The incidence of knee arthritis is on the rise, with osteoarthritis diagnosed in more than 19% of adults aged 45 and older. The physicians at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP have extensive experience treating multiple types of knee arthritis and helping their patients stay active and pain-free. Whether your knee pain and stiffness occur when you walk or only when you use stairs, early treatment can help slow the progression of knee arthritis. If you have questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the nine offices in Houston, Texas, and the greater Houston area.
While many kinds of arthritis that can affect your knees, the majority of knee arthritis cases fall into two main types:
Osteoarthritis develops slowly over the years as everyday wear-and-tear leads to cartilage degeneration. Cartilage on the end of bones allows them to glide over one another. When cartilage wears away, bone begins to rub against bone, causing pain and stiffness. Over time, bone spurs and inflammation develop, which increase your pain and limit your movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that develops when your immune system attacks the synovial tissues surrounding the joint. As a result, inflammation, pain, and stiffness develop. Ongoing inflammation weakens the surrounding tendons and ligaments and gradually destroys cartilage and bone, which causes joint deformity.
In about 40% of patients, rheumatoid arthritis spreads from the knee to other parts of the body. When this happens, you can develop problems with your skin, eyes, nerves, heart, and other organs.
In some cases, arthritis is limited to cartilage degeneration on the underside of your patella or kneecap. This condition, called patellofemoral arthritis, causes pain in the front of your knee and makes it hard to kneel, squat, and go up and down stairs.
Post-traumatic arthritis occurs when a knee injury leads to cartilage damage, accelerates tissue degeneration, and causes osteoarthritis. It’s estimated that 12% of all cases of osteoarthritis are the result of post-traumatic arthritis.
Carefully structured exercise and physical therapy are key elements of your knee arthritis treatment. Physical therapy reduces inflammation and promotes optimal flexibility and mobility. Your treatment plan may also include suggestions to modify your activities, such as changing from high- to low-impact activities, or using an assistive device like a brace.
Your doctor at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP may also recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation or hyaluronic acid injections to help lubricate the joint.
For rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or immunosuppressant medications. These medications can slow down disease progression and may help keep your arthritis in remission.
When conservative treatments fail to relieve your pain or your knee arthritis causes disability, you may need surgery. The doctors at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP are experts at several surgical procedures to restore knee mobility and reduce pain, including cartilage grafting and joint replacement.
Early treatment for knee arthritis can keep you active and promote ongoing joint health. If you suffer from knee pain, call Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP to schedule an appointment.