The older we get, the more difficult it is for our bodies to regenerate adequately. This is called degeneration. The tissues that make up the joints that are used most during a lifetime, such as the hips and knees, are among the first structures to be affected by this phenomenon. Osteoarthritis is a frequent pathology, which reflects its level of impact.
The cartilaginous surfaces (menisci) that cover and protect the pressure points of the joint degrade, exposing the bony surfaces of the knee – which are more vulnerable to pain than cartilage.
Of course, all of this does not come without pain. Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis is an imbalance that brings its own set of inconveniences. In fact, it is the main cause of knee pain observed in people over the age of 50. However, science and technology have come together to support patients with osteoarthritis, with the goal of reducing the associated symptoms and, above all, offering them a better quality of life.
In this article, Médicus invites you to find more information on this condition, and also to highlight the various possible treatment solutions.
What Causes Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?
While there are various factors that contribute to the development of knee osteoarthritis (also known as gonarthrosis), the most decisive criterion for its onset is undoubtedly age. The very cause of the problem, however, remains the wear and tear of the cartilage. Several factors cause this wear and tear, including: pressure caused by long-term loading, overweight, postural defects, heredity, and more.
Currently, there is no way to “cure” osteoarthritis per say. However, there are pain treatment options that can relieve pain and improve the natural function of the knee joint.
Let’s first look to see if your symptoms are consistent with the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Recognizing Gonarthrosis: The Symptoms
Identifying the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis is the first step towards an appropriate treatment plan. Usually, the very first symptom that patients with osteoarthritis notice is pain that intensifies either following activity (walking, going up or downstairs, etc) or a period of immobility (at night, for example).
Although the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis vary from one person to another, the most common symptoms remain fairly similar. Joint stiffness, pain, inflammation and reduced range of motion of the affected joint are very often seen in diagnosed patients.
Here are more details on these symptoms:
- Joint stiffness: You may have noticed that after sitting for a long time or waking up in the morning, your knee is stiff. In other words, you can’t move it as freely as you would like. This stiffness often disappears after 20 to 30 minutes.
- Swelling: To the touch, the tissues of the joint are more spongy, warm, and sometimes visibly swollen. Swelling is often related to inflammation, which causes fluid to build up in the joint.
- Joint pain: Unlike stiffness, joint pain is more acute when your knee is subjected to more or less intense stress. Relief then occurs at rest. Several factors can influence the pain you feel, such as genetics, the quality of peripheral tissues (muscles, ligaments, etc.), diet, and even mood.
- Characteristic sensations and crackles: Patients often report a “creaking” sensation in the knee bones. As well, greater than usual sound crackles are raised in people with osteoarthritis.
- Instability and joint dysfunction: You may notice that your knee is not bending as you would like it to. It could also not responding as well to your commands as it used to. Also, peripheral joints such as the hips and ankles, since they compensate for your pain, may also show signs of instability or dysfunction. It is not uncommon for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee to experience weakness in the ankle, pain in the hips, and other joint imbalances.
How To Treat The Pain Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Depending on the patient, his lifestyle, his age, but above all; the evolution of his knee osteoarthritis, different means can be used to treat the pain of this inflammatory pathology. Médicus presents 3 effective means, recognized to relieve and prevent the aggravation of pain caused by knee osteoarthritis:
Small changes in lifestyle habits
It is well known that the lifestyle habits of a patient who suffers from knee osteoarthritis have an impact on the management of his symptoms.
Practicing a low-impact activity on the joints is an excellent way to reduce pain and optimize the mobility of a knee suffering from gonarthrosis. Swimming and balloon exercises are excellent examples of low-impact exercises that help optimize the quality of the tissues that make up the joint.
Also, since your knees absorb much of the weight in our movements, it goes without saying that being overweight does not help reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis. A supervised weight loss program is a solution to consider for overweight people. It should also be noted that this not only has a positive impact on the proper management of symptoms related to knee osteoarthritis but also on health in general!
The use of a foot orthosis
The foot orthosis is a custom-made device that is placed in the shoe – under the foot. Its main purpose is to reduce pain through pressure reduction. In this way, the loads are redistributed in a favorable way to the joints of the lower limbs. Therefore, foot orthosis is an ideal pain treatment option for many patients suffering from gonarthrosis.
The use of a knee orthosis
The role of the knee orthosis is to optimize the space between the bone surfaces of the knee. Ultimately, this reduces the level of friction between these extremities, which is at the very source of the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. The Evoke knee orthosis, exclusive to Médicus, is designed to relieve the knee compartment affected by osteoarthritis.
Don’t be uncertain
The pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee can quickly become incapacitating for the sufferer. The good news is that solutions developed by experts exist on the market. Solutions that are as effective as they are accessible!
To find out which solutions are most relevant, don’t hesitate to consult one of Médicus’ certified orthotists.