Knee Osteoarthritis can be a painful condition involving degenerative changes within the knee joint.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) defines osteoarthritis as a syndrome of ‘joint pain accompanied by varying degrees of functional limitation and reduced quality of life’.
Originally known as ‘wear and tear’, osteoarthritis is now thought of as metabolically active ‘wear, tear and repair’ process. This process can cause structural changes within the joint that can be symptom free. However, sometimes the repair process is suboptimal and issues such as malalignment, overuse and obesity can contribute to flare ups and ongoing pain and disability.
Signs & Symptoms
- Pain that usually worsens during the day and with movement and is better with rest
- Stiffness particularly after rest and that usually improves with movement.
- Crepitus – clicking, grinding or crunching sensations of the knee joint.
- Thickened/hard area of swelling – usually caused by osteophytes (bone spurs).
- Soft/fluid swelling – caused by extra fluid within the joint.
- You may also experience a weakening of the muscles surrounding the joint which can lead to a giving way sensation.
- Oral pain relief is often recommended by GPs, such as paracetamol.
- A topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen gel may also be recommended.
- Exercise including local strengthening and general aerobic fitness – can be guided by a Physiotherapist.
- Osteopathy and Physiotherapy treatment including manipulation and stretching.
- Heat & cold therapy.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation may be offered for pain relief.
- Corticosteroid injections may be offered for moderate to severe pain.
- If required assistive devices may be offered following assessment by a health professional.
- Your health professional will provide you with individual advice about how to improve your lifestyle with exercise, pacing, weight loss and the right footwear and will help you develop a management plan to know how to cope with any future flare ups.
- If you experience pain, stiffness and functional limitations that are greatly impacting your life you may be referred to consider joint replacement surgery.
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The information on this site is not to be for self-diagnosis and is no substitute for a diagnosis from a healthcare practitioner.