Age is the major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, young people can get it, too. For some of the individuals, it may be hereditary. Osteoarthritis of the knee can also results from injury or infection or even from being overweight.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, are commonly known as wear and tear arthritis, it is a condition in which the natural cushioning between the joints cartilage wears away. When it happens, the bones of the joints rub more closely against to one another with less of the shock-absorbing benefits of cartilage. Major rubbing results in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, sometimes it will be formation of bone spurs.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis of the Knee?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It can also occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45.
What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis?
Mostly,the common cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is age. Several factors will increase the risk of developing significant arthritis at an earlier age.
Repetitive stress injuries
What Are the Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include:
Pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest
Feeling of warmth in the joint
Stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while.
Decrease in mobility of the knee, might it may be difficult to get in and out of chairs or cars, use the stairs, or walk.
Creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves.
How Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by the doctor. Doctor will also take the medical history and will note the symptoms. Doctor may order additional testing, which are as follows:
X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
How Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treated?
The primary treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility. The treatment plan will typically include a combination of the following:
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
Injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the knee
The quality of your skin is a sure-fire way to get a reading on your overall level of health. Of course, some people struggle with skin issues like acne and are otherwise perfectly fine — but skin quality can clue you in to some bigger problems. A poor diet can really impact your skin quality, and if you’re noticing blemishes like stretch marks? That should tell you that something is wrong.
Can’t seem to fall asleep at night? That can be an indication that some aspects of your life need adjusting. Whether it be that you’re eating the wrong foods, ingesting too much caffeine late in the day, or not expelling enough energy during the day, not being able to sleep presents an issue — which cascades into further issues.
Yep, we’re getting down and dirty. Take note of the color of your urine, and even how frequently you’re going No. 2 — those could both provide important insight into the state of your overall health. Since you’re going to ask, your urine should be a pale yellow color — and hopefully odorless. As for your bowel movement frequency, there’s a wide range. But if you’re going regularly, you’re probably fine. And don’t ignore the grimy details during your investigation.
Lip balm reliance
If your lips are constantly chapped, and you find that you can’t live without lip balm, that’s your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. Specifically, your lip condition is an indicator of your vitamin levels. If your lips are chapped, you may be vitamin strapped — so diversify your diet, and get the nutrients you need.
Bad finger and toe nails
If the condition of your lips wasn’t a solid enough indicator, your finger and toe nails can also give you a heads-up if you’re unhealthy. You’re going to want to be on the lookout for ridges, discoloration, and bumps — all of which should be red flags. Your nails can tell you a lot about your overall state of health, so if something is strange, don’t ignore it.
Body temperature fluctuation
Icy feet and hands aren’t normal. Yes, there could be environmental factors at play, but if you’re consistently finding that your extremities are ice cold, it can be a sign of cardiovascular problems. Specifically, cold hands or feet might mean that you’re having circulation issues, and that your body isn’t getting blood where it needs to go. If this is a chronic issue, have it checked out.
A cloudy mind
It’s becoming quite clear that our cognitive ability and brain health are closely tied to our physical condition. That means that obesity and elevated levels of body fat can have a significant impact on our ability to think and reason. It’s kind of scary, but also a very promising area of research. So, if you can’t formulate a potent thought, it may be a sign that it’s time to drop some weight.
Follow these 11 dos and don’ts to help your knees feel their best.
Don’t rest too much:
Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Don’t risk a fall:
A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.”:
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
Don’t overlook your weight:
If you’re overweight, losing weight reduces the stress on your knee. You don’t even need to get to your “ideal” weight. Smaller changes still make a difference.
Don’t be shy about using a walking aid:
A crutch or cane can take the stress off of your knee. Knee splints and braces can also help you stay stable.
Do consider acupuncture:
This form of traditional Chinese medicine, which involves inserting fine needles at certain points on the body, is widely used to relieve many types of pain and may help knee pain.
Don’t let your shoes make matters worse:
Cushioned insoles can reduce stress on your knees. For knee osteoarthritis, doctors often recommend special insoles that you put in your shoe. To find the appropriate insole, speak with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do play with temperature:
For the first 48 to 72 hours after a knee injury, use a cold pack to ease swelling and numb the pain. A plastic bag of ice or frozen peas works well. Use it for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day. Wrap your ice pack in a towel to be kind to your skin. After that, you can heat things up with a warm bath, heating pad, or warm towel for 15 to 20 minutes, three or four times a day.
Don’t jar your joint(s):
High-impact exercises can further injure painful knees. Avoid jarring exercises such as running, jumping, and kickboxing. Also avoid doing exercises such as lunges and deep squats that put a lot of stress on your knees. These can worsen pain and, if not done correctly, cause injury.
Do get expert advice:
If your knee pain is new, get a doctor to check it out. It’s best to know what you’re dealing with ASAP so you can prevent any more damage.
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3. Tenderness and Pain in the Back of Your Lower Leg
This can be a symptom of a blood clot in your leg. It’s called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. It can happen after you’ve been sitting for a long time, like on a long plane ride, or if you’re sick and have been in bed a long time.
If it’s a blood clot, you may feel the pain mostly when you stand or walk. You may also notice swelling.
It’s normal to feel tenderness after exercise. But if you also see redness and feel heat where it’s swollen or painful, call your doctor.
It’s important to catch a blood clot before it can break off and block your blood flow, which can lead to complications.
Several things can cause you to see blood when you pee.
If you have blood in your urine and you also feel a lot of pain in your side or in your back, you may have kidney stones. A kidney stone is a small crystal made of minerals and salts that forms in your kidney and moves through the tube that carries your urine.
Your doctor may take X-rays or do an ultrasound to see the stones. An X-ray uses radiation in low doses to make images of structures inside your body. An ultrasound makes images with sound waves.
Many kidney stones eventually pass through your body when you pee. Sometimes your doctor may need to remove the kidney stone.
If you see blood in your urine and you also have an increase in feeling that you urgently need to pee, make frequent trips to the bathroom, or feel burning when you urinate, you may have a severe bladder or kidney infection.
If you see blood but don’t feel any pain, it may be a sign of kidney or bladder cancer, so visit your doctor.
Breathing problems should be treated right away. If you’re wheezing, or hear a whistling sound when you breathe, see your doctor.
“Without urgent evaluation, breathing can quickly become labored, and it can be catastrophic if not evaluated and treated quickly.
It may be from asthma, a lung disease, a severe allergy, or exposure to chemicals. Your doctor can figure out what’s causing it and how to treat it. If you have asthma, an allergist will create a plan to manage it and reduce flare-ups.
Wheezing can also be caused by pneumonia or bronchitis. Are you coughing up yellow or green mucus? Do you also have a fever or shortness of breath? If so, you may have bronchitis that’s turning into pneumonia. “Time to see your doctor.
Exercise more to decrease pain and feel more energetic? Hardly seems possible with Rheumatoid Arthritis. But it’s true! Inactivity decreases joint motion and flexibility. Inactivity also can lead to weak muscles and deformed joints. Regular exercise helps reverse joint stiffness, builds muscle, and boosts overall fitness. With regular exercise, you can feel stronger with less fatigue. But first, see your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Choose Low-Impact Aerobics
These exercises build endurance and strong bones and also strengthen leg muscles. Low-impact aerobic exercises include stair climbing, walking, dancing, and low-impact cardio machines, like the elliptical trainer.
To do: Start by exercising a few minutes each day, adding more time as you can. Aim to exercise at a moderate pace, 30 to 60 minutes, most days each week.
Strengthen Muscles and Bones
Include resistance exercises two to three times a week to improve muscle strength and mobility and decrease joint pain. Stronger muscles decrease joint pain by better supporting the joints. Strengthening exercises also increase your metabolism and help you shed pounds.
To do: Use elastic bands, free weights, or machines for resistance. Ask the trainer at your local fitness center to show you how to use resistance machines.
Swimmers, Take Your Mark!
Swimming is a great way to increase conditioning for all your joints, as well as strengthen your back, without putting excess stress on your joints.
To do: Start slowly with just a few minutes in a heated pool. Use a kickboard when you first start to get used to moving in the water. Gradually build to a goal of swimming 30 minutes at a time. Increase physical activity with each exercise period until you reach your goal time.
Healthy Body, Healthy Heart
Aerobic exercise helps build a healthy body and a stronger heart. People with Rheumatoid Arthritis are more likely to develop heart disease. However, getting your heart pumping with exercise helps reduce that risk. Aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure and improves cholesterol. Because bone loss often occurs with Rheumatoid Arthritis, weight-bearing exercise like walking, dancing, and climbing stairs helps prevent osteoporosis.
When regular strength training is painful on the joints, isometric exercise is another way to build muscle. Isometrics involve tensing the muscle without any visible movement.
Isometric Chest Press
To do: With your arms at chest level, press the palms of your hands together as hard as you can. Hold the press for 5 seconds; then rest for 5 seconds. Do another 5 second press and a 5 second rest. Do 5 repetitions. Slowly build up to holding the press for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. If this exercise hurts your joints, ask a trainer to show you another isometric chest exercise.
Isometric Shoulder Extension
To do: This isometric exercise is done standing with your back against a wall and your arms at your sides. With your elbows straight, push your arms back toward the wall. Hold for 5 seconds, and then rest. You can repeat this 10 times. If this exercise hurts your joints, ask a trainer to show you another isometric shoulder exercise.
This exercise strengthens the thigh muscles, which are a major support for the knees.
To do: Sit on the floor or a bed with one leg straight and the other bent. Then tighten the thigh muscles of your straight leg as hard as you can. Keep the thigh muscle tight and count to six. Relax, and then repeat. Do with the opposite leg, gradually increasing up to five, then 10, then 15 repetitions, twice daily with each leg. If this exercise hurts your joints, ask a trainer to show you another isometric thigh exercise.
Stretch to Increase Flexibility
Regular stretching is important to increase flexibility and restore joint motion. To ease pain and stiffness, use moist heat or warm baths before and after stretching exercises. Also, warm up with light aerobic exercise such as walking for 10 minutes before stretching to decrease risk of injury. Hold stretches for 30 seconds without bouncing or jerking.
Tip: Use a towel to bridge the distance between your hands if you cannot comfortably connect them.
Stretch Your Fingers
To do: Close your fingers, making a fist. Then, open and extend the fingers as straight as possible. Repeat this exercise, gradually increasing up to 20 times, twice daily. To further increase strength, squeeze a foam or sponge ball about the size of a tennis ball. Release and extend the fingers.
Keep Wrists Flexible
To do: This exercise is done sitting at a table or desk. With your left forearm on the table, let your left hand hang over the edge of the table. Using your right hand, grab the fingers of your left hand and bend your left hand at the wrist, slowly moving it up and then down as far as possible without pain. Repeat with the opposite hand. Increase up to 20 repetitions, twice daily.
Perform an Elbow Stretch
To do: With your arm extended, parallel to the floor, position your palm face up. Using your opposite hand, grab hold of the fingers and pull the palm of the extended hand toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Now, do the same exercise, except this time turn your palm face down. Using the opposite hand, push the top of your extended fingers and hand down toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
Try Hip Rotation
To do: Sit or lie on your back on the floor or on a bed, feet slightly apart. With your legs and knees straight, turn your knees in toward each other and touch the toes of your feet together, holding for 5 seconds. Now turn the legs and knees out, and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this, gradually increasing up to five, 10, and then 20 repetitions, twice daily.
Get Flexible Feet
To do: Facing the wall, place palms flat on the wall, one foot forward, and one foot back. Leaving your heels on the floor, lean forward. As you do so, feel the pull in the calf of your back leg and the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. Hold for 30 seconds. Do three repetitions. Then reverse the position of your legs and repeat.
Tai Chi Increases Flexibility
The ancient discipline of tai chi can help those with Rheumatoid Arthritis increase range of motion, boost flexibility, and tone muscles to provide better balance. The focus of tai chi is on breathing and creating an inner stillness, allowing participants to relax.
Avoid High-Impact Exercise
High-impact exercises, such as jogging, running, or playing tennis on hard pavement, can put excess stress on your joints. Lifting heavy weights may also not be the best form of exercise for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Looking for a more intense workout? Talk with your doctor first to see if you can do more taxing exercises such as heavy weight lifting, tennis, basketball, or volleyball without risk of joint injury.
Balance Rest with Exercise
Fatigue is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis, making it difficult to feel energetic, so balance rest with exercise. During a flare, short periods of rest are important to reduce active joint inflammation and pain and to fight fatigue. This doesn’t mean bed rest, unless your doctor recommends it. Too much inactivity weakens muscles and can increase joint pain.
Consider a Personal Trainer
Talk with your doctor about the benefits of a personal trainer. Having a personal trainer may allow you to personalize your exercise regimen, while increasing fitness and avoiding injury. Don’t let the fact that you have rheumatoid arthritis stop you from exercising the way you’d like.