As we age, our joints wear out and deteriorate. For some, this can lead to osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, since it affects approximately 15% of the French population. It occurs when the cartilage that protects the ends of bones wears away, causing pain and stiffness in the joint. Fortunately, some treatments can help relieve symptoms. If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, read the following to better manage your disease from now on.
Where does knee osteoarthritis come from?
Osteoarthritis is a common problem that can cause stiffness and pain in the joints. The knee is one of the most commonly affected joints, and several different factors can contribute to the development of knee osteoarthritis. One of the most important is age. Obesity can also contribute to knee osteoarthritis because the extra weight puts extra pressure on the knees.
Finally, people who have had previous knee injuries are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis later in life. If you experience pain or stiffness in your knees, it’s important to see a doctor so they can determine if you have osteoarthritis and come up with a treatment plan.
How to know if you are at the beginning of knee osteoarthritis? What are the other symptoms?
Knowing if you are in the early stages of knee osteoarthritis is important because it can help you take steps to prevent the disease from progressing. Some signs that you are at the onset of knee osteoarthritis include hip or knee pain, swelling in the knee joint, and stiffness in the knee. The most common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are:
- Stiffness: You can suffer from it particularly in the morning or after long hours spent in a sitting position.
- Loss of movement: Over time, you may lose the ability to fully bend and straighten your knee.
- Crackle and squeak (crepitation): You may hear crackling or feel a grinding sensation.
- Instability: Your knee may ‘give in’, twist out of shape, or look like it might.
If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, see your doctor for a more specific diagnosis. Many treatments exist to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, so don’t wait until you have severe symptoms before seeing your doctor.
How to manage your osteoarthritis?
Of course, you can manage your arthritis and prevent it from getting worse. First of all, it is important to stay active and to control thereby maintaining a healthy weight. Regular physical activity is necessary to reduce the pressure on your joints.
There are also a number of other treatments that can help, including physiotherapy, pain medication, and assistive devices. Share with your doctor how you feel to advise you on appropriate treatment options. Finally, be sure to listen to your body and rest when you need it. Don’t push yourself too hard and listen to your body when it tells you to take a break.
Tips for living with osteoarthritis.
If you’re one of the millions living with osteoarthritis, you know that this disease can make daily activities painful and difficult. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms and lead a full and active life. Here are a few tips :
- First, stay active. Exercise can help improve joint function and flexibility, and it also helps reduce pain. Swimming, walking, and yoga are all good options.
- Second, eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain. It is better to opt for foods that contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids which help in the regeneration of bone structure.
- Third, use heat or cold therapy. It is sure that knee swelling and pain can be alleviated by the application of this therapy. You can use a heating pad, take a hot bath, or use an ice pack wrapped in a towel.
- Fourth, try prescription medications that must be pre-prescribed by your GP. Alternatively, there are several over-the-counter medications that can help with arthritis pain, including ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and naproxen sodium. If these medications are not suitable for you, discuss with a qualified rheumatologist.
Finally, consider complementary therapies. Such as acupuncture or massage. They are known for their soothing and tranquilizing effects which will in turn reduce pain and promote joint function. Discuss with your doctor which one is best for your situation. If you have osteoarthritis, these tips can help you manage your symptoms and live life to the fullest despite the disease.
What should not be overlooked!
- Lose weight (if necessary) to reduce stress on the knees.
- Keep moving by doing activities like swimming, biking, or walking.
- Try physiotherapy. A therapist can suggest exercises to increase strength, range of motion, and flexibility.
- Try a topical cream containing ingredients like capsaicin, menthol, or camphor. Or, gels or creams containing NSAIDs, lidocaine, and salicylates can be applied to the knee.
- Do not ignore the surgical treatments recommended by your doctor, which may limit the severity of your osteoarthritis. Rely on several consultations to be sure when making any decision.
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