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Arthritis of the Knee

Millions of people every year seek some form of relief for arthritis pain, whether it is over the counter pain medication, prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, heat therapy, or alternative forms of medicine. Of this large population, a majority complain of arthritic pain in the knees. This type of arthritis is a serious disability for some people making it difficult to complete many activities we do every day, such as walking, running, or climbing stairs. If you are having pain in your knees that is inhibiting your movement and affecting your daily life, Advance Health and Wellness can sit down with you, discuss your exact symptoms, and try to formulate a plan that will help you get your best life back.

Arthritis is defined as inflammation in your joints. Stiffness, swelling, and pain are the most common symptoms, though a complete inability to move or walk can also occur. While any joint in the body can develop the disease, it is extremely common in the knees.

The knees are the strongest and biggest joint in your body, made up of the end of the thighbone, the kneecap, and the top of the shinbone. At the ends of these three bones where they meet, they are covered by cartilage, the smooth substance that “cushions” and protects the bones when the knee bends and straightens. Since this repetitive movement causes the cartilage in between the joints to thin, and the bones to rub together causing inflammation, it makes sense that the knees would easily become arthritic. After all, we walk every day, whether around the house and work, or as part of a fitness routine.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA); however, there are over 100 different types of this condition.  In addition to osteoarthritis and RA, gout can also often affect the knees.

Osteoarthritis is the typical “wear and tear” type of the condition, where cartilage in the joint wears away with time. As this cartilage becomes thin, it frays and becomes rough, making the space between the bones that offers protection to decrease. This can also result in painful bone spurs, as the bones rub against one another.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, in contrast, is not solely caused by wear and tear to the joint. Rather, this disease occurs when the immune system attacks our tissues. This damages the surface of the joints and underlying bones. In addition to the pain, stiffness, and swelling of other types of arthritis, RA can cause fatigue, weight loss, fever, bumps under the skin, and inflammation of the lungs and eyes.

Lastly, Gout is caused by uric acid buildup in the body. This causes thin, sharp crystal deposits, much like needles, to form in your joints. This is obviously very painful. Many people notice beginning symptoms of gout in the big toe, as it can get red, sore, swollen, and feel warm.

You simply cannot avoid wear and tear to your knee joint. Typical arthritis of the knee is the price we sometimes have to pay for being mobile. Whether you are experiencing pain caused by the usual degeneration of your joints, have symptoms of gout, or have a more complex and serious condition like rheumatoid arthritis, seeking professional help is your best option for long term relief.