How Do You Know if You Have Arthritic Knees?
Arthritis of the knee is one of the most common forms of arthritis. If you’ve been diagnosed with knee arthritis or suspect you have the condition, you likely experience pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion of one or both knees.
Knee arthritis is a degenerative joint condition. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the knee joint begins to wear down. As a result, the bones may rub against each other, leading to unwanted pain and stiffness in the knee.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of knee arthritis, including age, genetics, previous knee injuries, obesity and overuse of the knee joint. The condition is more common in older adults, but it can affect people of all ages.
Although there’s no cure for knee arthritis and the condition can worsen over time, there are various non-invasive treatments available to help slow down the progression of the arthritis, alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
Signs You May Have Knee Arthritis
Bone will inevitably rub against bone when the cushion of the knee cartilage is lost, causing significant pain.
Other symptoms of arthritic knees may include:
- Stiffness: Feeling stiffness in the knee joint, particularly after periods of inactivity or prolonged sitting, can be a sign of arthritis. The stiffness may improve with gentle movement but may return after periods of rest.
- Swelling and inflammation: Arthritis can cause swelling and inflammation in the knee joint. The knee may appear puffy or feel warm to the touch.
- Reduced range of motion: Arthritis can lead to a decrease in the knee joint's range of motion. You may find it challenging to fully bend or straighten your knee as freely as before.
- Crepitus: You may experience a cracking, grinding or popping sensation in the knee joint during movement. This sensation, known as crepitus, occurs when the roughened joint surfaces rub against each other.
- Weakness or instability: Arthritis in the knee can result in muscle weakness or a feeling of instability in the joint. You may notice difficulty in bearing weight or a sense that your knee may give way or buckle.
Non-Invasive and Minimally Invasive Treatments for Knee Arthritis
A TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine is a device that uses low-voltage electrical currents to provide pain relief. While it may not directly treat the underlying causes of knee arthritis, a TENS machine can help manage the pain associated with the condition.
Wearing a knee brace can enhance the functionality of the knee joint and alleviate discomfort during movement. Knee braces do not cause any adverse effects. Always seek assistance from a qualified professional who can accurately fit a knee brace to ensure optimal treatment outcomes.
Physical therapy can help alleviate pain associated with knee arthritis. A skilled physical therapist can use manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization or soft tissue massage, to reduce joint stiffness and promote pain relief. Additionally, your physical therapist can educate you on proper body mechanics and provide guidance on activities and exercises that minimize pain.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections are a regenerative medicine treatment that involves using a concentrated solution of your own blood platelets to promote healing, which in turn helps restore function and reduce pain. PRP injections have been explored as a potential treatment option for knee arthritis. While their effectiveness may vary among individuals, they offer several potential benefits like pain reduction, restoration of function and tissue regeneration.
Amniotic Stem Cell Injections
Amniotic stem cell injections are a form of regenerative medicine that has gained attention as a potential treatment for knee arthritis. These injections utilize stem cells derived from amniotic fluid that is ethically harvested after babies have been brought to term and delivered. While research is ongoing and the effectiveness may vary, amniotic stem cell injections offer several potential benefits for treating knee arthritis, including inflammation reduction, tissue regeneration and repair.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid that surrounds the joints. In individuals with knee arthritis, the synovial fluid may become thin and less effective in providing lubrication and shock absorption. Hyaluronic acid injections supplement the natural levels of this substance, improving joint lubrication and cushioning. This can help reduce pain during movement and enhance joint function.
Why Surgery Should Be the Last Resort for Treating Knee Arthritis
Although surgery like knee replacement is an option when treating knee arthritis, it’s generally recommended to exhaust other less or non-invasive options which can significantly improve your symptoms. This is because surgery carries certain risks and requires a more extensive recovery process. These complications can include infection, blood clots, adverse reactions to anesthesia and even implant-related issues.
Surgery for knee arthritis also requires a significant recovery period. This may involve post-operative pain, swelling and limited mobility. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are usually necessary to regain strength and range of motion. Considering the time and effort required for recovery, and the risks posed by any surgical procedure, it’s usually a good idea to explore non-invasive treatments first.
Explore the Minimally Invasive Knee Arthritis Treatments at Non-Surgical Orthopaedics in Marietta and Carrollton
At Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, we specialize in advanced non-surgical approaches that can provide relief from pain and other unwanted symptoms without resorting to invasive surgery. From innovative injections to regenerative therapies, we offer a range of cutting-edge treatments tailored to your unique needs.
To learn more or schedule a consultation with one of our orthopaedic care specialists, call our treatment center in Marietta at 770-421-1420.