What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a condition commonly referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis.
Although the degenerative process may accelerate in persons with a previous knee injury, many cases of osteoarthritis occur when the knee simply wears out. Some experts believe there may be a genetic predisposition in people who develop osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common cause for total knee replacement surgery.
The primary symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain in the knee, swelling and stiffening of the knee joint. In the early stages of osteoarthritis the pain may be mainly associated with activity. As the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint rub against each other, pain can become more severe and constant, interfering with regular daily activities and disrupting sleep.
In the early stages of osteoarthritis, treatment may involve several techniques. Behavioral and lifestyle changes including losing weight and changing routines to avoid painful situations can be very effective in relieving pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen sodium may also provide relief from pain. Cox-2 inhibitors are also effective in providing knee arthritis pain relief. Physical therapy may improve muscle strength and joint mobility, reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee. Joint fluid therapy may lubricate the knee and reduce the pain and swelling of the joint. Partial or total knee replacement surgery may be necessary as the disease progresses and daily functioning becomes more impaired.