Osteoarthritis (or arthritis) is the most common disease of joints affecting adults worldwide. Typically, arthritis affects synovial joints. These joints have cartilage lining the bone surfaces and a joint capsule filled with synovial fluid. The cartilage and synovial fluid ensure the bones can move painlessly and with low friction to each other.1
In arthritis, the cartilage decreases in thickness and eventually cracks. Once damaged, cartilage cannot recover and bone surfaces to come in contact with each other. The bones respond by expanding and forming osteophytes. Ultimately, it leads to joint pain and loss of function.1
Risk Factors 2
· Joint hypermobility or instability
· High-impact sports
· Repetitive knee bending
· Injury to joint
· History of immobilization
· Family history
Signs & Symptoms 2
· Pain in the joint
· Joint tenderness
· Morning stiffness
· Sensitivity when kneeling or bending
· Decrease in function
· Decrease in muscle power
· Crepitus or “cracking”
Treatment options will vary depending on the stage, severity, co-morbities, age, etc. It is important to start with conservative treatment first and then progress to more invasive therapies.
1. Physical Therapy: prescribed exercises 7, hydrotherapy 3,4 (walking in the pool), manual therapy 5, ice 6, electrical stimulation 2, braces 2, kinesiotaping 3 2. Pharmaceutical: acetaminophen 8, NSAIDs 8, opioids 7,8
3. Injections 8: hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids
4. Surgery 2: arthroscopic, total knee replacement
Always consult a health care professional to assess any injuries, aches, and pains. Acute pain can progress to chronic pain if left untreated.
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