Although there are several forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the form that most often affects the knees. OA causes the degeneration of the cartilage in the knee joint due to bony growths are known as osteophytes. When this cartilage is damaged, the result is the common symptoms associated with knee arthritis in New Orleans such as pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint.
OA of the knee is a progressive condition and can become more severe over time. In most cases, patients only realize that they have this condition when they begin to experience pain or stiffness.
Below are the 4 stages of OA as well as ways to treat this condition in its various stages.
Stage I: Minor. During this first phase of knee arthritis in New Orleans, there are minimal signs of osteoarthritis other than small growths of bone on the knee joint. These formations are often too small to appear on an X-Ray and will cause little to no discomfort in the knee. If there is any discomfort, over-the-counter medication and rest are often all that is needed to resolve it.
Stage 2: Mild. This is the phase in which most patients realize that there may be an underlying issue in the knee and may begin to feel sporadic pain or stiffness. During this phase, the growths are larger and are visible via X-Ray when the cartilage begins to thin. Also, the tissue within the knee joint begins to harden and as a result, the bones of the knee begin to thicken.
Physical therapy is the most effective form of treatment in this phase – it is used to strengthen and stabilize the knee joints as well as the quadriceps muscles in an effort to reduce pain. Bracing may also be recommended in conjunction with minor activity modification.
Stage 3: Moderate. During this third phase of knee arthritis in New Orleans, it is important to consult a specialist. As the condition has progressed, the cartilage between the bones of the knee has been significantly reduced and the bones have become substantially thickened. The tissue within the joint will typically become painful and inflamed, causing persistent discomfort when running, kneeling, bending or standing for an extended period of time and swelling in the knee is common.
Depending on which area of the knee is damaged, several injection therapy options exist. Many of these injections will utilize anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling.
Stage 4: Severe. This is the most severe phase of knee arthritis in New Orleans and is characterized by constant pain, swelling, and stiffness. X-rays will reveal that the bones of the knee have begun to rub together because there is little to no cartilage remaining between the bones. Also, the naturally-occurring lubricating fluid in the knee is no longer present in the knee.
At this point, the most beneficial option for a patient to consider is a joint replacement procedure. Depending upon where arthritis is most present and the severity of the damage to the joint, either a partial knee replacement or total knee replacement will be recommended.
If you are experiencing discomfort in one or both of your knees – and want to rule out knee arthritis in New Orleans – call our office today to schedule a consultation. We’ll do a complete examination and discuss your treatment options.