FAQ-Knee arthritis

FAQ about Knee Arthritis

1. Which are the most common symptoms of knee arthritis?

The most common symptom of knee arthritis is pain and inflammation. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There are other symptoms such as:

  • The joint may become stiff and swollen, which makes difficult to bend and straighten the knee

  • Pain and swelling may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting.

  • Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.

  • Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue can interfere with the smooth motion of joints. The knee may "lock" or "stick" during movement. It may creak, click, snap or make a grinding noise also called crepitus.

  • Pain may cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee.

  • Joint pain may be increased with rainy weather.

2. What kinds of examinations will be carried out by a doctor?

The doctor will ask about the experienced symptoms and the medical history, conduct a physical examination, and possibly order diagnostic tests, such as x-rays or blood tests.

Physical Examination

During the physical examination, the doctor will look for:

  • Joint swelling, warmth, or redness

  • Tenderness about the knee

  • Range of passive (also called „assisted“) and active (also known as „self-directed“) motion

  • Stability degree of the joint

  • Crepitus (a grating sensation inside the joint) with movement

  • Pain when weight is placed on the knee

  • Problems with the way you walk

  • Injury to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the knee

  • Pain or arthritis related symptoms in other joints. These may be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

Imaging Tests

  • X-rays. These imaging tests create detailed pictures of dense structures, like bone. They can help ddifferentiate among various forms of arthritis. X-rays of an arthritic knee may show a narrowing of the joint space, changes in the bone and the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes).

  • Other tests. Occasionally, an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, a CT scan (computed tomography), or a bone scan may be needed to know the condition of the bone and soft tissues of the knee.

Laboratory Tests

The doctor may also recommend blood tests to know which type of arthritis is present. Rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis can be diagnosed with blood tests.

3. What kinds of treatments exist for knee arthritis?

Since there is no cure for arthritis, a number of treatments that may help relieve the pain and disability are listed below:

a) Lifestyle: In order to protect the knee joint and slow the progress of arthritis the following advised can be useful :

  • Minimize activities such as climbing stairs because it worsens arthritis

  • Avoid high impact sports such as jogging, tennis. Instead, lower impact activities like swimming or cycling will put less stress on the knees.

  • Losing weight can reduce stress on the knee joint so that the pain decreases and the knee function increases.

b) Physical therapy: In order to increase the range of motion and flexibility, as well as to help strengthen the muscles in the leg it is important to consult a doctor or specialist. He/She can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.

c) Assistive devices: Using devices such as a cane, wearing shock-absorbing shoes or inserts, or wearing a brace or knee sleeve can be helpful. A brace helps with stability and function, and may be especially useful if the arthritis is centered on one side of the knee. There are two types of braces that are often used for knee arthritis: The first one is an "unloader" brace, which shifts weight away from the affected portion of the knee, and the second one, a "support" brace helps support the entire knee load.