Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of “wear and tear” that affects our knee joints. When the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away, it becomes frayed and rough. This leads to the protective space between the bones to weaken, resulting in bone rubbing against bone. That’s where the pain comes in and it gets worse over time. If you are suffering from knee pain and over the age of 45, you could be at risk of having OA. If not treated well, it may affect your daily lifestyle. It can be the main cause of disability and you could end up getting a joint replacement surgery.
HOW TO DETECT?
You will only notice the damage years after and can only be diagnosed with Joint Aspiration, X-rays, MRI scan at the hospital. The doctor will numb the affected area and insert a needle into the joint to withdraw fluid. The fluid will be examined for evidence of crystals or joint deterioration. This test can help rule out other medical conditions or other forms of arthritis. X-rays can show damage and other changes related to osteoarthritis to confirm the diagnosis. MRI does not use radiation. It is more expensive than X-rays, but will provide a view that offers better images of cartilage and other structures to detect early abnormalities typical of osteoarthritis.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Age is one of the cause, OA is more common among the elderly, but even young adults can develop OA. Being obese can put stress on joints and promote cartilage damage. Significant injury in the past, such as ligament damage, can eventually lead to OA. Surprisingly, women are more likely to develop OA. Sometimes it comes from the heredity, muscle weakness, scoliosis or other curvatures of spine. Birth defects can also affect the hip joint, such as congenital hip dysplasia or congenital dislocation.
HOW TO TREAT?
- Non Surgical :
By consuming anti-inflammatory and pain medication, such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Topical analgesics and Injections of cortisone to decrease inflammation. Injection of visco–supplements (gel-like substances that act like natural joint fluids). Physical and occupational therapy. Weight loss by doing aerobic and strength training exercises. Last, to take nutritional supplements on daily.
- Surgical :
Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure to diagnose and treat conditions affecting joints. The surgeon first examines the internal structure of the joint through a small video camera inserted through the skin. Additional steps to improve joint function then can be taken, such as the removal of loose cartilage or meniscal repair. Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to replace or restore a severely OA joint to ease pain and improve mobility, thereby adding to the patient’s quality of life. An Osteotomy involves the removal of a portion of bone to realign the joint, a temporary treatment for OA. Lastly, cartilage repair and regeneration can replace damaged cartilage and may be useful for patients with certain types of cartilage defects.
HOW TO PREVENT?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help prevent OA. Eating nutritious foods, maintaining a healthy weight throughout, and exercising regularly to strengthen muscles that protect the joints are three very important methods that may reduce your risk of developing OA.