity of your condition and the form of surgery you have undergone. Additionally, you may need to wear a knee brace or use crutches to aid in your recovery.

Treat Your Knee Pain Today

Arthritis of the knee can be very painful and debilitating, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it can often be managed successfully. If you suspect knee joint arthritis, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today! We have offices located in New Albany and St. Clairsville.

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