Several types of arthritis can affect your knees. Osteoarthritis is the most common. If you’re experiencing morning stiffness and achy knee discomfort that lessens as you get started with your day, you’ve likely progressed beyond Stage 1 osteoarthritis to Stage 2.
Most people require knee replacement by Stage 4.
Our team at FXRX Inc., led by top orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sumit Dewanjee, excels at knee replacement and recovery that restores pain-free mobility. But we much prefer you avoid surgery whenever possible.
Read more about knee arthritis, what causes it, and our team’s recommendations for protecting your knees.
Understanding knee arthritis
There are about 100 different types of arthritis, but a few are more common in the knees:
Caused by a faulty immune system that mistakenly identifies the tissue lining your joints as toxic, RA triggers an inflammatory response that leads to painful joint swelling and severe damage over time. RA most often begins in middle age but also affects children.
Thinning cartilage caused by a sports injury, auto accident, or other trauma to the knee triggers post-traumatic arthritis. Symptoms can develop years or decades after the injury and closely mimic osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of knee arthritis. Age-related wear-and-tear or overuse during work or sports can cause osteoarthritis, which results in erosion of the cartilage covering bony surfaces within the joint.
Healthy cartilage provides a smooth and slick cushion for the bones, enabling frictionless joint movement. Osteoarthritis symptoms develop over time as this protective covering wears away, resulting in significant pain and disability when bone begins to rub against bone.
What contributes to worsening arthritis?
You can’t always prevent arthritis, but you can minimize joint damage by understanding what contributes to arthritis and making choices that protect your knees.
For instance, if your sport of choice includes a lot of running, jumping, or pivoting, you’re at increased risk of a knee injury or overuse that can contribute to arthritis. On the other hand, physical inactivity weakens knee joints and worsens the effects of arthritis.
Excess weight is another common risk factor for knee arthritis due to the strain it places on your knee joints.
To decrease your risk of worsening arthritis:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Include low-impact exercise such as swimming, cycling, or walking in your routine
- Wear shock-absorbing inserts in your shoes
- Use a knee sleeve or brace to help stabilize the joint
- Exercise to increase flexibility, strength, and healthy joint motion
- Avoid overtraining for your sport
- Wear appropriate footwear for your sport
- Wear knee pads for work or hobbies that include prolonged kneeling (i.e., gardening)
Remember that knee pain or stiffness signals that something in the joint has gone wrong. Don’t ignore your symptoms or push through the pain. Instead, schedule an evaluation at FXRX.
When should I see a specialist for knee arthritis?
Because diagnosing and treating arthritis at its earliest stage gives you the best chance of preventing worsening disease, we recommend scheduling a visit as soon as you notice even mild symptoms.
If you have a history of a knee injury, participate in high-impact sports, or are otherwise at increased risk for arthritis, schedule a visit even if you don’t notice symptoms yet.
Based on the results of a thorough health evaluation, Dr. Dewanjee may recommend conservative knee treatments such as:
- A round of physical therapy
- Orthopedic knee sleeves, bracing, or shoe inserts
- Regenerative therapies such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell injections
- Steroid joint injections to reduce inflammation
- Activity modification
- Joint-friendly exercise programs
- Viscosupplementation to restore natural joint lubrication and reduce pain
If these conservative treatments fail to relieve your symptoms or slow arthritis progression, Dr. Dewanjee specializes in minimally invasive surgeries that can restore pain-free knee movement.
Schedule an evaluation at FXRX today for outstanding orthopedic care that is always patient-focused. Call our office in Tempe or Chandler, Arizona, or use our secure online service to request an appointment.