Knee Osteoarthritis

February 15, 2015 | Conditions

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions related to knee pain, especially as we age. This progressive condition is caused by wear and tear on our joints over time. As the largest joints in the body, our knees do a lot of the work necessary to carry weight, provide balance and allow movement. Because of this frequent use and routine stress, knee joints are especially at risk for developing symptoms leading to Osteoarthritis.

Knee joints include tissue known as cartilage, which cushion the joint, protecting it from injury. As we bend and flex the joint, bone scrapes against cartilage, wearing it down. As more cartilage is worn down, Osteoarthritis worsens. Because cartilage loss increases over time, most adults over the age of 50 are at risk of developing Osteoarthritis in their knees.

To better understand how Osteoarthritis affects the knee joint, let’s look at the anatomy of the knee.

  • Bones:  Three bones — femur (thigh), tibia (shin) and patella (kneecap) — come together to form the knee joint.
  • Tendons:  Connect muscles to the bones of the knee. Healthy-Knee-NewThese include the quadriceps, which connects to the thigh the patella, and the patellar, which stretches from the tibia to the patella.
  • Meniscus:  This cartilage acts as a shock absorber between the femur and the tibia.
  • Articular Cartilage:  Covers the ends of the femur and tibia, as well as the back of the patella. This slick cartilage allows the knee bones to move smoothly as the joint works.

 

Osteoarthritis-of-the-KneeAs the cartilage is worn down, bone spurs can develop on any area of the knee joint, causing the cartilage loss to increase at a more rapid pace, causing pain, stiffness and weakness in the knee joint.

 

Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis

Pain — The most commonly reported symptom of Osteoarthritis. Because the disease is progressive, the pain tends to be as well. In the beginning, you will notice a minor ache from time to time, especially after climbing stairs or playing sports. Over time and use, that sporadic ache can increase from occasional flare-ups to sharp, chronic and debilitating knee pain.

Swelling — Happens when joints rub together without enough cartilage to cushion the movement. You may also feel a stinging or burning sensation.

Loss of Mobility — As Osteoarthritis increases, joints stiffen and weaken, leading to decreased mobility.

Popping or Crunching — Known as crepitus, this is especially common when rising from a sitting position, squatting, or climbing stairs or a ladder. Crepitus is a strong indicator of damaging friction.

Risk factors for knee Osteoarthritis include age, heredity, obesity, hard physical labor, injury or infection. Gender can also play a factor, with women being more likely than men to develop Osteoarthritis of the knee. Athletes also face a higher risk of developing Osteoarthritis in the knee, because of the repetitive stress on the joint. However, moderate exercise can strengthen joints, decreasing that risk.

 

Did you know: Every pound of weight you gain adds three to four pounds of extra weight on your knees.

 

Diagnosing Knee Osteoarthritis

Dr. Skaliy will discuss your medical history, as well as your family medical history, and perform several tests to diagnose the cause, source and location of your knee pain. These diagnostic tests will include:

  • A physical examination to determine your pain level, flexibility, strength and range of motion
  • Medical imaging (MRI, X-rays or CT scan) to determine the location and extent of any injury or disease
  • In some cases, blood tests may be necessary to rule out other diseases or autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee

In the early stages of Osteoarthritis, the goal of treatment is always to reduce pain and slow any further joint degeneration. Initial treatment protocols often include:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication including acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Weight loss
  • Moderate, low-impact exercise as prescribed by Dr. Skaliy
  • Physical therapy

When these initial pain-relieving steps are no longer effective, Dr. Skaliy may suggest Epidural Steroid Injections to relieve inflammation and reduce your pain.

In severe cases of knee Osteoarthritis, a physician may recommend one of three knee joint surgeries, including:

  • Arthroscopy — invasive surgical procedure in which the physician cleans out the joint to remove any loose material or damaged cartilage. This procedure may reduce pain, but will not reduce arthritis in the joint. In most cases, this is a stop-gap meant to delay more aggressive surgery.
  • Osteotomy — changes the shape of the knee bones to realign the knee. Often recommended to fix a badly healed break or if joint damage is primarily in one area of the knee. Not a permanent solution. Further surgery is often necessary.
  • Arthroplasty — partial or total joint replacement. Highly-invasive surgery requiring extended downtime and painful physical therapy to relearn how to use the joint.

All surgeries come with inherent risks, possible side-effects and unknown long-term prognosis. Because of the risks associated with surgery, Dr. Skaliy recommends minimally-invasive, nonsurgical options to treat Osteoarthritis. These treatments, including Platelet Rich Plasma therapy and Stem Cell Therapy, offer real pain relief and healing without the risks and side-effects of surgery.

 

READ BLOG: Banish Knee Pain for Good: How Stem Cell Therapy can help you get your life back

 

Better Solutions for your Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Platelet Rich Plasma  (PRP) — Concentrated blood platelets, donated by the patient receiving care, are used to activate and enhance the body’s own healing ability. A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient. This blood is placed into a specialized centrifuge to separate growth factors and stem cells from the red and white blood cells. The result is a super-concentrated platelet rich plasma. The plasma is then injected into the affected joint.

Stem Cell Therapy  (SCT) — A minimally-invasive treatment that promotes healing and regeneration in the affected joint. For more than a decade now, physicians have been using Stem Cell Therapy to successfully treat 65 different medical condition, including Osteoarthritis.

Stem Cell Therapy Results

The majority of patients who have received stem cell treatments specifically targeted at improving function and reducing pain due to Osteoarthritis in the knee have reported amazing results, including marked improvement in function and substantial decrease in pain.

Better still, this improvement begins shortly after the initial stem cell treatment and continued to improve over time, even years after the initial treatment. This progressive increase in function and decrease in pain happens because of the unique way stem cells heal damaged cells and generate new cells, making it a proven-effective treatment for Osteoarthritis.

To learn what is causing your knee pain and what the best treatment program for you may be, click here to make an appointment with Dr. Skaliy, or fill out the form below.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Skaliy

Throughout his career Dr. Michael Skaliy has felt that medicine is a rapidly changing field and he’s continued to stay up to date to bring the latest cutting edge therapies into his practice. Most recently, he introduced stem cell therapy and minimally invasive same day spine surgery, which is done through a small device the size of a pencil.

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