Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent chronic disorder that affects the joints. Osteoporosis is known as one of the silent diseases because it can progress undiscovered for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. It is usually diagnosed through a bone mineral density test, which is painless and the safest way.
Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition in which the natural cushioning within joints cartilage diminishes. It is a painful, degenerative joint disease that frequently involves lower back, neck, knees, hip, or small joints of the hands. When Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee occurs happens, the cartilage, or cushion, between the knee joints breaks down. As in further outcome, the bones of the joints rub more closely against one another with less of the shock-absorbing benefits of cartilage. Hence, causing a grating sensation, pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, sometimes, the formation of bone spurs.
Who Can Get Osteoarthritis (OA) of the Knee?
Knee osteoarthritis is prevalent, especially as people age. While age is a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45. However, osteoarthritis of the knee can result from injury or infection or even from being overweight; hence young people can get it, too. It is essential to know that women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men. And mostly, Osteoarthritis (OA) to some people, it may be hereditary.
The 4 Stages OF Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee mostly takes several years to develop, and it progresses in stages, making the condition hard to treat because the symptoms may not appear until OA reaches an advanced stage.
Stage 1: Minor
The first stage of knee OA involves minor wear & tear and bone spur growths at the end of the knee joints. And there may be slight damage to the cartilage.
People with stage 1 osteoarthritis are unlikely to experience pain or discomfort.
Stage 2: Mild
Stage 2 OA of the knee is more of a mild stage of the condition. Here symptoms of knee osteoarthritis start to show. X-rays and other scans of the knee joints will clearly show that space between the bones appear normal but more bone spur growth, while the cartilage will begin to thin.
Stage 3: Moderate
Stage 3 OA is classified as “moderate” OA, where there is evident erosion to the cartilage surface between bones, causing more damage to the knee. People with stage 3 OA of the knee are likely to experience frequent pain and discomfort during usual everyday activities. Especially when walking, running, bending, or kneeling.
Stage 3 OA patients may also experience joint stiffness after sitting for long periods or when waking up in the morning.
Stage 4: Severe
Phase 4 is considered to be a severe stage of knee osteoarthritis. Because the joint space between the bones is considerably reduced, it causes the cartilage to wear off, and almost gone, causing great pain, discomfort and leaving the joint stiff and possibly immobile. People in stage 4 OA of the knee should expect to experience great pain and discomfort when walking or moving the knee joint at all.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee Treatment
There is no known cure for Osteoarthritis of the Knee, but treatments are available to manage symptoms, relieve pain, and return mobility.
In most cases, treatment includes a combination of therapies, as well as healthy lifestyle changes. The treatment process will typically include a combination of the following:
Maintain a healthy weight
Get regular exercise
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
Injectable steroids to reduce inflammation
Physical and alternative therapies
Using devices such as braces
Surgeries to repair joints
However, experts are continuously looking for new methods to treat knee osteoarthritis. Some of the methods include the following:
Hyaluronic Acid or Hyaluronate Injections
Also called viscosupplements, this treatment aims at restoring synovial fluid, which is a slippery substance that helps lubricate joints.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
Here doctors will take a sample of the patient's blood and spins it in a machine called a centrifuge to pull out the blood's platelets and plasma. Then the super-concentrated mixture that contains substances that could promote healing is injected back into the joint.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)
In this treatment procedure, the doctors gather Mesenchymal Stem Cells of the patient and inject them into the knee joint, with the hope that they will give rise to new cartilage and reduce inflammation. The Mesenchymal Stem Cells can grow into new tissues, including cartilage.
Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate
This draws on the same concept as MSCs. Expert doctors take cells from your body and use them to stimulate the healing process inside your knee.
Autologous Cultured Chondrocytes
It involves collecting the cells that form cartilage from your joints, growing the cells in a laboratory, and then injecting these cells into the knee. This is a procedure aimed at treating injuries, which can lead to osteoarthritis.
Your doctor will recommend treatment options that can help with your joint pain and swelling, while your treatment options will depend on several factors unique to you and your health needs.
As we all know that there isn't a cure for OA, so effective management is crucial.