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Knee Osteoarthritis and Knee Replacements

Person grabbing knee in pain from Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis of the knee is a common problem seen in individuals as they age. While it can be hereditary, often knee osteoarthritis can also be the result of being overweight or injured.

What causes knee osteoarthritis?

Knee osteoarthritis occurs when the natural cushioning between your knees – the cartilage – wears away. As it wears away you get bone on bone contact, which causes immense pain over time. It impacts mobility and can make even the simple task, like walking to the mailbox, difficult. This is because as your bones rub together you experience swelling and stiffness, which can result in bone spurs.

Who can get knee osteoarthritis?

The most common people to experience this painful and crippling disorder are individuals over the age of 45. Those who have run for a long time, played contact sports, or carried excess weight for an extended period of time are also more prone to it. According to the Arthritis Foundation nearly 27 million people in America have osteoarthritis. Women are more likely to be affected osteoarthritis than men.

What are the most common causes of osteoarthritis?

Age and Gender

As a person ages the healing ability of their cartilage decreases. This is why osteoarthritis is most common in people aged 45 and up. Women 55 and older are most likely to develop arthritis of the knee.

Genetics

Oftentimes an individual can live a complete healthy life without ever getting injured and still develop osteoarthritis. Genetic mutations that affect that shape of a bone and cartilage can have a big impact on whether someone develops knee osteoarthritis or not.

Repetitive Injuries

These injuries are typically the result of a person’s job. People who have to do regular heavy lifting and regular squatting and kneeling can develop osteoarthritis due to the constant stress put on their body.

What are the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis must be diagnosed by a physician, however, common symptoms include pain that develops after activity but gets better with rest, swelling and warmth in the joints, stiffness in the knee after waking up or sitting still for a while, and creaking and cracking in your knees.

How can you treat knee osteoarthritis?

Once Dr. Teurlings diagnoses you with knee osteoarthritis, you’ll review the variety of treatment options available. Diagnosis is usually accomplished through x-rays.

How you’re treated will depend on your unique needs. Oftentimes it is recommended an individual start by losing weight. If your weight is the culprit, you’ll begin to experience relief quickly as the pounds drop. Other options include exercise, medications and anti-inflammatory treatments, and devices like braces.

Ultimately, however, if these options don’t work then knee replacement is a great option. Knee replacement surgery can be done as a total or partial replacement. The surgery typically takes an hour or two and is an extremely effective method to get long-term relief. In fact, replacements performed today should last about 20 years. Both total and partial knee replacement surgeries offer patients with a positive prognosis for success.