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 What is Arthritis ?

  • Arthritis is not a symptom of “just getting old”.
  • Once the knee starts to become painful, stiff, and you are forced to restrict certain activities, you may come to realize how much “freedom of movement” means to you.
  • Arthritis can occur in any joint.
  • It occurs most often in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
  • Permanent damage to the articular cartilage results in arthritis.
  • Although there are several types of arthritis, one of the most common is Osteoarthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis occurs because of age related wear and tear.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis occurs because of inflammation and involves many joints.
  • The cushion your knee requires to absorb stress is gone, resulting in bone-to-bone contact.

 What is Arthritis ?

  • Despite years of research, no one has a simple answer to this question.
  • Many factors probably cause the initial cartilage damage that sets off the destructive process.
  • It remains a mystery why particular joints are affected by osteoarthritis if they have not suffered any previous injury or disease.

 RISK FACTORS FOR ARTHRITIS

  • Increasing age: commonly after 45yrs
  • Sex: more common in women.
  • Repetitive use – Heavy sports
  • Obesity: for every kilogram gained, you put 3 extra kilograms of pressure on your knees.
  • Squatting
  • Genetic factors
  • Smoking
  • Anatomic deformity – Bow legs

 ARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Shortening & Deformity – bowed legs
  • Restriction of movements
  • Instability

 WORSENING ARTHRITIS

  • With time the pain worsens.
  • The patient limps and can walk only short distances.
  • Unable to sit on the floor and climb stairs.
  • Medications stop working.
  • The legs become deformed.

 STAGES OF OSTEO-ARTHRITIS (OA)

MILD

Cartilage begins to wear down. Symptoms are generally mild and may include pain that comes and goes.

MODERATE

Cartilage continues to wear away. Joint fluid may lose its ability to lubricate and cushion the knee. You may have more pain and difficulty in movement.

SEVERE

Areas of cartilage may totally wear away, causing bones to rub against each other. You may experience significant unbearable pain.

 TREATMENT OPTIONS

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee you will need to see your orthopaedician regularly to successfully manage your condition. The orthopaedic surgeon will discuss options to reduce your pain and increase your ability to do daily activities.

Lifestyle changes

  • Moderate exercise and/or physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles and increase your mobility.
  • Weight loss is recommended to reduce stress on knee joints if you are overweight.

Oral therapies

  • Oral pain relievers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can provide pain relief. These should not be taken long-term, because they can cause stomach upset and other serious gastrointestinal (GI) side effects.
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin sulphate are treatment alternatives which, when taken daily, may also provide some level of pain relief.

Viscosupplements

  • Viscosupplements are intra-articular injections given either only once or weekly for 3-5 weeks (injections into the joint space) that replace damaged joint fluid and may provide pain relief up to a year.
  • Side effects are fewer with these injections, since they are directly injected into the knee. Injection site pain is only temporary.

Steroid injections

  • Intra-articular steroid injections are typically reported to provide short-term relief. Repeated use may cause damage to your cartilage.

SURGERY

ARTHROSCOPY

key hole surgery to clear off small pieces of cartilage debris which float around the knee and cause pain and other symptoms, providing temporary pain relief and improved mobility for 6months to 2 years.

TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT

total Knee replacement is the last resort for patients whose knee pain is severe and cannot be relieved with other treatment options.