Healthy people perceive the ability to move without pain as quite simple and natural. But those who have encountered osteoarthritis of the knee joint know how many difficulties are associated with limited mobility.
Today, one in five people on Earth suffers from this disease, which often leads to disability. Also, in women, osteoarthritis of the knee joint is much more common than in men.
What is knee osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the knee joint (or gonarthrosis) is a disease that develops as a result of excessive or regular stress on the knee joint. The disease is accompanied by pain, deterioration of motor functions, and deformation of bone and cartilage tissue.
Why does knee osteoarthritis occur? There are several reasons for this disease:
- trauma (the most common cause of knee osteoarthritis at a young age);
- varicose veins;
- flat feet;
- menopause in women;
- violation of mineral metabolism;
- increased stress on the joints;
- hereditary predisposition.
All of these factors damage cartilage and interfere with the production of intra-articular fluid. As a result, friction leads to alteration of the structure of the bone and cartilage tissue of the joint. At the injury site, inflammation occurs that causes pain and limits your mobility.
Signs of knee osteoarthritis
The onset of knee joint disease is indicated by the appearance of some symptoms:
- pain, aggravated by tension in the joint;
- feeling of "pain" in the joint;
- crunch (in the absence of timely treatment, it intensifies);
- edema, swelling.
Degree of disease
Three degrees of knee osteoarthritis can be distinguished.
- the external deformity of the joint is not visible;
- slight swelling;
- the legs get very tired;
- there is pain in the joint when walking, climbing stairs, as well as after a long stay without movement (for example, after sleeping);
- Baker's cyst formation.
- the appearance of pain even with a light load;
- a crack is heard in the joint when walking, squatting;
- The mobility of the knee decreases (the leg cannot be bent).
- severe pain even at rest;
- sleep disturbance;
- the sensitivity to climatic changes appears;
- unsteady gait observed;
- decreased mobility of the knee.
Only a doctor can determine the degree of knee osteoarthritis.
Examination of a patient with knee osteoarthritis
Research makes it possible to determine the causes of the development of pathology and select the optimal course of therapy.
The following types of investigation are often used to clarify the diagnosis:
- Clinical and biochemical blood tests. This type of research allows you to differentiate similar but different symptoms in the treatment of arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Radiography. Joint radiography is the most common way to diagnose knee osteoarthritis, allowing the stage of the disease to be identified. But the main disadvantage of this type of diagnosis is that it will not be possible to see anything in the image except the bones.
- Joint ultrasound. Ultrasound can detect fluid and soft tissue abnormalities, as well as visualize cartilage. However, this method is subjective and requires a re-examination of the conclusion by examination or X-ray examination.
- Magnetic resonance imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging is an incomparable diagnostic method based on the use of magnetic waves. In recent years, this type of study of joint diseases has become the most widespread. The images reflect the smallest details of the joint: the vasculature, thinning of the soft tissues, swelling and bleeding in the tendons. The first changes in the cartilage tissue can be detected thanks to the precision of the tomogram.
- Computed tomography. For this type of examination, X-rays are used, as with an X-ray examination. But the image can be called more voluminous and detailed, thanks to a series of images.
Treatment of knee osteoarthritis
The gonarthrosis treatment must be carried out in the first or second stage of the disease, this will save the joint. However, how to treat osteoarthritis of the knee joint is not an easy question, as it is a rapidly progressing disease.
The therapy should be aimed at the complete elimination of pain, activation of blood circulation in the affected area and restoration of the affected area.
Medications for knee osteoarthritis
- NSAIDs- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the list of which is quite extensive today. Its main function is to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. NSAIDs do not contain hormones and therefore have few side effects in the body. However, these drugs also have contraindications, which should be consulted before taking them.
- Chondroprotectors: drugs that nourish and restore the structure of cartilage. The main difference between chondroprotectors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is an increase in synovial fluid production as a result of their intake. To achieve the best result, chondroprotectors can be used regularly and for quite long cycles. However, in the late stage of osteoarthritis, they are not very effective.
- Ointments and creams. All leading experts in the field of joint diseases recommend the use of ointments, as they are effective in combating most symptoms: they relieve pain, reduce inflammation and have an antimicrobial effect. All drugs can be divided into 2 groups:
- anti-inflammatory and analgesic;
- vasodilator and warmer.
- CompressesAn even more effective remedy in the fight against osteoarthritis. The most common among them: medical bile and others.
- Intra-articular injectionsare an expensive but very effective remedy in the fight against knee osteoarthritis.
- The most common treatment option is glucocorticoid therapy. These medications reduce inflammation and relieve pain. But in some cases, the side effects can make the patient's condition worse. People with the following diseases are at risk: ulcers, obesity, kidney failure, hypertension.
- Hyaluronic acid-based preparations are safer and, when injected, act like an intra-articular fluid: they nourish cartilage and lubricate joint surfaces.
- Manual therapy and physical therapy. Physical therapy and manual therapy can give excellent results in the early stages of the disease (it is recommended to use it in combination with other treatment methods). In addition to exercise therapy, thermotherapy, electrophoresis and laser therapy, cryotherapy (cold treatment), and homeosiniatry (the introduction of homeopathic remedies at biologically active points in the body) have recently been used.
- Surgery. In the last stage of gonarthrosis, only surgical treatment is indicated, during which the deformed joint is replaced with a new one made of high-strength materials.
- Use baking soda to remove swelling. You need to dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in 1 tablespoon of warm water. Apply the resulting mixture to the fabric and glue it to the knee (you can wrap it around the knee joint) and fix it with a bandage on top. Leave the compress overnight. Repeat the procedure every day for a week until the swelling is completely removed.
- An equally popular compress is a combination of water and vinegar. The dressing with the medicinal composition is also left overnight.
- Treatment with home remedies is not limited to vinegar compresses or soft drinks. Most often, honey, horseradish, cabbage, kefir, potatoes rolled in a meat grinder, and even oatmeal are applied to the affected area.
- Dandelions are also used as an effective remedy for joint diseases. Most often, the infusion of flowers is used to rub problem areas to relieve pain. The most famous recipe: pour plucked dandelion flowers and pour with triple cologne. Let it sit for 10 days and cleanse the joints several times a day.
- A popular golden mustache ointment recipe. To prepare it, mix the juice of a freshly squeezed plant with baby cream, fat and petroleum jelly.
- Onion decoction is another popular method of relieving pain symptoms. Chop two onions together with the peel and boil until the onion is soft. And then they use the resulting broth before eating.
- Baths with essential oils of St. John's wort, calendula and eucalyptus have an anti-inflammatory effect on damaged cartilage surfaces.
- Mumiyo can be used for pain relief with home remedies. It is recommended to rub a mixture of honey and mumiyo (in a ratio of 100: 3) every night before going to bed. After 5-6 days, the osteoarthritis of the knee joint will recede.
- Do not carry heavy loads.
- Avoid stressful situations.
- Wear only comfortable shoes.
- Move more, but watch your movements without problems.
- Follow your diet. Don't eat meat, fish, shellfish, and beans more than once every other day.
Knee osteoarthritis: treatment with traditional medicine
Sometimes, to cure gonarthrosis, treatment with home remedies does not replace traditional methods of treatment. These include: compresses, homemade ointments, decoctions, and baths.
Joint treatment at home is indicated in the intervals between courses of pharmacological treatment. Medication breaks should be taken to avoid side effects. At this time, the treatment of the knee joint can be continued with home remedies.
And the list of recipes for treatment with folk remedies is not limited to this. There are a number of not very popular, but no less effective methods. So, for example, you can treat arthrosis with leeches, earthworms - these methods give good results, although they are not very common.
Often, treatment with home remedies is only effective in conjunction with drug treatment.
Among other things, it is necessary to limit the load on the knee joint, this will speed up its recovery.
The human knee joint is one of the most affected, as it supports the weight of the human body and provides movement.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a deformation and destruction of the cartilage layer. As a result, the joint loses its ability to soften the constant blows of the joint itself and the body during movement during movement.
Do not forget that only timely diagnosis and treatment will help to avoid the unpleasant consequences of osteoarthritis. Take care of your health: Seek the help of a qualified specialist at the first sign of illness.