Knee osteoarthritis: why knees hurt and how to deal with it

Osteoarthritis is the most common of all diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The knees are particularly vulnerable to it, as they are the ones that carry most of the load. Let’s take a closer look at what osteoarthritis of the knee joint is and how to deal with this disease.

Characteristics of the disease

Osteoarthritis of the knee joints is a pathology associated with the development of degenerative-dystrophic processes in the cartilage tissue of these joints. As the disease progresses, the disease affects not only the cartilage itself but also other tissues, including ligaments and periarticular muscles, and over time, processes can develop that contribute to bone destruction.

The elderly are at risk for joint diseases

Risk Groups

As we age, the body experiences difficulties that lead to tissue malnutrition and accelerated consumption. Under the influence of mechanical, biochemical and other factors, cartilage tissue gradually begins to deteriorate, which further develops into osteoarthritis of the right knee joint or left joint.

With age, the frequency of diagnosing this pathology increases. Women are particularly prone to developing gonarthrosis, which is due to their body characteristics and hormonal changes.

Also at risk are athletes and people whose work is associated with lifting weights and constant standing load.

In general, the following risk groups can be distinguished:

  • older people;
  • athletes;
  • persons with knee injuries;
  • patients who have undergone knee joint surgery;
  • ulur;
  • thick;
  • is ​​associated with hard physical work or the need to be constantly on your feet;
  • patients with endocrine diseases;
  • people with hormonal disruptions;
  • leading an unhealthy lifestyle;
  • with congenital pathology of the musculoskeletal system.

When entering a risk group, you should regularly monitor the condition of your joints as well as take precautions.

Reasons for development

If we talk about the specific causes of dystrophic processes in cartilage tissue, in many respects they are associated with a person's daily life. Existing health problems also play a role.

The main causes of gonarthrosis are:

  1. Injuries. Any damage to the knee and adjacent tissues, i. e. bruising, dislocation, tears and sprains, cracks, fractures, etc. Consequences may appear some time after complete healing of the damaged area.
  2. Congenital disorders. This includes, for example, articular joint instability, curvature, and other developmental and functional disorders related to the structural features of the human skeleton.
  3. Age changes. Gradually, cartilage tissue is consumed and calcium is washed out of the bones. The older a person is, the more pronounced these processes are.
  4. Professional sports - the cause of the development of knee gonarthrosis
  5. Mbipesha. Excess weight slows down metabolic processes and contributes to the exercise of excessive stress on the limbs. Obese people almost always have foot problems.
  6. Endocrine diseases.A diseased state of the endocrine system leads to hormonal imbalance and metabolic disorders.
  7. Operational Interventions. Surgical manipulations in the meniscus have a particularly strong effect. When removed, gonarthrosis develops in 90% of cases.
  8. Stress. Strong emotional experiences negatively affect the state of the whole organism, including the elements of the musculoskeletal system.
  9. Tissue malnutrition. Most often, these processes are associated with impaired blood circulation, as through the vessels in the tissue are supplied all the necessary nutrients.
  10. Heavy loads.Lifting and holding weights, running and jumping improperly, violating the technique of performing physical exercises, prolonged posture - all this is an excessive load on a person's feet.

If you do not take measures to prevent the impact of these causes, the cost of such negligent treatment of your health will be represented by numerous problems with the musculoskeletal system and other body systems.

Discomfort and swelling in the knee area are the first symptoms of osteoarthritis

Symptoms of manifestation

At first, the disease is asymptomatic or anxiety occurs only occasionally. Mostly the knees start to ache after a long stay in one position or an intense day at work. Since such signs are not annoying and disappear completely after rest, a person does not immediately realize that he has serious health problems.

Gradually the discomfort increases, severe pain appears. They have pain in nature, but when they move, they can be sharp and immediate. As the disease progresses, the discomfort increases.

Other symptoms of gonarthrosis are:

  • deterioration of knee motor ability;
  • the appearance of a healthy chew when moving;
  • swelling and tissue hyperemia;
  • bending of the limbs.

the desire to relieve pain is often the main motivating factor for referring a person to the clinic. The sooner you do this, the more chances you will have of stopping the pathological process. Otherwise, the changes will become irreversible and it will not be possible to solve the problem by conservative methods.

In some cases, there is an increased temperature. This phenomenon is rarely observed, indicates an intense inflammatory process. An infection may have been the cause, for example, if you have recently suffered a foot injury.

Types of pathology

In medical practice, the disease has a special classification.

There are the following types of osteoarthritis of the knee joints:

  1. Left or Right. It is located on one side only, ie it touches either the left or right knee. Most often, this situation is observed after injury to a limb.
  2. Two-sided. At the same time, pathological processes develop in both legs. The symmetrical development of the disease is typical in most cases, as internal processes in the human body have a major impact.
  3. Fillore. It develops as an independent disease. Provocative factors are wrong lifestyle, stress, age-related changes, etc.
  4. Secondary. Gonarthrosis becomes a consequence of another disease of the musculoskeletal system and systems closely related to it. This category also includes traumatic limb injuries.

It is also worth distinguishing between periarthrosis. This disease covers the muscles and ligament apparatus, thanks to which the articular joint is set in motion.

Another important category is knee hyperarthrosis. This is the name of the progressive degenerative processes in cartilage. In the later stages, there is a pronounced deforming gonarthrosis. It is worth talking about the stages of pathology development in more detail.

Stages of progression

There are four main stages of knee osteoarthritis. Each of them is distinguished by a more pronounced manifestation of the disease and the emergence of new negative processes.

  1. Stage 1. Sometimes discomfort occurs, but after resting and processing the foot, it disappears. There are still no changes in the tissue structure visible to the diagnostician, but cartilage feeding has already been interrupted, which gradually provokes the progression of the pathology.
  2. Stage 2. The pain becomes annoying, the cartilage becomes thinner, which leads to a narrowing of the joint space. A characteristic chewing appears, the movements are also accompanied by unpleasant sensations.
  3. Phase 3 - 4th. X-ray pictures clearly show the changes that have occurred in the joint. Cartilage tissue is consumed, bone begins to deform at the sites of friction, some areas are overcrowded with osteophytes, and salt deposits are present. All this blocks the movement of the leg and provokes strong, uninterrupted pain.

If the first degree of gonarthrosis is quite possible to eliminate with sparing methods and to fully restore the health of the limbs, the third - fourth stages are irreversible and practically do not undergo conservative treatment. This is why it is important to seek help from a medical institution as soon as possible.

Possible consequences and complications

As for the consequences of gonarthrosis, initially there are no specific risks to human health if proper measures are taken in a timely manner. Of course, knee inflammation causes some inconvenience, but the symptoms and the dystrophic process itself can still be eliminated.

The more the patient ignores the problem, the more it is neglected. In the second stage, the cartilage begins to deteriorate and can hardly be restored. Severe pain disrupts a person's normal way of life, exerts psychological pressure.

The main consequences of progressive gonarthrosis are:

  • uninterrupted pain;
  • blocking foot movement;
  • formation of bone salt growths;
  • complete destruction of the hyaline cartilage;
  • spread of the pathological process in other areas;
  • involvement of the muscular apparatus;
  • disability.

The main question: is it possible to walk with knee osteoarthritis? Movement contributes to the healing of the whole organism, but this rule only works if the disease is detected early.

In later stages, movement can only worsen the destructive process, so the patient is advised to rest in bed and wear special orthoses. By deforming and blocking the movement of the foot, the gait is impaired, i. e. , a person becomes incapacitated. This is the main risk in developing gonarthrosis.

Diagnostic Rules

In order to prevent such complications and not become disabled, you should seek help immediately. An orthopedic surgeon can advise on the treatment of gonarthrosis.

The success of further treatment depends largely on the degree of detail in the diagnosis, and therefore it is not necessary to ignore the specialist descriptions regarding the need to undergo certain examination procedures.

Comprehensive diagnosis of osteoarthritis may include the following methods:

  1. Laboratory blood tests. Need to identify deviations from the norm in terms of baseline indicators. The presence of violations indicates an inflammatory process or other problems that may directly or indirectly indicate joint disease. A rheumatic test can be taken separately, if there is such a need. It is also important to assess the level of glucose in the blood, as its increase may indicate problems with the endocrine system, which also affects the state of the musculoskeletal system and metabolic processes in the body.
  2. Radiography. This is a mandatory procedure that allows you to take into account the condition of the diseased area. The image shows the bone areas. The degree of cartilage wear is assessed by the size of the joint space, the position of the individual articulation elements, the presence of external formations and other indicators.
  3. ultrasound
  4. . Ultrasound waves allow a more detailed examination of the condition of the soft tissues themselves, including the cartilage. Ultrasound reveals inflammatory processes, reveals solid inclusions, as well as tumor formations.
  5. MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging is the best method for examining the condition of the joints. The image clearly shows all the elements of articulation and adjacent soft tissue as well as blood vessels. The image contains a layer-by-layer structure, and the process itself takes place in dynamics, so the doctor can see everything he needs to make a diagnosis. If MRI is contraindicated, CT can be used as an alternative.
  6. Arthroscopy. A more detailed study of the knee is possible by inserting an arthroscope into its cavity. The procedure is less traumatic, so it can be performed without fear for your health. The camera clearly demonstrates the condition of cartilage and other tissues.

Treatment methods

To get rid of gonarthrosis and its consequences, it is necessary to approach the solution of this problem correctly. Only the attending physician will be able to choose the most effective medicine in each case.

A variety of medicines are most often used, as well as folk methods. Some of the techniques closely match each other, for example, different bandages.

If done properly, it will be possible to significantly weaken the manifestations of the disease and restore health to your feet to a certain extent. In no case should he hesitate with treatment, otherwise it will not be possible to do without drastic measures.

Drug therapy

The first thing to start treatment with is drug therapy. It can be divided into several areas, depending on the goals you plan to achieve:

  1. Pain relief. With osteoarthritis, it is the need to relieve the pain that causes most patients to seek help from a specialist for a list of medications. Analgesics are required for severe discomfort, for example, injections are made in the third stage of gonarthrosis.
  2. Removal of inflammation. Since it is possible to relieve pain in osteoarthritis of the knee joints by stopping the inflammatory process, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are undoubtedly prescribed. Drug therapy for gonarthrosisIf the situation is neglected, short courses of glucocorticoids may be prescribed to increase the effect.
  3. Cartilage Restoration. It is necessary to stimulate the regeneration of hyaline cartilage and improve its nutrition, as well as to protect it from future destruction. For this, different groups of chondroprotectors are used. If we consider the question of whether the drug helps in osteoarthritis of the knee joints, pay attention to the composition of the drug. The combination of important ingredients is one of the most effective products in this category.
  4. Improving tissue nutrition. To speed up the recovery processes and strengthen the joint node, various medicines and additives are prescribed to improve metabolism, stimulate blood circulation and saturate cells with vitamins and minerals.

Only the attending physician has the right to prescribe and correct medication therapy for knee osteoarthritis. Independent use of drugs is undesirable, only the use of vitamin supplements and the use of some chondroprotectors is allowed.

Benefits of cycling in the early stages of gonarthrosis

Diet and lifestyle

An important stage in the treatment process is changing your lifestyle, in particular, eating habits. Much depends on the severity of the disease, for example, early development cycling can be beneficial and stimulate recovery processes.

At the same time, when problems with bending extension movements occur, such a load can only worsen the patient's condition and exacerbate the destructive processes.

In general, activity is encouraged because exercise contributes to the treatment of many diseases of the musculoskeletal system. At the same time, it is extremely important to observe the rest regime, not to overload the legs and to avoid sudden movements.

In particular, the question of whether it is possible to run with osteoarthritis of the knee joints is being considered. It is better to replace this type of physical activity with brisk walking.

If we talk about nutrition, the contraindications for gonarthrosis are related to alcohol intake and raw food. It is especially important to exclude fatty and salty foods.

The diet should be as close to healthy as possible, ie include vegetables and fruits, whole grains, milk and cheese, lean meats and fish. Products that help restore hyaline cartilage are very useful: seafood, offal, jelly, apples, algae, etc.

Physiotherapy and other procedures

Physiotherapy is a mandatory component of treatment. Also, modern medicine actively uses a variety of manual and non-traditional methods of influencing the body. It is recommended to pay attention to such procedures.

  1. Magnetotherapy. This is one of the physiotherapy techniques. Magnetic effect stimulates recovery processes, enhances the effect of drugs. Electrophonophoresis can also be used as an alternative.
  2. Acupuncture promotes joint tissue repair
  3. Massage. Different types of manual interventions should be performed by a qualified specialist based on the diagnostic results and prescriptions of the attending physician. Massage stimulates metabolic processes in tissues, improves foot movement, relieves discomfort.
  4. Hirudotherapy. This is a caterpillar treatment. Leech are known for their safe blood cleansing. They bite the patient's skin, substances that prevent blood clotting come with saliva. Small bleeding of this type helps to eliminate the inflammatory process, improve tissue nutrition and have an overall health effect on the body.
  5. Acupuncture. This is one of the methods of reflexology, the essence of which is to affect the active points located not only in the diseased area, but also throughout the body. The doctor inserts special needles into the skin exactly at those points that need to be used to solve the problem of gonarthrosis.

Healing gymnastics

If we look more closely at the treatment with the help of physical exercises, it should first of all be noted that the allowable load rates are determined by a specialist. It is best to attend group exercise therapy classes. Sports for knee osteoarthritis are a mandatory program, included during postoperative rehabilitation.

Swimming in the pool can help stop joint damage

Let us highlight the main directions used for gonarthrosis:

  1. Swimming pool. Swimming relieves stress and tension from the feet and helps to smoothly develop the problem area. In particular, water aerobics is beneficial for osteoarthritis of the knee joints, especially for overweight people and elderly patients.
  2. Ecje. There is no doubt about the question of whether walking is beneficial for gonarthrosis, but at the same time walks should be short and regular. But running is not recommended as a treatment method.
  3. Trainings with simulators. These can be special block trainers or, for example, an exercise bike, if you have no contraindications. They are useful for strengthening the muscular and ligament apparatus.
  4. Healing gymnastics. Orthopedic doctors and occupational rehabilitation therapists develop special sets of exercises that help gently train all groups of joints and restore their health.

Physical activity for osteoarthritis of the knee should be regular and in strict doses. If you overload the legs or skip classes, there will be no beneficial effect. It is also important to choose the right exercises for your specific situation. Check this point in advance with the curator, for example, is it possible to sit down with osteoarthritis in your case.

Traditional medicine

Also, treating osteoarthritis of the knee at home is closely related to the use of traditional medicine prescriptions. It is worth remembering that before using one or another self-prepared medicine, you should make sure that there are no allergies and other contraindications, and also consult your doctor.

Alternatively, the effect may be reversed, or the effect of home remedies may increase over the effect of pharmacy medications. However, folk remedies are still in demand, as their price is much lower than most medicines purchased.

For gonarthrosis, the following remedies are most commonly used:

  1. Herbal teas. Infusions and decoctions of laurel leaves, chamomile, St. John's wort, yarrow and other medicinal plants are actively used for external and internal use. They are able to relieve inflammation, soothe pain, remove salts and also nourish the body with vitamins and other beneficial substances.
  2. Beekeeping Products. Propolis, pomegranate, bee plague, wax and honey all have a healing effect. This is why treating osteoarthritis of the knee joints with honey is such a popular direction. However, it should be borne in mind that bee products can cause severe allergies, so first make sure they are safe to use.
  3. Alcohol tinctures. Excellent for warming and stimulating blood flow, relieving inflammation and improving leg movement. For the joints, white lilac is especially useful, which should be cleaned of greens and filled with vodka for two weeks. Further, the infusion is used to rub the affected area.
  4. Fresh herbs. You can also use raw gifts of nature. For example, a burdock leaf or white cabbage should be lightly cooked and then tied at the knee for at least 10 hours. You can use prefabricated compresses, for example, add medical bile, unrefined sunflower oil, honey, etc.
  5. Animal fats. They are added to homemade creams. To create an optimal consistency, the fat should be mixed with beeswax, herbal decoctions and other ingredients can be added.
Surgical treatment of gonarthrosis

Surgical intervention and rehabilitation

Most patients worry about the question: is knee osteoarthritis curable if it has already progressed to stage 2 - 3? Unfortunately, it will not be possible to restore cartilage lining health, but there is still a way out of the situation.

If you have advanced osteoarthritis of the knee, treatment options are divided into surgery and conservative assistive techniques. If the cartilage is completely consumed, only by performing an operation can the functions of the damaged limb be restored.

The best option is to use endoprostheses. In this case, the damaged articular joint elements are partially or completely removed, and special prostheses are installed in their place using surgical bolts and cement. Over time, they will become overloaded with bone tissue and will fully receive all the necessary load.

Since it is not always possible to treat osteoarthritis of the knee joints in this way, the arthrodesis method is used as an alternative to reduce pain and prevent further deformity of the limb.

If in the first case the motor ability of the foot is restored to the maximum, with arthrodesis the opposite effect appears - the limb is fixed in a certain position, and after cutting the bone, the elements come together. Thus, the movement will be available only in one direction.

Disease Prevention

To prevent the development of the disease, it is supposed to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

To do this, follow these instructions:

  • avoid injury;
  • do not overload the knees;
  • be less nervous;
  • leads an active lifestyle;
  • give up bad habits;
  • eat well;
  • keep track of your weight;
  • Treat other illnesses in a timely manner.

At the first concern, visit your doctor in order to start fighting the disease in time.