Knee arthrosis or gonarthrosis mainly affects women, usually after the age of forty. At an earlier age, it can develop as a result of such a pathological injury or professional sports. A particularly severe course of the disease is observed in overweight or people suffering from varicose veins of the lower extremities.
The onset of the disease is characterized by moderate pain in the knee during movement, especially when walking on stairs. In addition, pain can occur if a person stands for a very long time or gets up after sitting for a long time. At rest, the pain usually decreases. Acute and intense pain in osteoarthritis of the knee joint does not occur spontaneously, it is usually felt discomfort for a long time during walking, physical activity. One of the main symptoms of gonarthrosis is a gradually increasing pain.
Stages of the disease
In the early stages of gonarthrosis, the bones in the knee do not change shape, only swelling can occur in the joint, which is generally associated with fluid accumulation in the knee. If the amount exceeds the allowable level, edema develops, which affects the back of the foot. In this case, the swelling can be eliminated with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The next stage of osteoarthritis of the knee is characterized by a significant increase in pain intensity. The pain is felt even after a light load, a crisis occurs in the knee joint, and it intensifies if the disease develops. The patient bends his leg with difficulty, there is severe pain in the knee to the point of complete impossibility of bending. Also, in the second stage of the disease, the joint begins to change shape and is very noticeable on palpation - the expansion and fusion of articular bones is felt. Synovitis manifests itself more strongly at this stage - swelling occurs as a result of fluid accumulation.
The third stage of the disease is characterized by the appearance of severe pain, which also occurs at rest. The patient is looking for a suitable position where the pain will be weaker for a long time. Harmful circulatory pain can disturb such a person during sleep, and this creates a painful sensation in the joint. The mobility of the seam is minimized, the person is often unable to keep his foot in a straight position and is forced to bend while walking. Walking with a significant deformation of the bones, a change in the shape of the lower extremities is noticeable.
How to recognize osteoarthritis of the knee joint?
The patient is first sent for a blood test, followed by X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography.
In some cases, ultrasound or arthroscopy (examination of the joint with a special device with a small incision) may be prescribed.
X-ray examination reveals the stage of the disease, the picture shows changes in the joints and bones, as well as the distance between the bones. In the early stages of the disease, changes in cartilage tissue are not visible on X-rays.
Ultrasound and computed tomography allow the detection of abnormalities in soft joint tissues and determine the amount of fluid accumulated during the development of synovitis.
How is knee osteoarthritis treated?
Knee arthrosis is treated by specialists such as rheumatologists or orthopedists. In the early stages, the disease is often treated without surgery, but treatment must be comprehensive and qualified. In the second and third stages, it is not possible to return the joint to its previous shape without surgery, but only to improve the condition of the periarticular tissues.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used to reduce inflammation and pain in osteoarthritis of the knee joint. After reducing the pain syndrome, the patient can be prescribed massage, therapeutic exercises, physiotherapy procedures.
For the treatment of gonarthrosis, drugs belonging to the group of chondroprotectors and providing regeneration of cartilage tissue are also used. Such drugs help to ensure the elasticity of cartilage and the saturation of tissue with moisture. In the first and second stages, chondroprotectors have a gradual effect, the treatment is quite long and can last even a year or a year and a half. Taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate together has a greater effect. In the third stage, such drugs can no longer have a positive effect.
Good effect in the treatment of osteoarthritis has drugs that serve to dilate blood vessels. They are able to improve blood circulation in the joints and relieve spasms in small blood vessels, which helps to restore the affected joint. It is recommended to combine such drugs with the use of chondroprotectors. To relieve painful muscle spasms, the patient may be prescribed muscle relaxants. Such drugs are used only in combination with chondroprotectors and joint traction. Dimexide compress also has a positive effect in the treatment of osteoarthritis, which reduces inflammation and reduces pain, especially when fluid accumulates. To prepare such a compress, you need to mix a tablespoon of boiled water with a tablespoon of Dimexide. Then moisten a medical bandage in the resulting solution, then place it on the affected joint and cover it with a plastic bag and diaper. The duration of the procedure is twenty to sixty minutes, once a day, for two to three weeks.
All medications are prescribed by a doctor unless contraindicated. Osteoarthritis of the knee joint requires medication and physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.