Knee Osteoarthritis: What You Need To Know
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How much do you know about knee osteoarthritis? Although commonly referred to as the “wear-and-tear disease,” osteoarthritis is a complex condition that includes the slow degeneration of a joint and its supporting structures. Many traditional forms of treatment for osteoarthritis provide only short-lived relief – or even worse – may cause more damage to the joint environment which can worsen your symptoms. Did you know that symptoms of pain, stiffness, and swelling from osteoarthritis do not always correlate with how “bad” the arthritis looks on X-rays? If you are among the millions of people experiencing symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and want to avoid invasive surgery, pain killers, or steroid injections, NESS – Nevo Sports and Spine has effective options for you.
It Affects People at A Younger Age
Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis is not exclusively an elderly disease. Men and women under the age of 45 are commonly diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This may be due to jobs or activities that involve heavy lifting and repetitive movements. Problems with posture or alignment such as scoliosis, flat feet, rotated hips, clicking in the kneecaps, or weak quadriceps can also wreak havoc on the knees.
A history of playing competitive sports such as soccer, basketball, or football at a younger age may play a factor as well due to the mechanical forces applied to the knee joints. Excessive standing, kneeling, and crouching can place a lot of strain on the weight-bearing joints, which often leads to the development of degenerative joint disease. Prior history of knee injuries or surgeries can also cause the joint to ultimately fail. This is known as secondary osteoarthritis.
There Are Some Additional Risk Factors
Although osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed after years of unnoticed degenerative changes, there are some preventable risk factors that can help prevent this condition, even from a younger age. For example, if you are overweight or if your job requires lots of loading or weight-bearing and you don’t spend the necessary time to build up the muscles that absorb forces, support, and stabilize the knees, then you are more likely to wear down the knee joints. In addition, fat cells (called adipocytes) release inflammatory “juice” called “adipokines” which can cause pain and swelling in the knee joints. In some cases, people are genetically predisposed to getting knee osteoarthritis. For example, if you have a parent or grandparent with knee or hip problems, then you may be likely to end up with them as well.
The Earlier You Start Treatment, The Better
If you are diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis or think that you might have the condition, then you should address it sooner than later. The sooner that you are evaluated and treated, the less likely you are to end up requiring an invasive surgery or live with chronic knee pain. The diagnosis process usually involves a comprehensive history and physical examination with supportive diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound, X-rays or an MRI, in some cases. Depending on the clinical scenario, bloodwork may also be ordered in order to rule out certain systemic conditions that cause joint degeneration, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Regenerative Treatments Can Alleviate Pain With Osteoarthritis
Once your diagnosis is established, a customized treatment plan is designed for you. This typically involves taking on a daily home exercise program to teach your body to protect your joints for the long-run while addressing lifestyle modifications such as cleaning up your diet, promoting weight loss, decreasing stress, and promoting good sleep habits. The goals of regenerative injections are to create a robust internal healing response within the microenvironment of the joint to support your rehabilitation. What this translates into is less pain in the short term and long-term sustained improved function (allowing you to engage in those activities and hobbies you weren’t able to do because of your pain). In many cases, a successful regenerative cell-based treatment can significantly delay or even prevent the need for invasive surgery, which often comes with significant risk and downtime.
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is an example of a regenerative treatment that has shown tremendous advantages over more traditional injection types. Multiple recent systematic reviews of the scientific literature have demonstrated statistically significant long-term improvements in pain and function for patients with knee osteoarthritis treated with PRP. Coupled with our exclusive Regenerative Rehabilitation protocols, NESS – Nevo Sports and Spine will follow and support your progress towards improving your quality of life. If you have been dealing with knee pain or would like to be evaluated to help prevent future injury, we are always happy to review with you all of your available options for treatment.