Knee Arthritis Treatment in Dallas and Frisco
Arthritis of the Knee, Knee Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is a very common condition that can arise as a result of another condition, from an injury, or even from genetics. It involves inflammation in the body’s joints, and it can cause considerable pain, joint swelling, stiffness, and a loss of range of motion. When someone suffers from arthritis of the knee, this can greatly affect their day-to-day life. After all, the knee joint is crucial for many forms of movement. When knee arthritis gets in the way of your active lifestyle, it’s important to seek help from an experienced orthopedic specialist in your area.
At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy, our knee specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating various knee conditions. This includes knee pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, cartilage damage, ligament injuries, and much more. No matter the source of your pain, we will evaluate your symptoms, obtain a proper diagnosis, and design a personalized treatment plan that will have you back in the game in no time. To schedule an appointment with the best orthopedic surgeons in Dallas, please call our office at 469-200-2832 today.
Knee Joint Anatomy
Knees are among the largest and most complex joints in the entire body. The knee joint consists of four major bones: the femur, the tibia, the fibula, and the patella. Surrounding the bones of the knee joint are crucial ligaments that hold the knee in place and provide stability. Additionally, the tendons connect the bones to the muscles. Between the femur and the tibia, there are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage. These cartilage pieces act as cushions and absorb shock.
What Is Knee Arthritis?
When the knee joint suffers inflammation and a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the knee, this is known as knee arthritis. Arthritis in any joint in the body can cause joint pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and even a grating sensation between the bones. As soon as you experience arthritis of the knee, we recommend speaking with a knee specialist. The longer you wait to treat the problem, the more the knee joint gradually wears down and causes pain.
Types of Knee Arthritis
Just as with shoulder arthritis, there are many types of arthritis that can affect the knee joint. Your knee pain could be a result of any of these forms of knee arthritis. Because their symptoms are all so similar, it can be difficult to pinpoint which arthritis of the knee you have. This is when speaking with orthopedic doctors is imperative, as you’ll want an accurate diagnosis before you receive treatment. Below, we outline the different types of knee joint arthritis that could be the cause of your arthritis pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes the body to attack healthy cells in the joint space. It can affect multiple other joints along with your knee joint. The condition is also symmetrical, meaning it affects both joints on both sides of the body.
Those with rheumatoid arthritis usually suffer from swelling of the synovial membrane, which covers the knee joint. When this membrane swells, it can lead to pain and joint stiffness. Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, this is what causes the immune system to attack the healthy cells in the body. Over time, the results are cartilage damage, ligament damage, and softening of the bones.
Sometimes, arthritis of the knee can develop as a result of an injury or trauma to the area. This form of arthritis is called post-traumatic arthritis. If you suffer an injury to the knee, such as a ligament tear or patellar fracture, this can lead to arthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis differs from knee osteoarthritis in that it sets in much more quickly than osteoarthritis.
Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis of the knee occurs gradually as the joint cartilage wears down with time. The damaged cartilage eventually lets the bones rub together, resulting in friction, knee pain, stiffness, and soft swelling.
This is also an autoimmune disease that leads to pain, tenderness, stiffness, and swelling in the knee joint space. Because the condition affects the immune system, other common symptoms include eye pain and fatigue. It is a good example of how musculoskeletal and skin diseases can coincide with each other to affect the body.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It causes the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint lining, which can cause extreme pain in the affected joints. Swelling, warmth, and redness are also common symptoms. Gout affects the big toe more than any other joint, but it can also affect the knees, as well as multiple joints at once.
The difference between gout and pseudogout is the substance that the crystals are made of. Gout involves the buildup of monosodium urate crystals, while pseudogout involves calcium pyrophosphate. Although it is less common than gout, it is much more likely to affect the knee joint than gout.
In most cases, reactive arthritis develops as a reaction to something. This is usually an infection of some kind. Common symptoms of reactive arthritis include aching knee pain, redness, swelling, eye inflammation, and other symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Knee Arthritis?
Arthritis of the knee has many potential symptoms, largely depending on the type of knee arthritis present. Below, we list the symptoms to look for if you suspect arthritis of the knee.
- Pain while you move or after you move the joint
- Bone spurs
- Stiffness in the joint
- Loss of range of motion or flexibility
- Swelling or redness
- Crepitus, which is a grating or popping sensation in the joint
If you find that you cannot achieve pain relief with conservative at-home treatments, it may be time to see your doctor.
What Causes Knee Arthritis?
As with other types of arthritis, there are many risk factors for developing arthritis of the knee. However, some people simply develop arthritis as a result of their genetics. Below, we list the most common causes linked to arthritis in the knee.
- Not maintaining a healthy weight
- Age (younger patients are less likely to develop arthritis)
- Gender (women are generally more likely to have arthritis joint problems)
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- Gradual wear and tear of the knee
- Overusing the knee
- Suffering a knee injury or other knee problems
- Deformities (such as knock knees)
- Other conditions, such as having a vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, and high cholesterol
How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose the source of your pain, we will begin by taking your medical history and conducting a physical examination. This allows us to determine if you have any risk factors for arthritis in your medical history, or if we can identify problems with your joint movement. Then, we may order blood tests to either confirm or rule out certain types of arthritis in the knee.
We will also order imaging tests, such as X-rays, to get a visual of how much cartilage loss you currently have. Additionally, we may draw out fluid from the joint capsule, which is a process known as joint aspiration. Testing this fluid can help your doctor gain a better understanding of the source of your pain.
It is rare that we use CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests to diagnose knee arthritis, but this may be an effective way to rule out other conditions.
Knee Arthritis Treatment
In order to treat osteoarthritis of the knee and relieve pain for patients, we develop customized treatment plans that are unique to each person. This means that your treatment plan is unique to you, and it will target your specific problem areas. We cannot reverse the loss of cartilage that has already happened, but we can help you take steps to reduce pain and improve your quality of life.
Non-Surgical Knee Arthritis Treatments
Nonsurgical treatments for knee arthritis include the following.
- Over-the-counter medications to relieve pain
- Seeing a physical therapist to improve your strength and range of motion
- Weight management, if applicable
- Dietary supplements, if your arthritis is a result of a lack of certain vitamins
- Wearing a knee brace or knee sleeve to reduce stress on the joint
- Activity modification
- Knee gel injections (viscosupplementation)
- Using walking aids, such as crutches, walkers, or canes
If your condition worsens, or if you have severe osteoarthritis, our orthopaedic surgeons may recommend a surgical approach. However, we usually employ surgery as a last resort when nonsurgical treatments and alternative therapies have failed to reduce pain in your knee.
Surgical Knee Arthritis Treatments
When conservative methods don’t provide the relief you’re looking for, it may be time to consider surgery. The most common surgical solutions for knee arthritis are as follows.
- Partial knee replacement or total knee replacement surgery
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Knee arthroscopy
How to Prevent Knee Arthritis
While you cannot always prevent your joints from developing osteoarthritis, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing it or making your existing arthritis worse. The following are tips that we recommend for keeping your joints healthy.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight on the joints can put undue stress on them, which can lead to arthritis. Losing weight may help lessen the stress on your joints.
- Exercise regularly. This helps to keep your joints limber, strong, and flexible. We recommend low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
- Stretch daily and before exercising. If you can, try to stretch every morning after you wake up. At the very least, you should stretch before you exercise.
- See your orthopedist for preventative care. Just as you should visit your primary care doctor for yearly checkups, you should see your orthopedist to keep your joints healthy.
Is Walking Good for Knee Arthritis?
Yes! Walking is a great way to stay active without putting undue stress on your knees. It can also keep your knee joints limber, increase blood flow to the joint, build muscle around the joint, and much more. We recommend starting with daily walks lasting around 10-15 minutes. You can work your way up to 30 minutes a day over time. Be sure to stretch before you walk, refrain from walking on uneven surfaces, and take breaks as needed.
Knee Arthritis Recovery
The recovery period for knee arthritis treatment depends on the specific treatments you underwent. If you received knee gel injections, you should feel relief over a period of a few days at most. If you underwent knee replacement surgery, your recovery period may last as long as three months or more. Your orthopedic specialist will guide you through your recovery and ensure that you can return to your active lifestyle as soon as possible.
Contact SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy Today
At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy, our orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists work in tandem to develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient we see. This ensures that they receive the best possible treatment for their knee pain and arthritis. If you notice pain, stiffness, or locking in your knees, it may be time to see an orthopedic specialist. To schedule an appointment with our talented orthopedic doctors, please call our office at 469-200-2832 today.