Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease which can affect any joint, is commonly found in the knees of middle aged to old aged people. The cartilage in the knee joint is damaged and has to be replaced by providing proper treatment to the knee.
There are surgical as well as non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis in the knee and the treatment course is decided according to the severity of the ailment. Surgical treatment will have to be done too if there is severe pain and immobility.
How to Treat Osteoarthritis in the Knee
Weight loss as well as muscle strengthening is required to alleviate the problem. As one gains weight the pressure will be on the knees mostly and the muscles that give a cushioned effect to the joints weaken. Muscle strengthening will ease the pressure on the joints. Exercises and physiotherapy will help lessen the pain and allow more mobility. Avoid climbing stairs as much as possible because this will only aggravate the problem.
Custom made knee braces will help lessen the painful condition. There are two types of braces, one which shifts the load away from the affected part and another one which supports the whole knee load. Heat and cold water treatment is also good but should be done only according to the doctor’s instructions. There are ointments that can be applied for temporary pain relief and liniment bandages to be worn on the knees. All these will not repair the joint, but will lessen the severity of the condition.
Anti-inflammatory medications are available which help reduce the pain and the swelling in the joint. There are over the counter as well as prescription medications such as the NSAIDs and the COX2 inhibitor which is often prescribed if the pain is severe.
These medicines have some side effects, particularly to those taking blood thinning medications. NSAIDs can sometimes affect the kidney and the liver and COX2 also has some side effects that affect the stomach. But in severe cases of osteoarthritis in the knee, medication has to be taken to lessen the pain and swelling.
Medicines have to be taken only after consulting a doctor. There are some oral supplements like the glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate which contribute to the stability of the cartilage. Injections in the knees provide extra lubrication to the joints when the synovial fluid present in the knee is not enough to reduce friction or rubbing in the joint but this is effective only for some. At the same time, cortisone injections which are anti-inflammatory in nature, give relief to the pain and swelling.
If the medications and injections do not reduce the arthritis condition in any way, there is no other option than to go in for surgery. There are many surgical procedures. Arthroscopy is done to remove the debris in the knee if any, or repair the torn cartilage while Chondroplasty is the smoothening of the damaged cartilage to reduce friction.
If this too does not have any effect it is better to replace the damaged knee joint through a surgery. Total knee replacement as well as partial knee replacement is possible which frees one from pain and increases mobility.