Knee osteoarthritis Or knee joint pain is a non-inflammatory, degenerative joint disease that causes progressive loss of articular cartilage. “Cartilage is a strong, flexible tissue that helps prevent injury by preventing bones from rubbing against each other,” said Dr Vivek Loomba, Consultant Pain Physician at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi. Rub against each other, this can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee. “It is one of the most common causes of knee pain and disability in older adults,” he told indianexpress.com
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Who’s at risk?
Osteoarthritis of the knee is more common in “women than men”. “Some other factors that may contribute to a knee condition include advanced age, being overweight or obese, a previous knee injury or surgery, and some work that requires frequent knee bending,” he shared. .
The primary symptom of knee osteoarthritis is pain. In addition to pain, patients may swellingKnee stiffness, knee discomfort that limits function, loss of flexibility, pain at rest or at night, cracking or grinding noise when moving the knee, and effects on walking distance.
How is osteoarthritis of the knee diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, patients may need further tests such as:
*Arthrocentesis: A diagnostic procedure performed using a sterile needle to obtain synovial fluid to determine the cause of arthritis.
*Arthroscopy: A surgical method where a camera is inserted into the affected joint to obtain visual data on the deterioration of the joint due to OA.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
According to Loomba, “Osteoarthritis of the knee develops slowly over years, interfering with the ability to do daily activities and work. Therefore, efforts should be made to prevent the condition from getting worse by seeking prompt treatment.”
Can it be managed without surgery?
Most people with knee osteoarthritis fear they may have to undergo surgery to relieve pain and discomfort. However, there are several pain management options that can help with pain relief. According to Loomba, various strategies for managing the condition include:
exercise like walking cyclingIsometric and isotonic knee exercises.
Weight loss: A slight reduction in weight, 2-5 kg, will help in reducing the pain and degeneration of the knee joint.
Aquatic (water based) treatment.
Medications such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or Etoshine, local NSAIDs such as Volini Gel are used as first-line management.
If pain persists, weaker opioids such as tramadol (Ultracet) may be prescribed.
In severe cases, stronger opioids such as morphine may be added to the treatment regimen.
Intra articular knee joint injection – this involves corticosteroid and/or hyaluronidase injections given into the knee joint. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation while hyaluronidase provides lubrication.
Radiofrequency ablation: Radiofrequency ablation of the nerves supplying the knee joint is reserved for refractory cases, and can provide pain relief for up to 1 year. This procedure can work as a boon for patients who are unfit or do not want to undergo knee replacement surgery.
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