It's time to talk about a disease from which no one is immune, or rather, osteoarthritis of the knee. What is osteoarthritis of the knee joint? What are its main symptoms and what is the treatment with traditional methods. And how traditional medicine can help. Believe me, everyone must know, as this ailment affects every fifth person on the planet. That's a lot, isn't it?
In fact, according to medical statistics, osteoarthritis affects the knee much more often than other joints. It is diagnosed in nearly 20% of the population. I will also add that this disease severely limits the mobility of the knee and in advanced cases brings constant and intolerable pain. So let's tackle the topic ahead of time and don't give the disease a single chance!
Deforming osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis of the knee joint or gonarthrosis are all names for a disease affecting the hyaline cartilage of the knee.
Causes of gonoarthrosis
The reasons for its occurrence may be different. Also, as a rule, for the development of obvious degenerative-dystrophic phenomena in the joint, it is necessary to combine several negative factors at once.
In general, the following can cause disease:
- old age, as the elasticity of the tissues decreases over the years and physical activity causes deformities in the joint;
- extra weight as an additional load on the knee;
- hereditary tendency to joint disorders, i. e. people whose relatives suffered from osteoarthritis should be doubly careful;
- professional loads on the knees. For example, when you have to squat often at work, go up the stairs;
- sports career, especially in middle age;
- metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus;
- spinal injury;
- injuries to the knee, ligaments, lower leg. Sometimes, after such injuries, gonarthrosis forms after several years, but with severe ailments, damage to the joint is possible within 2-3 months;
- increased physical activity on the legs;
- ankylosing spondylitis;
- rheumatoid arthritis, reactive, psoriatic;
- varicose veins;
- spasm of the thigh muscles, causing the knee to "pull in" and damage it.
That is, many problems can cause a disease and it is difficult to predict the appearance of a disease in advance, but for effective treatment it is important to diagnose the disease as soon as possible.
Symptoms of gonarthrosis
Sometimes it is difficult to suspect gonarthrosis, it is similar in symptoms to the manifestations of other disorders. For example, damage to the meniscus, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation of the hamstrings, vascular pain. Your doctor will help you make the diagnosis.
In general, the following manifestations will help suspect a problem:
- pain after sleeping or sitting for a long time, which disappears soon, but returns after another rest;
- long-standing discomfort;
- motion crunch;
- discomfort in the knees.
Furthermore, the symptoms directly depend on the degree of joint damage. So:
- in the first degreethe patient may feel slight pain after sleep and the rest of the time the knee does not worry;
- second degreethe pain is stronger and more intense. Appears during normal walking or lifting a load, joint crunches and limitation of movement are possible, that is, the patient is unable to fully bend and straighten the leg without unpleasant sensations;
- third degreeis characterized by a more intense pain that sometimes interferes with sleep and life. The deformation of the joint is visible to the naked eye, the legs take on an O or X shape, a change in gait is observed, the person is unable to walk without a cane or other support.
How to treat osteoarthritis of the knee
Treatment of the problem is determined according to the degree of the disease. If at first it is possible to completely restore the structure of the joint with the help of ointments and compresses, then in the second stage, injections are already shown intramuscularly, intravenously and even inside the joint, and in the third stage you often have togo for surgery. But first of all.
Grade 1 treatment is the most effective. At this time, joint deformities are minimal and can be managed conservatively, which gives good results. There's just one problem: Few people listen to their bodies so much that they notice these early warning signs from the knee. What is really there, even on an x-ray, sometimes the initial stage is not visible. Only after the correct diagnosis will the doctor decide how to treat the disease.
Generally, the first degree applies:
- special gymnastics to improve blood circulation, strengthen muscles, increase joint mobility;
- massage courses;
- taking NSAID tablets (non-steroidal drugs);
- rub ointments on the sore spot;
- the use of delayed-release symptomatic medications to help restore cartilage. At the initial stage, they are more effective, at this stage it is still possible to use such preparations in the form of ointments and creams.
If gonarthrosis has been diagnosed as grade 2, treatment of the disease must be started immediately, otherwise the tissue deformations will be so significant that conservative therapy will be powerless.
For this, doctors use:
- anti-inflammatory drugs for oral and topical use. As a rule, medical treatment of the damaged joint involves the use, in addition to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, even more powerful hormonal drugs that help to quickly relieve pain, but are used in short courses during exacerbations due to side effects;
- constant use of painkillers;
- a diet that excludes fat and carbohydrates for weight loss and normalization of metabolic processes;
- corrective gymnastics for joint development;
- use of delayed-release symptomatic drugs already in the form of intra-articular injections;
- a knee injection with a hyaluronic acid injection, brings long-term and noticeable relief, but it is only necessary to inject it in the hospital, it is important to enter the joint capsule. This should be done by a professional with similar experience, as if the drug enters the bloodstream, it can cause an embolism;
- locally applied ointments with analgesic and anti-inflammatory components;
- In case of severe pain, the devices are indicated to relieve stress on the knee, for example canes, crutches and knee pads.
If the disease is so neglected, there are only two methods of treatment: heavy drugs in the form of injections and surgery.
In the first case, all those medicines are used as in the previous stages, but their stronger versions. More often than not, no pills are used, but injections intravenously, intramuscularly and even inside the joint for maximum effect. If conservative treatment fails, you need to switch to the second method.
The operation is now performed in two ways:
- small holes are made in the knee, special devices are used to clean the joint from bony growths that interfere with its movement, the operation is considered minimally invasive, so recovery is faster;
- prostheses are used for severe joint deformation. That is, the doctor makes an incision, removes part of the bone, puts an artificial joint in its place and, if necessary, a piece of another adjacent bone, using pins and medical cement. In place of the destroyed joint, an artificial apparatus is installed, mainly in titanium.
In any case, a person's ability to move normally after surgery directly depends on the effectiveness of rehabilitation and his perseverance. As a rule, it takes six months to a year to restore knee mobility, so operations are performed more often for younger patients.
Which doctor treats osteoarthritis of the knee
The rheumatologist deals with the problem of arthrosis of the joints, including those of the knee, above all. It is this doctor who can confirm or deny the diagnosis, specializes in inflammatory and dystrophic processes of the connective tissues and joints. As a rule, he uses conservative methods in treatment, that is, he prescribes ointments, pills, injections, and can also recommend the help of a physiotherapist, physical therapy instructor and a chiropractor.
In addition, some large medical centers have their own specialist who treats arthritis. This is a surgeon who specializes in joint disease. Unfortunately, you can find such a professional only in large cities.
Well, in the advanced stages, when traditional treatment fails, an orthopedic surgeon comes to the rescue. Depending on the state of the joint, he chooses organ preservation tactics (ie resumes joint functions), or decides on the need for arthroplasty and installs artificial "details" in place of the destroyed joint.
To make a diagnosis, the physician must:
- examine the leg, feel the bones, their deformation, positioning, structure;
- checks joint mobility with a special goniometer;
- checks the joint for swelling, edema;
- hears for a creak when moving;
- directed for radiography, MRI and CT;
- requires blood tests to rule out diseases with similar symptoms (for example, ankylosing spondylitis).
Let me remind you that in the first stage, even an x-ray may not show a clear picture of the disease. Therefore, it is recommended to periodically take pictures and compare them over time to determine the problem and the course of the disease.
Of course, it is difficult to completely get rid of osteoarthritis of the knee joint at home, but treatment with folk remedies can be a good addition to the pills and ointments prescribed by the doctor.
Some good recipes:
- apply a fresh burdock leaf on a sore knee, wrapping it overnight with a warm handkerchief, while it is important to attach the leaf to the skin with the back side;
- Lubricate the sore spot overnight by lapping from a chicken yolk and a teaspoon of turpentine. Wrap the leg over it with a warm cloth and in the morning wash the skin well. The effect will be in 3-4 days, but for recovery it is necessary to use the remedy for about three weeks;
- apply a piece of cloth soaked in fresh celandine juice on the knee, after 45-50 minutes the cloth should be removed and the skin should be lubricated with vegetable fat. Repeat every day for a week, then rest for 10 days and start a new course.
Going to the pharmacy or watching commercials on TV, you get lost in the abundance of modern medicines for joint pain. And each manufacturer guarantees literally immediate and lasting results. Who to believe, how to choose the best drug?
Two types of ointments can be used for osteoarthritis:
- symptomatic slow-acting topical preparations
It is important not to self-medicate, but to visit a doctor who, having established a diagnosis, will tell you which of the drugs is most suitable in terms of composition and principle of action.
We are what we eat, so if you follow a special diet, you can successfully fight many diseases, including knee deformity.
It is recommended that patients with this disorder remove from the diet:
- pork and beef;
- any fast food that causes so-called metabolic osteoarthritis;
- smoked meats, especially unnatural, produced with liquid chemical smoke;
- fried and overly spicy foods;
- ready-made meat dishes with dyes, preservatives, aromatic additives (sausages, sausages, sausages);
- white cabbage;
- salted and processed cheeses.
Also, don't lean on chocolate, sweets, pastries, radishes and radishes, spinach, sorrel.
Instead, use multiple:
- fish rich in omega acids;
- hard cheese, milk and ricotta;
- mineral water;
- fruits and vegetables, especially those with high calcium content;
- dried apricots, raisins, nuts.
In addition to enriching the body with vitamins and minerals useful for restoring cartilage tissue, the diet has another goal: weight loss to reduce the load on the knees. But you shouldn't be too fanatic about it. Excessive eating habits and hunger drain the body and cause calcium to leach, which can further aggravate the situation.
Therefore, you need to eat varied, but often fractional. With the swelling of the joint, drinking plenty of fluids, orange and pomegranate juice is useful, as they relieve inflammation. In general, nutrition should be complete, balanced, but in the presence of excess weight, allowing you to slowly but safely bring the body back to normal.
We have already briefly mentioned the use of hyaluronic acid in the treatment of gonarthrosis, but now it is worth investigating this issue.
Indeed, hyaluronic acid replaces the lubricant in the joint, thus increasing the volume of painless movements, the crunch disappears and the pain syndrome is relieved. However, it is not that easy to deliver the drug to its destination. When taken orally, the capsules dissolve in the stomach in the same way as a spoonful of jellied meat, with no benefit, and if ingested into a vein, they can cause complications and even death. So there is only one way out: injections into the joint, although this has its drawbacks.
Fortunately, the joint gap in the knee is large enough that with experience it is possible to enter it, but there is still the possibility of nerve damage or, again, the drug entering the blood. In addition, many patients are stopped by the considerable price of such drugs, and scientists have not yet confirmed the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid in tissue repair, while it is only known that it replaces the natural lubricant.
But there is good news: the medicine in the joint works for up to a year and relieves pain almost instantly. Then decide for yourself whether to try drugs with this substance on yourself.
How to choose knee pads for knee osteoarthritis
Knee pads have been shown to help reduce inflammation, remove swelling, relieve pain, reduce pressure on the joint, speed up blood circulation and give the patient joy of movement, but for this it is also necessary to choosethe right one.
One of the main selection criteria is size, as too large a knee brace will not give the desired fixation and excessive tension will disturb blood flow. Measuring the volume of the knee and leg 15cm above and below will help determine the size.
The shape of the product is also important:
- open, ideal for people after an injury and with mild pain;
- open elastic with stiffening ribs for people with discomfort when squatting;
- open with voltage regulators useful in the post-operative rehabilitation period;
- closed is ideal for an unknown source of pain;
- swivel is suitable for all people with knee problems;
- heating improves circulation and relieves inflammation.
Again, the attending physician will help you choose the knee pads, taking into account the characteristics of the course of the disease.
Gymnastics for knee osteoarthritis
Gymnastics, which are specially designed exercises, help relieve muscle spasms, improve blood circulation in the knee and stop the process of destruction. Such therapeutic exercises do not involve pumping of muscles, methods of strength. On the contrary, all movements should be as smooth, fluid as possible, without tight turns, joint twists and other potentially dangerous actions.
It is also forbidden to train during an exacerbation. First you need to relieve the pain, and only then move on to the lessons.
Prevention can be divided into primary and secondary, that is, the first assumes the prevention of the disease, and the second - its recurrence.
The first is:
- weight control;
- wear the right shoes;
- moderate physical activity to maintain muscle tone;
- avoid injury.
Secondary prevention means:
- using a special diet;
- drink up to 9 glasses a day;
- taking medications and foods to keep bones healthy.
As usually happens, it is easier to prevent the onset and wandering of the disease than to treat it later with different drugs and methods.
Fortunately, we now know not only how to treat osteoarthritis, but also the first signs for a complete victory over the disease.