Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints, called cartilage wears away. When this happens, the bones of the joints have less space and shock absorption so will rub more closely against one another. The friction between the bones results in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, sometimes, the formation of bone spurs.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While it can occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45, as our ability to heal from injury decreases. 

Almost everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis. However, several factors increase the risk of developing significant arthritis at an earlier age.

stage of knee osteoarthritis

Weight. Weight increases pressure on all the joints, especially the knees. Every pound of weight you gain adds 3 to 4 pounds of extra weight on your knees.

Heredity. This includes genetic mutations that might make a person more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee. It may also be due to inherited abnormalities in the shape of the bones that surround the knee joint.

Gender. Women ages 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.

Repetitive stress injuries. These are usually a result of the type of job or hobbies a person has. People with certain occupations that include a lot of activity that can stress the joint, such as kneeling, squatting, or lifting are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee because of the constant pressure on the joint.

Sports. Certain sports may be at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee. That means athletes should take precautions to avoid injury. However, it’s important to note that regular moderate exercise strengthens joints and can decrease the risk of osteoarthritis. In fact, weak muscles around the knee can lead to osteoarthritis.

Other illnesses. People with rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type of arthritis, are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis. People with certain metabolic disorders, high insulin, high glucose, high inflammatory markers, iron overload or excess growth hormone, also run a higher risk of osteoarthritis.

Our diet. What we eat can also contribute to osteoarthritis. If we are eating the Standard American Diet, including breads, cereals, pasta, seed oils, and too much sugar we are creating more inflammation in our joints and adding gasoline on the osteoarthritis fire.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis

symptoms of knee osteoarthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include: pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest, swelling, feeling of warmth in the joint, stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while, decrease in mobility of the knee, making it difficult to get in and out of chairs or cars, use the stairs, or walk, creaking, and crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves. 

How do we treat Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

The primary goals when treating osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain, improve joint motion and return mobility and activities. The treatment plan will typically include a combination of the following:

  • Weight loss. Losing even a small amount of weight, if needed, can significantly decrease knee pain from osteoarthritis. Our office offers a medical weight loss program to help assist with weight loss. 
  • Chiropractic care.  We mobilize the knee joint, work on the joint above and below the area of complaint and provide instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization and graston technique to work on the surrounding soft tissue.
  • Exercise. Strengthening the muscles around the knee makes the joint more stable and decreases pain. Stretching the muscles also take pressure of the joint and create more flexibility. 
  • Therapeutic Massage. By working on the soft tissue around the knee we can improve blood flow, increase flexibility, take pressure off the knee joint, decrease inflammation and promote healing. 
  • Red Light Therapy. This therapy uses light waves to stimulate your cells and boost your body’s natural healing mechanisms at the cellular level. It’s painless, natural, and safe.  When the damaged or depleted cells are exposed to red/NIR light, their mitochondria begin producing more energy. This increase in energy sparks a chain reaction of beneficial biological processes, including increased collagen production (to rebuild damaged cartilage in the knee), reduced inflammation, and increased blood flow to deliver nutrients to and remove waste from the affected area.
  • Hyaluronic Acid gel injection for the knee.  HA is present in the knee as a cushion and lubrication but as we age so does our HA. The gel injections provide lubrication, shock absorption and helps reduce friction in the joints, therefore reducing pain, stiffness and further loss of cartilage and bone
  • Platelet Rich Plasma injection for the knee: Your own platelets are taken from a blood draw we perform in our office and injected back into the knee joint.  Your platelets are powerful healers for injured areas and arthritis.  They help to regenerate the tissue over time.  Sometimes PRP injections are done in combination with other types of natural regenerative injections in our office. 
  • Natural Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.  Topical CBD cream or supplements containing collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, curcumin, and boswellia, 
  • Using Braces. There are two types of braces: “unloader” braces, which take the weight away from the side of the knee affected by arthritis; and “support” braces, which provide support for the entire knee.

Call our office to find out which therapy would be right for you 386-320-0325

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