Knee osteoarthritis is the most common type of osteoarthritis and commonly affects people who are over 45 years of age but it can also affect people of all ages. The knee bones are usually coated with a smooth articular cartilage. When knee osteoarthritis develops, the cartilage usually undergoes various changes such as hardening, cracking and losing its elasticity. They also get damaged or wear off easily when used or by injury. If your cartilages get roughened, it becomes very difficult for your bones to move smoothly. In some instance, the end of the bone may thicken causing bone spurs. Small bits of cartilage may also break off and float around the knee. Thanks to the advances in medical technology in Singapore, it is now easy to treat knee osteoarthritis. In this article we are going to focus on knee osteoarthritis treatment in Singapore but before that, lets first look at its symptoms.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis
Although cartilage deterioration is usually gradual and there may not be symptoms at early stages, there are some symptoms that can help you detect if you are suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Some of these symptoms include:
- Knee pain
- Stiffness on the knee especially in the morning
- Swelling of the knee as a result of excess accumulation of fluid on the knee joints.
- Inflammation caused by cartilage break off
- In some advance cases, there may be deformity of the joints.
Factors that increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis
- Genetic susceptibility
- Lack of exercise
- Injury to the knee
- Skewed feet
- Chronic overuse of the knee such as repetitive squatting or heavy lifting.
- Muscle weakness.
Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis
- Knee Exercises
One of the recommended treatment for knee osteoarthritis is knee exercises. Knee exercises are not only recommended for treating this condition but also when it comes to preventing it. You have to have strong leg muscles to help absorb shock before it finds its way to the knees. In addition to that, when you do squat muscles, you increase blood circulation around the knee joint thus helping to stimulate biochemical changes of knee joint fluids and improve its lubricating properties. Exercising regularly also helps to improve range of knee motions thus making them more flexible. However, it is very important to note that exercises can only be beneficial in treating early stages of knee osteoarthritis. It is not advisable to do certain exercises for chronic cases of osteoarthritis such as misaligned knees as it can actually make things worse. Patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis are therefore advised to consult their doctor to determine if knee exercises will be beneficial.
- Heat and Cold
Scientific studies have shown that applying heat on knee joints can also help to reduce pain and stiffness by improving the flow of blood. Heat is also a comforting distortion of the pain. However, patients are cautioned from applying heat in an inflamed joint because it make the situation worse. Apply heat at an interval of 20-30 minutes and take a break of at least an hour between each application to prevent damaging the tissues. Do not apply heat directly; instead soak a towel in warm water. When using cold, apply ice warped in a towel to an inflamed joint for about 20 minutes. Ensure that you don’t take more than 20 minutes to prevent frostbite.
Hydrotherapy refers to the use of water in form of ice or steam for therapeutic purposes. It actually involves soaking in saunas, whirlpool and hot or cold compressors. This form of treatment is particularly beneficial when it comes to getting rid of inflammation on the knee joint.
Recent studies have revealed that acupuncture treatment can help reduce knee joint pain and improves its function.
- Weight loss
Obesity is one of the main causes of knee osteoarthritis. Losing weight can therefore help to reduce the symptoms and also make treatment easy.
Joint surgery can repair or replace joints that are severely damaged. The doctor will conduct surgery depending on the severity of damage.
- Use of assistive devices
Assistive devices such as scoters, walkers and cranes can really help to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain an also aid in treatment and recovery. However before using these devices, patients are advised to first consult their doctors to advice and recommendations.