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Osteoarthritis And Knee Pain – Your Quick Guide

Posted on October 05, 2015

The knee joint is a highly functional part of the body and has its own unique purpose – to allow your shin bone and thigh bone to move freely and ensure you can sit down, bend, stand, and walk. But this freedom of movement is compromised when you suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis causes the surfaces of your knee joint to become damaged and the joint is no longer able to go through its normal range of movements. Osteoarthritis when it affects the knee is painful and can be disabling.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

As well as pain, osteoarthritis of the knee can be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness – You may be unable to properly move the knee and this stiffness can be better or worse at certain times of the day.
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  • Grinding Sensation – You feel a grinding or grating sensation when you move the knee. This is called crepitus and it can be a worrying feeling. This occurs when the bones are rubbing up against the damaged knee joint.
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  • Swelling – Accompanying the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee are small swellings. They can be soft or hard depending on the case.

What Causes Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

Unfortunately anyone can get knee osteoarthritis. It is a common condition and affects both men and women. However, there are certain factors that influence how likely it is you suffer from the condition:

  • Older Than 40 Years of Age
  • Overweight
  • Female
  • Previous Joint Injury
  • Joints Damaged by Another Medical Condition
  • Family History of Osteoarthritis

How Does Osteoarthritis of the Knee Develop?

It depends on the person, but osteoarthritis can affect different sufferers in different ways. You may find that osteoarthritis develops slowly over a period of years, manifesting itself in small changes. Or the condition can appear more quickly, in the space of a year or two. In both cases the condition will be painful. Osteoarthritis of the knee can persist without further symptoms developing or the condition can become more complicated, with the development of calcium crystals in the knee cartilage. In addition, cysts can form at the back of your knee.

How is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treated?

Treatment for this condition depends on the severity of the pain and whether osteoarthritis developed quickly or slowly. Sometimes all that is needed is treatment with over-the-counter painkillers. There are also various self-help methods you can use as well as alternative remedies. If the pain is debilitating, stronger remedies are needed.

When the pain is light and manageable you could try the following treatments:

  • Paracetamol And Other NSAIDs – These are often available in creams and gels that you use to rub into the knee joint to relieve pain and aches.
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  • Lose Weight – A combined diet and exercise plan for osteoarthritis can be beneficial.
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  • Exercise – Regular exercise can bring great benefits to sufferers of knee osteoarthritis. Try both strengthening exercises and aerobic or cardiovascular workouts. In addition, increase resistance while reducing pain with a resistance band strapped to your waist and attached to your ankles.
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  • Heat And Ice Packs
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  • Gadgets For Minimizing Pain – Try knee pain resistance bands and other apparatus that help you walk and exercise without pain.
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  • Relaxation Techniques – Meditation, yoga and other alternative therapies have been shown to help reduce the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.
    When the pain is strong you need more immediate remedies. For example, you could try capsaicin cream, a course of more effective painkillers such as tramadol, TENS – transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, steroid injections in the knee joint, or surgery. Surgical options include replacement of the knee joint. This is obviously a final option but it can be very effective.

It is very important that you treat knee osteoarthritis as soon as it develops in order to improve mobility and maintain your standard of daily living. Ignoring symptoms of knee pain is dangerous as the condition can progress so far as to be highly painful and disabling. Speak to your doctor if you have symptoms of knee pain and experiment to find the best course of treatment for your condition. If you are concerned or depressed over your condition then you can also get help for the psychological aspects of managing osteoarthritis.