Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis form that affects millions of people across the globe. While OA can affect any joint, it often damages the knees, hands, spine, and hips. Also known as wear and tear arthritis, the condition develops when the protective cartilage cushioning the ends of the bone in a joint wears away over time. Joints are parts of the body where two or more bones meet. These parts include your knee, hip, hands, backbone (any part of the body that you can bend has a joint).
The ends of the bones in a joint have a smooth, slippery surface referred to as the cartilage. This protective covering allows the bones to rub against each other without friction. Osteoarthritis causes the wear and tear of the cartilage between the bones, making the joint rough. The increased resistance at the joint causes stiffness, pain, swelling, and decreased ability to move.
While various treatments help in managing the OA symptoms, damaged joints are not reversible. Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active c will also help in slowing the disease progression. Although OA can affect both men and women at any age, individuals aged over 45 years are at an increased risk. Based on the research done by the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects more than 27 million people in the USA alone, with the knee being the most susceptible part. Research also shows that women are at an increased risk of developing OA than men.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
The most common cause of knee pain is knee osteoarthritis. The pain may come and go, become worse over time, or come accompanied by other symptoms, including knee stiffness. The condition develops due to degeneration of the cartilage. While the cartilage does not contain any nerves, damage or missing cartilage in the knee causes friction between bones and bone tissue changes, leading to pain. For example, damaged cartilage can lead to various bone changes such as:
- Bone Spurs
Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are abnormal bony growth at the knee joints with damaged cartilage. The joint bones produce the bone spurs to compensate for missing or deteriorated cartilage. Bone spurs have an irregular shape that creates more friction in the knee joint, causing discomfort and pain.
- Subchondral Bone Sclerosis
Due to undistributed weight loads, the tibia and femur surfaces, which lie beneath the cartilage, can change in composition, making it harden.
- Cysts And Bone Marrow Lesions
Missing or deteriorated knee cartilage can also lead to cysts development and bone marrow lesions (areas of abnormal swelling). These cysts and lesions lead to knee discomfort and pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis (OA)
For most people, the knee osteoarthritis symptoms come and go, worsening over time. While it is easy to dismiss early knee OA signs and symptoms, the symptoms become worse if left untreated, causing mobility issues. Some of the common OA signs and symptoms include:
Causes Of Osteoarthritis (OA)
Although Knee OA affects as many as 45 percent of people in their lifetime, the exact cause is unknown. However, medical practitioners have discovered several risks that increase the chances of developing knee osteoarthritis. These include:
How is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Diagnosed?
The diagnosis process for knee osteoarthritis starts with a thorough physical examination by a qualified doctor. Your physician will also collect your medical history and ask you about any symptoms you may be experiencing. Ensure that you explain your symptoms in detail and point out what makes the pain better or well. It is also essential to find out if other members of your family have knee arthritis.
Besides collecting the information and performing a physical examination, your doctor may also request additional testing such as x-rays and MRI scans. The X-ray imaging shows the extent of the cartilage damage and any presence of bone spurs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are more precise and detailed and help the doctor see the bones, cartilage, and other joint tissue damage. The doctor may also request blood tests that will help him to rule out other conditions that may be causing the knee pain.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis (OA)
Like most other diseases, addressing the symptoms of knee OA from early stages helps prevent the condition from worsening. Various treatments are available for knee arthritis. As mentioned, this treatment’s primary aim is to stop the condition’s progression since damaged joints are not reversible. The main types of knee osteoarthritis include medications, non-surgical treatments, surgeries, and injections.
Your doctor will choose the right approach depending on your general wellbeing and the condition progression level. Like other arthritic conditions, lifestyle modifications can help protect your knee health and slow the progression of knee arthritis. Your physician may recommend following the following lifestyle changes.
- Minimizing the activities that aggravate the condition. Avoiding activities such as heavy lifting or climbing stairs can help in slowing OA progression.
- Losing weight. Maintaining the proper weight will reduce the stress on your knee joint.
- Switch from intense activities such as tennis or jogging to low-impact activities like cycling or swimming. Low impact activities will help you stay in shape while protecting your knees
Non-Invasive Procedure Performed at Pedes Orange County –
Geniculate Artery Embolization (GAE)
Geniculate Artery Embolization (GAE), also known as genicular artery embolization, is a new and advanced minimally invasive procedure that provides immediate and long-term pain relief for patients suffering from osteoarthritis (OA). The procedure reduces the flow of blood to the synovium (the lining of the knee). By blocking these arteries, the inflammation that is associated with osteoarthritis reduces significantly, eliminating knee pain. Is GAE suitable for me? What benefits does it have over traditional OA treatments? Before answering these questions, let us first discuss what osteoarthritis is and its effect on our wellbeing.
What to Expect from Your Visit to Pedes
Your treatment will begin with an ultrasound examination of your veins, arteries, or both, in your legs to diagnose the presence and extent of the disease. Your test results will be immediately available to review with the doctor.
Once we review the results of your diagnostic tests, our physicians will help you develop a plan to provide you with the best treatment for your disease.
Depending on the extent of disease in your arteries or veins, our specialists may recommend minimally invasive intervention and/or prescribe medications to help your symptoms.
It is important to make sure that you return for every scheduled follow-up appointment to ensure that your disease is appropriately monitored. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please call or schedule a follow-up appointment with our staff.