Arthritis can affect any joint in your body, but the knees are the most likely place you will experience symptoms. As the disease progresses, performing everyday activities can become more difficult. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment while the condition is in its earliest stages. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis or suspect you have it, here is what you need to know:
What Are the Symptoms?
In the earliest stages of arthritis, you might not realize you have it because the symptoms seem to come and go. However, you should seek treatment if you experience the symptoms more than a few times. The longer you go without treatment, the more aggressive the symptoms will become.
One of the first symptoms you might notice is pain and inflammation. The symptoms are caused by the wearing down of the joint cartilage. As the disease progresses, you will likely experience grinding in your knees and limited range of motion. Even deformity can occur if nothing is done to slow the progress of the disease.
Arthritis in the knee can strike at any age. The type of arthritis you have has a bearing on when it develops. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. By contrast, osteoarthritis is typically a condition that develops after middle age.
What Are Your Treatment Options?
Your doctor will perform an examination and order diagnostic tests to confirm that you do have arthritis in your knee. During the examination, the doctor will pay close attention to how your knee responds in certain situations, such as when weight is placed on it. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan will be developed.
If the condition is in the earliest stages, making changes to your lifestyle can help. For instance, eating healthier, exercising, and losing weight can help with reducing the wear and tear on your knees. The reduction also helps to slow the progress of the condition and works to preserve your range of motion.
Knee surgery might be possible if the disease has significantly progressed. There are several types of surgery available, including a total replacement of the damaged cartilage and bone. Even the joint in the knee will be replaced.
The surgery can help to restore functionality to your knees and alleviate the symptoms that you are experiencing. The recovery period will likely involve physical therapy and you might have to use a knee brace until you are fully healed. However, once the recovery period is over, you will be able to get back to your usual routine.