If your knees have symptoms of pain, redness, and swelling, it might be due to knee osteoarthritis. This arthritis disorder generally happens due to the damage of joint cartilage, bones, and muscles, which leads to the drying up of the joint lubricants and results in bone friction and pain. The goals of conventional treatment of osteoarthritis are to reduce the symptoms of knee pain and stiffness or limit the progression of joint damage in order to maintain knee function and mobility. Let us go through some osteoarthritis management practices suggested by health professionals.
In the case of osteoarthritis, a weight gain/loss of just 5 pounds can cause a much noticeable difference in the pain that affects joints. Studies have found that overweight arthritis patients felt a reduction in stress and pain in their knees upon losing significant body weight. Besides putting additional stress on the knees, obesity also promotes inflammation that may aid cartilage degeneration. Therefore, weight loss can help in preserving cartilage and reduce arthritis symptoms of pain and redness, thus helping in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Although exercise is important for losing weight, exercise is also important to stay fit even if one is not overweight. A lack of exercise in people with knee osteoarthritis can swiftly lead to a worsening of the arthritis conditions and worsening disability. Exercises lead to enhanced production of antioxidants in the body that helps in regulating inflammation and therefore, enhance the treatment of osteoarthritis by protecting knee joints from deteriorating rapidly. Lack of exercise makes people more likely to develop arthritis and although general thoughts will favor rest than an exercise in case of knee pain treatment, the best way to benefit is by consulting a physiotherapist and perform the required exercises.
An overall exercise routine to improve osteoarthritis may include low-impact aerobic exercises (swimming, walking), quadriceps strengthening (stretching exercises), and flexibility exercises (stretching and range-of-motion exercises).
Medications do not alter the course of arthritis but can help in easing down the pain. The usual medications prescribed for the treatment of osteoarthritis are acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. Besides these, knee pain relief gels for joints are frequently used by medical professionals as a treatment for arthritis to reduce inflammation and improve joint redness. Some doctors also suggest the use of corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and improve joint function. In the case of lubricating joints and cushioning them, doctors also suggest the use of hyaluronic acid injections.
Mechanical support is used by many arthritis patients. Knee braces have been used previously to shift the load away from an affected knee portion. Wedges in the shoes also help in changing the acting force on the knee. Walking canes and wheelchairs are also used in case of severe arthritis patients for helping their mobility.
If osteoarthritis is severe and noninvasive medication fail, surgical options are available in the form of osteotomy by cutting and realigning of the bone regions to relieve joint areas. Partial knee replacement is another conventional surgical procedure to treat osteoarthritis. Pre-operative exercise along with postoperative rehabilitation and weight loss reduces the burden on the joints.
As an alternative to risky surgical procedures, certain alternative treatments like stem cell therapy for knees to help in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Stem Cells have the potential of repairing and regenerating tissues of the impaired joints and they not only reduce the disease progression but also aim towards reversing the disease condition.