Knee Osteoarthritis – Treatment of Disease

Knee Osteoarthritis: Progression of disease

Knee Osteoarthritis
In a normal knee joint a smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of the bones. 

The purpose of the cartilage is to cushion and protect the bones and prevent them from rubbing against each other.

Between the two bones there is a space which holds a fluid called synovial fluid.

The role of the synovial fluid is to lubricate the joint and protect the joint by acting as a natural shock absorber.

In the early stages of Knee Osteoarthritis the surface of the cartilage begins to show tiny cracks and little pits may begin to show. As time goes by larger sections of the cartilage may begin to wear down and loose some of its flexibility. If the cartilage is in poor condition it will be more easily damaged by wear and tear and injury.

At the edges of the bones small bone spurs may begin to form while at the same time the quality and the quantity of the synovial fluid begins to diminish, thereby loosing its ability to cushion and protect the joint. Eventually parts of the cartilage may be completely worn away leaving the ends of the bones unprotected. Naturally the bones rub painfully against each other. As well as bone rubbing on bone tiny pieces of cartilage and bone may float in the synovial fluid causing further damage and pain.

Osteoarthritis of the knee can be managed especially if it is diagnosed in the early stages. Talk to your doctor if you have pain, or stiffness in the knee and seek medical advice to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

How is knee osteoarthritis generally treated?

There are numerous ways to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, depending on the severity of the disease when your doctor first diagnoses it. Treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter medications for pain
  • Topical pain medications
  • Prescription medications for pain
  • Assistive devices such as canes or braces
  • Heat or cold application
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone (steroid) injections
  • Hyaluronan injections (hyaluronan, also called hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate, is a natural substance found in a healthy knee joint)
  • Total knee-replacement surgery or partial knee-replacement surgery

Only your doctor can tell if you have the disease. Together, you and your doctor can choose the treatments that are best for you.

Back to What is Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee?

This page was last modified:
Saturday, June 15, 2024
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