Knee Arthritis Can Interfere With Daily Living – Find Effective Treatment in Lafayette, LA
A large and highly complex joint, the knee supports the body’s weight, locks into position to hold the body upright, serves as a hinge to facilitate walking and running, and withstands significant force as the body twists and turns during sports and other activities. For these reasons, the knee is prone to wear-and-tear arthritis, or osteoarthritis.
The degenerative process of knee osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a chronic condition characterized by a breakdown of cartilage, which cushions the ends of the upper and lower leg bones where they come together to form the knee joint. As the cartilage becomes rougher and thinner, the underlying bone surfaces may thicken and form bone spurs (osteophytes) at the edges of the joint. The synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joint and produces lubricating fluid, may respond by producing excess fluid, causing the joint to swell. All of these changes in the knee joint, which result from the body’s natural repair processes, can potentially lead to uncomfortable symptoms that worsen over time.
What are the symptoms of degenerative knee arthritis?
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee include:
- Stiffness that worsens with rest and improves with activity
- A grinding sensation (crepitus) during movement
- Hard swelling caused by bone spurs
- Soft swelling caused by excessive synovial fluid
- A feeling that the knee is “about to give out”
- Restricted range of motion in the knee joint
- Nighttime pain that disrupts sleep
Effective treatment for knee arthritis begins with a proper diagnosis. In Lafayette, Louisiana, Peter D. Vizzi, M.D., diagnoses and treats osteoarthritis of the knee and other orthopedic conditions. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Vizzi helps many patients overcome their knee pain and resume their active lifestyles.
How is degenerative knee arthritis treated?
The primary goals of knee arthritis treatment are to relieve pain and increase mobility. To accomplish this, Dr. Vizzi may discuss:
- Weight loss – Excess body weight can significantly increase the stress exerted on the knee joint with every step.
- Exercise and physical therapy – Strengthening the muscles that surround and support the knee can enhance the stability and flexibility of the joint.
- Medications – Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain and swelling caused by knee arthritis.
- Injection treatments – Cortisone (a powerful anti-inflammatory medication), hyaluronic acid (a joint lubricant), or platelet-rich plasma (a high concentration of blood platelets) can be injected directly into a painful or inflamed area of the knee.
- Bracing – A supportive brace can be worn to stabilize the entire knee, or an unloader brace can be worn to shift weight away from the painful side.
- Surgery – A surgical procedure, such as a knee replacement, may be discussed to address severe or persistent knee arthritis symptoms that do not respond to conservative treatment.
If you’re interested in exploring your treatment options for knee arthritis, you are encouraged to consult with Dr. Vizzi at his office in Lafayette, LA. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.