11339 Cortez Boulevard
Brooksville, FL 34613

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352 596 3494

11339 Cortez Boulevard
Brooksville, FL 34613

FAX
352 596 3494

Symptoms of Arthritis in the Knee

Arthritis is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. It significantly impacts mobility and quality of life, mainly when it affects the knee. Recognizing symptoms, exploring treatment options, and knowing when to seek medical advice are crucial for effective management.

This guide provides a detailed overview of knee arthritis, helping you identify symptoms early, explore treatment options, and understand the importance of timely medical intervention. Whether experiencing symptoms or seeking preventative knowledge, this guide equips you with the necessary tools for better knee health.

Types of Knee Arthritis

Understanding the different types of knee arthritis is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment. Here, we explore the primary types of knee arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent type of knee arthritis, often called “wear and tear” arthritis. It typically affects middle-aged and older adults and results from the gradual breakdown of cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the knee. As the cartilage deteriorates, bones may rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. Risk factors include age, obesity, joint injuries, and repetitive stress on the knee.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect people of any age. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is caused by mechanical wear and tear, RA occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium—the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This leads to inflammation that can damage the cartilage and bone within the joint, causing pain, swelling, and joint deformity over time.

  • Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis develops after a knee injury, such as a fracture, ligament tear, or meniscus injury. The trauma can damage the cartilage and bone, leading to arthritis symptoms that may not appear until several years after the injury. This type of arthritis can affect individuals with knee injuries, including athletes and those who have experienced accidents.

Symptoms of Arthritis in the Knee

The symptoms of knee arthritis can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:

Pain

Usually, the arthritic pain in the knee starts to develop slowly. You might notice pain when you get up in the morning or after completing specific tasks. You may notice pain when standing for long periods or when walking up and down stairs. It’s important to note that you might notice pain in the smaller joints before noticing the pain in your knees with rheumatoid arthritis. You may also feel the pain in both knees as it tends to be symmetrical. 

Compared to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis pain is usually more sudden and can progress rapidly. Pain can sometimes worsen with:

  • Excessive activity
  • Cold weather
  • Stress
  • Changes in medications

Whether it appears gradually or suddenly, arthritic pain can be debilitating. It can continue to worsen with time and is one of the dangers of delaying knee surgery.

Swelling

Arthritis often causes inflammation in the knee. With osteoarthritis, you might have hard swelling due to bone spurs’ formation in the arthritic joints. There may also be soft swelling which causes fluid to collect in the joints. 

Regardless, swelling can worsen in the morning, or you might notice it is worse after periods of activity. Swelling is also joint in Rheumatoid arthritis. Other symptoms, such as fatigue and redness around the affected area, are often noticed.

Decreased Range of Motion

Because of bone and cartilage damage, the knee’s range of motion can be affected. This can make it difficult to walk and perform other activities in life. 

Medication and physical therapy can help patients regain some range of motion. However, when these options fail, surgery may be an option. Patients may need a walker or assistive device to help them walk without surgery. 

Knee Deformities

If damage progresses, arthritis can change the appearance of the knee. Ongoing flares of pain and inflammation damage the cartilage and tendons around the knee, eventually affecting its shape and appearance. 

Patients with osteoarthritis can have weak knees and muscles that eventually give them a “sunken” appearance. The range of deformities varies significantly from person to person, and the severity of the disease is different for each individual.

Stiffness: 

Stiffness in the knee is standard, particularly after periods of inactivity, such as waking up in the morning or sitting for long periods.

Grinding Sensation: 

Some people with knee arthritis may feel a grinding or grating sensation in the knee when moving it.

Warmth and Redness: 

The knee joint may feel warm to the touch and appear red due to inflammation.

Weakness: 

Muscle weakness around the knee can occur, contributing to instability and difficulty performing everyday activities.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis can cause debilitating pain and limit your mobility, but surgery isn’t always the first or only solution. Non-surgical treatments offer practical ways to manage symptoms, improve joint function, and enhance quality of life. Let’s explore various non-surgical treatment options for knee arthritis: 

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle changes are often the first line of defense in managing knee arthritis symptoms. These modifications can help reduce pain and improve joint function.

  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for minimizing stress on the knee joints. Every extra body weight adds approximately four pounds of pressure on your knees.
  • Exercise: Regular low-impact exercises, such as swimming, cycling, and walking, can strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. Activities like yoga and tai chi can also enhance balance and joint function.
  • Diet: A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help manage arthritis symptoms. Avoiding processed foods and sugary beverages can also reduce inflammation.

Medications

Several medications can help manage the pain and inflammation associated with knee arthritis.

  • Analgesics: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen can help manage mild to moderate pain.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, long-term use can lead to side effects, so using them under medical supervision is essential.
  • Topical Treatments: To relieve pain, creams, and gels containing NSAIDs or capsaicin can be applied directly to the skin over the knee.
  • Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can be injected directly into the knee joint to relieve pain and swelling quickly.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a critical component of knee arthritis treatment. A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program to improve the knee’s strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Therapy may include:

  • Strengthening Exercises: Focused on the muscles surrounding the knee to provide better joint support.
  • Stretching: To maintain or improve flexibility.
  • Balance Training: To enhance stability and prevent falls.
  • Manual Therapy: Techniques such as massage and mobilization to reduce pain and improve joint function.

Assistive Devices

Using assistive devices can help alleviate the strain on your knee joints and improve mobility.

  • Knee Braces: Provide support and stability to the knee, reducing pain during movement.
  • Orthotic Shoe Inserts: Help distribute weight more evenly and reduce stress on the knee.
  • Canes or Walkers: Assist with balance and reduce the load on the knee joint.

Advanced Treatments for Knee Arthritis

When knee arthritis becomes severe and non-surgical treatments are no longer effective, advanced treatments can provide much-needed relief and restore mobility. Here are the latest advancements in knee arthritis treatments:

Injections and Infusions

When medications and lifestyle changes are insufficient, injections and infusions can offer more targeted relief.

  • Hyaluronic Acid Injections: These injections lubricate the knee joint, mimicking the fluid that naturally surrounds your joints, and can reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP injections use a concentration of your own blood’s platelets to promote healing and reduce inflammation in the knee joint.
  • Stem Cell Therapy: This emerging treatment involves injecting stem cells into the knee to promote the regeneration of damaged tissue.

Surgical Options

In severe cases of knee arthritis, surgery may be necessary to restore function and relieve pain. Surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopy: A minimally invasive procedure where a surgeon inserts a small camera into the knee to remove or repair damaged tissue.
  • Osteotomy: This procedure involves cutting and reshaping bones to relieve pressure on the knee joint. It is often used for younger patients with early-stage arthritis.
  • Partial Knee Replacement: Also known as unicompartmental knee replacement, this surgery involves replacing only the damaged part of the knee, preserving as much of the natural joint as possible.
  • Total Knee Replacement: In this extensive procedure, the damaged knee joint is replaced with an artificial implant. This surgery is typically reserved for patients with severe arthritis who have not responded to other treatments.

When to See a Doctor

It’s essential to seek medical advice if you experience persistent knee pain, swelling, or stiffness that affects your daily activities. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent further joint damage. Consider seeing a doctor if:

  • The pain is severe or persistent.
  • You experience swelling that does not improve with rest or over-the-counter medications.
  • The knee becomes deformed or unstable.
  • You need help performing everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.
  • You notice a significant decrease in the range of motion.

Diagnosis of Arthritis in the Knee

Diagnosing arthritis in the knee involves a combination of a medical history review, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Here’s what to expect during the diagnostic process:

  • Medical History

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, including their start, severity, and any factors that worsen or relieve them. They will also inquire about your medical history, including previous knee injuries.

  • Physical Examination

During the physical examination, the doctor will check for swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the knee and assess your range of motion, strength, and stability.

  • Imaging Tests

Imaging tests can provide detailed pictures of the knee joint, helping to identify the type and extent of arthritis. Standard imaging tests include X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and ultrasound.

  • Laboratory Tests

Laboratory tests, such as blood tests and joint fluid analysis, can help identify the type of arthritis and rule out other conditions. 

Where Can I find a surgeon in Florida to evaluate my knee?

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis and are considering knee replacement in Spring Hill, contact Tarabishy Orthopedics. Why? Because we are a clinic that treats you respectfully and values honest patient-doctor relationships. 

There is a reason why we have been a leader in Spring Hill orthopedics. Dr. Tarabishy has been practicing for over 30 years and is a top specialist for knee arthroscopy. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, he is fully trained, certified, and equipped to perform robotic-assisted knee and hip replacement surgery.

Dr. Tarabishy is committed to patients and offers the highest quality treatment solutions in Brooksville, Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee, and the surrounding areas. He also provides hip replacement surgery, Mako Robotic Surgerytrigger finger release, and more!

Why Choose Tarabishy Orthopedics?

At Tarabishy Orthopedics, we specialize in diagnosing and treating knee arthritis. Our experienced orthopedic specialist is dedicated to providing personalized care to help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

What sets us apart?

  • Expertise: Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and specialists have extensive experience treating various types of arthritis.
  • Comprehensive Care: We offer a full range of services, from diagnosis and non-surgical treatments to advanced surgical procedures.
  • Patient-Centered Approach: We prioritize your needs and work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and goals.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Our modern facilities have the latest technology to ensure you receive the best care.
  • Holistic Treatment Options: Besides traditional treatments, we offer alternative therapies and lifestyle counseling to support your overall well-being.

Contact us today to learn more about our procedure or to schedule a consultation. You can also reach us by calling 352-596-8558.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.