Osteoarthritis is arthritis where the cushioning between cartilage and joints wears away. And without the comfort of cushioning, the bones of the joints rub with each other. This rubbing causes swelling, pain, stiffness, and reduces the ability to move freely.

Osteoarthritis of the knee can develop or happen after 55 years, and sometimes it can occur at the young age as well. Women are more prone to develop arthritis than men.

Treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee in Women

Causes of osteoarthritis of the knee

There are many factors that increase the chances of developing osteoarthritis.

  • Age is a major factor for arthritis. The capacity of cartilage to heal reduces as a person gets older.
  • Obesity can also be a cause, and weight enhances the pressure on the joints of the knee.
  • Individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis may also develop osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee

Here are some signs you need to look out for:

  • When you place your hand on knees, it feels warm.
  • Pain and swelling increase when active, but feel right after rest.
  • Creaking sound is heard while moving the knees.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is mostly irreversible and progressive process, but pain control and functional treatment are possible. Early treatment can preserve and improve the joint integrity. The treatment can give relief in pain and makes the movement possible.

The treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee is done according to the severity of the problem. There are non-surgical treatments and surgical treatments.

Non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee

The primary aim of this treatment is to give relief in pain and regain the mobility of the knee joint.

Here are some combinations of treatment plan:

  • To strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, patients are asked to learn exercise. Stretch exercise will help in keeping the joint flexible and give mobility in the day to day functioning.
  • Losing weight can be beneficial in reducing the pain in the knee.
  • Cold or warm compression can be helpful- like a hot pad can loosen up the stiff knee. Ice pad putt for 15 minutes can reduce the swelling and gives relief in pain. However, this procedure provides temporary relief.

Medications taken can alleviate the pain and provide mobility. Patients have to discuss their lifestyle and their medical history with doctors and then decide which medicine to take.

  • Analgesics and topical analgesics are used to relieve the pain. Tylenol can reduce the pain but do not decrease the swelling and also have some side effects. Creams are applied on the knee, and it does not have side effects. These creams are sold over the counter and easily available in drug stores.
  • For severe pain, anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin can be taken. To reduce the swelling, naproxen or COX-2 inhibitors are used. These medicines have side effects. Therefore, heart patients or old people should always consult their doctor and take medicines.
  • Injections are used to treat unbearable pain in osteoarthritis of the knee. You can use hyaluronic acid injections or steroid injections. Steroid injections reduce knee stiffness and swelling and give relief in pain. Hyaluronic acid injections mimic viscous synovial fluid which lubricates the knee joints.
  • If the patient has trouble while performing his/her daily activities then at that time occupational and physical therapy comes in the foray. The professional therapist suggests how to do the task with less pain, and physical therapist suggests how to enhance the flexibility of joint by exercise.
  • One can also take the help of braces, and unloader braces function is to remove the weight from the affected knee. The support braces give support to the whole knee.

Surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee

When the symptoms of osteoarthritis are severe, and other treatments are not working then as a last option, surgical treatments are suggested. There are arthroscopy, arthroplasty, and osteotomy.

  • In arthroscopy, the loose particles of cartilage are removed by a telescope and various other small instruments. This procedure is performed on patient below 55 years of age.
  • In the osteotomy, the goal is to align the knee bones to decrease the friction between bones. This treatment is suggested when any one area of the knee is damaged. This surgery is not a permanent solution, and further surgery is required in future if necessary.
  • Arthroplasty is also called joint replacement surgery, in which the joints are replaced with plastic or metal parts. The replacement can be done on one knee or both the knees. This surgery is done on the patients who are above the age of 50 and with severe symptoms. The results of the surgery are outstanding, but it also has its risks. In knee replacement surgery, the time required for recovery is long.

So, these were the few imperative things that one needs to know about the osteoarthritis of the knee. The symptoms will make you aware and the surgical and non-surgical treatments will help you in the treatment of osteoarthritis.