Knee osteoarthritis is the most common type of osteoarthritis. More than 10 million Americans have this type of osteoarthritis. It is also a common cause of disability in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment help manage knee osteoarthritis symptoms. At All American Orthopedic and Sports medicine Institute our physicians specialize in many treatments of osteoarthritis.
Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis
- prior knee injuries
- repetitive strain on the knee through sports or many activities
- fractures, ligament tear, and meniscal injuries can affect alignments and create more wear and tear
- genetics make some people more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis
- irregularities with subchondral bone (the bone layer underneath cartilage)
- obesity – even small amounts of excess weight can increase the incidence of knee osteoarthritis
Diagnosis of Knee Osteoarthritis
Our All American Orthopedic physicians will take an extensive medical history, perform a physical examination, and order x-rays to diagnose knee osteoarthritis. X-rays are very helpful, allowing the doctor to see evidence of joint space narrowing but if more detailed imaging is needed, an MRI may be ordered. Arthroscopic knee surgery is another way to view the condition of the knee.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee osteoarthritis usually develops gradually over a period of years. The most common symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis include:
- pain (mild, moderate, or severe)
- limited range of motion in the knee
- swelling around the knee
Knee osteoarthritis pain is often worse following activity, especially overuse of the affected knee. Stiffness can become worse after sitting for prolonged periods of time. As knee osteoarthritis progresses, symptoms often become more severe. Pain can become chronic rather than only when the knee is weight-bearing.
Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee osteoarthritis cannot be cured but the physicians at All American Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute can provide treatments to help manage the symptoms. Anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen can help manage and relieve pain. Some patients require prescription (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or Celebrex, a COX-2 selective inhibitor.
Aside from medications, other treatments include:
- local intra-articular injections of steroids or viscosupplements
- physical therapy and exercises provided by our physicians
- weight loss if overweight
- knee braces or supports can be provided at our office
- heat and cold
- surgery as a last resort
Our physicians at All American Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute state that diagnosis and treatment is most helpful while knee osteoarthritis is in the early stages. When treated early, many people can often manage mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.