Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention: Knee osteoarthritis involves degradation of the knee joint, eventually leading to pain and loss of function. More than 10 million Americans are affected by knee osteoarthritis. The condition is seen most often in people age 45 and over, as cartilage wears away through wear and tear. Most common complaints are joint swelling (inflammation), stiffness, and pain. Knee osteoarthritis can be diagnosed using X rays to indicate boney cysts, narrowing joint space, and sclerosing of the bone.
Signs of knee osteoarthritis include pain at the beginning of a movement, later on pain during the movement, and eventually permanent pain. These patients will also experience a loss of function like stiffness, decreased range of motion, and impairment in everyday activities. Other possible characteristics of knee OA are boney enlargement, joint-line tenderness, and sensitivity to cold and/or damp.
There is no way to cure osteoarthritis, as it is a chronic condition, but there are plenty of ways to treat/manage pain and prevent further injury:
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #1: Physical Therapy/Exercise
A targeted knee strengthening and stretching exercise is a crucial part of knee OA treatment. A physical therapist or doctor can assess your issues and show you exercises to strengthen muscles around the knee. Water aerobics may be an ideal exercise option for those dealing with a lot of knee pain.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #2: Weight Loss
Losing even a small amount of weight, when needed, can significantly decrease knee pain from osteoarthritis. Every extra pound on the body equals three extra pounds of pressure on the weight-bearing knee joint. Portion sizes in the US don't make the task of losing weight any easier.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #3: Wear the Right Shoes
To reduce stress on your knees, make sure to wear the right footwear. Low-heeled, well-fitted trainers with soft, thick soles are an ideal option. Replace worn out pairs and avoid high-heeled shoes.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #4: Knee Brace
People use knee braces to prevent injuries or after a knee injury. There are many options in terms of type of brace and materials. Follow your doctor's recommendations and the manufacturer's instructions for use.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #5: Don't Rest Too Much
While rest is important, you want to keep your joints moving. Learn to recognize when you are tired and take time to relax, but also take time to do exercises that will strengthen muscles and ligaments around the joint.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #6: Avoid High-Impact Sports
High impact activities that involve sudden starts, stops, turns, and jumping should be avoided as they hard on the knees. These include tennis, football, basketball, and squash.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #7: Warm or Cold Compress
Cold packs should be used for 15-20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day, within the first 48-72 hours after a knee injury. This will help reduce swelling and stiffness, while easing pain. Afterward, you can use a heating pad instead.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Treatment & Prevention - Tip #8: Medications/Injections
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve are common choices for OA knee pain. Topical creams are also available. Two types of injections can be used for severe pain: steroids to reduce swelling and hyaluronic acid to lubricate the knee joint.