How to Manage Knee Arthritis

How to Manage Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a common joint disease that most often strikes older adults and affects two-thirds of women over the age of 60. It happens when the joint breaks down, typically due to age-related changes. Previous injury raises the risk of knee arthritis

If you’re living with the joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort of knee arthritis, orthopedic surgeon Joel Hurt, MD, can help you get a prompt and accurate diagnosis and execute the most appropriate treatment plan to relieve your pain and restore knee function. Your individualized treatment plan will vary. Read on for more information about knee arthritis and how it can be managed.

Osteoarthritis overview

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint breaks down, allowing the bones to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative or “wear-and-tear” arthritis that worsens over time. The goal of treatment is to limit the progression of joint damage, ease pain, and improve knee function so that you can move without pain and limitations. 

If the knee joint is significantly damaged, surgery to repair the knee joint may be necessary to restore knee function and help you return to a pain-free life. 

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

Knee arthritis tends to develop gradually over time. It’s more common as you reach middle age. Certain changes cause the components of the knee joint to become thin and dry out. As the cartilage continues to break down, pain and stiffness become more noticeable, and the risk of disability increases. If you have arthritis, you may experience:

Symptoms of knee arthritis get worse over time. Left untreated, knee arthritis can limit your mobility and have a negative impact on your quality of life. 

Managing knee arthritis

Managing knee replacement starts with conservative treatments. By the time patients see Dr. Hurt, many of them have tried conservative treatment without achieving adequate relief. This is more likely if damage to the joint has progressed. 

Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight are helpful, regardless of where you are on your arthritis journey. When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to provide relief, treatments such as steroid injections are often the next step. 

For many people, steroid injections provide relief and allow them to function better. However, if knee arthritis is further along, it’s usually time to consider surgical intervention. 

Knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to view and repair a damaged knee. In knee arthroscopy, Dr. Hurt makes several very small incisions instead of one large incision. A small camera called an arthroscope is inserted to provide a clear view of the structures of the knee and provide guidance for repair. 

Knee replacement

Knee replacement surgery is appropriate when damage to the knee is extensive. During knee replacement surgery, Dr. Hurt removes the damaged portion of the knee and replaces it with an artificial joint that functions like your natural knee. 

Help for arthritis pain

If arthritis pain is preventing you from enjoying your life, there are treatment options that can help you get back to doing the things you enjoy. To learn more about managing knee arthritis, get started today by calling or booking online to schedule a visit with Dr. Hurt. 

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