What is Knee arthritis?
The term knee arthritis means inflammation of a joint and the knee joint is lined by articular cartilage, a specialised lining which allows smooth, a pain-free motion of the knee joint. A degeneration or wearing out of this lining which results in the bone ends rubbing each other rather than the articular cartilage which causes pain.
What are the different types of Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis which can be due to normal ageing or may develop as a result of another condition, past surgery or trauma. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the joint articular cartilage is gradually worn away. The pain tends to be worse in the mornings and with vigorous activity.
Primary osteoarthritis is commonly associated with ageing and general degeneration of joints.
Secondary osteoarthritis is generally the consequence of another disease or condition, such as repeated trauma or surgery to the affected joint, or abnormal joint structures from birth.
Uric acid crystal build-up is the cause of gout and long-term crystal build-up in the joints may cause deformity. Some people might have congenital abnormalities of the joints for example disease of the hips that cause early degeneration and subsequently cause osteoarthritis.
The most common form is rheumatoid arthritis an immune disorder resulting in an inflammation of the synovial lining of the joint which releases chemicals and can subsequently damage the articular surface. Knee replacement is only required when there is severe damage to the joint. This condition can affect any synovial joint in the body and is best treated medically by a rheumatologist.
What are the Symptoms of knee arthritis?
Pain, swelling and stiffness are usually symptoms of knee arthritis. As arthritis progresses the joint eventually becomes more stiff and swollen and it may be difficult to straighten or bend the knee. These symptoms may be associated with limitation of walking due to either pain or fatigue. swelling – The inflammation might also make the joint feel hot and red. And, the leg can change shape (become more bow legged or knock kneed)
How is knee arthritis diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed on a detailed history, and also going through the physical examination and X-ray. Physical examination will reveal pain on moving the joint and limitation of movement as well as osteophytes whereas X-rays will reveal narrowing of the joint space and often deformity of the bones and osteophytes.
Knee arthritis treatment
Using analgesia anti-inflammatories supervised by a local doctor. Also, maintain the weight and fitness and muscle tone, using a walking stick in order to take weight off the knee. If you are overweight, try to reduce the weight to lighten the load on weight-bearing joints, and also participate in regular exercise.
It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a miniature telescope-like instrument is passed into the joint so that the surgeon can see the inside of the knee in great detail, and operate through just two small incisions. This can help in early arthritis especially with the sudden onset of symptoms. Often there is an associated meniscal tear or loose flaps of cartilage which can be removed. An arthroscopy is useful in a knee that is not bad enough to warrant a replacement.
This operation, we need to cut the bone and realign it so that more weight is taken on the healthy part of the joint and it is relatively helpful in young active patients who are not suitable for a joint replacement.
This is indicated in well-localised lesions in young patients.
Joint replacement can be either a partial or a full knee replacement depending on the symptoms and examination.