Knee osteoarthritis is relatively common in seniors. It is estimated that 10% of men and 13% of women in the over 60 category will develop osteoarthritis in one or both knees. Seeking effective relief from this pain condition is important for maintaining an active lifestyle. When symptoms flare up, sufferers may experience pain, inflammation or stiffness in the affected knee. These symptoms can cause discomfort both when active and at rest.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis that have been identified by medical science. Osteoarthritis is the most common and is especially associated with load-bearing joints such as the knees. Most of the forces and weight that the human body absorbs is taken through the joints in the lower extremities. This can lead to issues such as wear-and-tear, cartilage tears, bone spur formation and even thinning of the cartilage.
As these structures are weakened, the symptoms of osteoarthritis will become more progressive and severe. Symptoms may include:
- Pain around the knee (worse in the morning and when resting)
- Joint stiffness
- Inflammation around the knee
- Popping, clicking or locking of the knee joint
- Knee Instability
Conditions such as osteoarthritis impact range of movement and mobility but there are other side effects of these illnesses. When pain, stiffness and inflammation are all but constant, resting while sitting down or sleeping becomes difficult. Patients may suffer from lack of sleep, stress and depression. Many arthritis sufferers also struggle to maintain a healthy weight due to lack of exercise. Although these issues are considered secondary, they can lead to the development of serious health complications, including heart conditions and diabetes.
Conservative Treatment Approach
Where the results are likely to slow down or eliminate the progression of arthritis, a conservative treatment approach is recommended. This strategy involves controlling pain, stiffness and inflammation, as well as methods to prevent further deterioration of structures in the joint. Conservative treatment also encompasses weight loss, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and assistive devices. Other effective conservative measures may include steroid injections and regenerative medicine, which are designed to help patients avoid surgery.
Physical therapy can help patients stay active, as well as providing the tools for preventing or reducing stiffness and inflammation. Staying active in safe and effective ways is good for joint health. At DOCS Health, our orthopedic specialists create treatment plans that are designed with each patient’s unique circumstances in mind. A conservative treatment may therefore work for some patients and not for others. The next logical treatment step when arthritis continues to progress is surgical intervention.
Surgical Treatments for Arthritis
Surgical procedures to provide relief from arthritis are not always a last resort. In fact, there are circumstances which would warrant surgery as an early intervention to protect the knee joint from further deterioration. Issues such as cartilage damage, loose bone fragments or a damaged knee cap may warrant surgery. An orthopedic specialist can carry out a thorough examination of the knee using imaging technologies including X-ray, MRI and Arthroscopy. These technologies allow your doctor to closely examine the joint, both inside and out, to determine the best course of treatments for your specific needs.
There are several surgical approaches that can provide relief from arthritis pain and discomfort. Key-hole, or arthroscopic, surgery is less invasive than using large incisions, is much safer and typically results in shorter recovery periods. At DOCS Health, we are committed to making treatment as comfortable and effective as possible for our patients.
If you need treatment for knee arthritis in Los Angeles, call our DOCS Health offices today to book a consultation with one of our dedicated and passionate orthopedic specialists.