KNEE AND HIP ARTHRITIS TREATMENT
- Conservative Treatment (NSAIDs, Ice, Rest)
- Cortisone Injections
- Viscosupplementation Injections
- Physical Therapy or Home Exercise Program
- Arthroscopy Procedures
- Weight Loss
- Total Joint Replacement Surgery
Osteoarthritis is a chronic progressive condition that results from wear and tear on the cartilage between the joint spaces. This is commonly found in the fingers, back, knee and hip joints. Arthritis is an age-related condition that usually becomes most apparent in our fourth or fifth decade of life when symptoms develop. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is not due to wear and tear but an inflammatory reaction that occurs in the body is an autoimmune condition that may present differently than tradition arthritis.
Arthritis can cause an array of symptoms including swelling, pain, stiffness, deformity of the joint, and instability. Most people will not seek care until the condition has worsened to the point where it has started to affect quality of life. This can be unique to an individual but can be the inability to participate in activities such as walking, exercise, or simply having more days with pain than days without. Women are more likely to present with more advanced stages of arthritis, report significantly higher levels of pain and disability, and show arthritis progression in the patellofemoral joint more often than men.
Why women are more prone to develop arthritis of the knee is multifactorial. One reason for this is the laxity of the tendons that support the knee. Women are more likely to experience injuries in part due to the elasticity of their joints to accommodate childbirth. Estrogen acts as a protectant to inflammation for women. However, once a woman reaches menopause their hormone levels drop resulting in the development of arthritis equal to that of men.
That historic hourglass figure contributes to an increase in arthritis due to wider hips than men which leaves their knees more vulnerable to alignment challenges of the knees. This may result in leg alignment deformities, varus or valgus or bow-legged vs knock-knee. This change in the straightness of the legs can cause knee pain, pain walking, and back pain. Obesity rates for men and women in the United States are similar, however those extra pounds on a female frame are more likely to affect the knees due to the way fat is distributed on a female than a male. Women generally carry excess weight on their hips and thighs. This further exacerbates the hip span leading to more pressure and erosion of the cartilage.
Heredity also can predispose a woman to arthritis. Arthritis can run in families just like high blood pressure and diabetes but is more common amongst females than males. It is very likely that you and your mom both may have arthritis at a similar age and in the same joint.
What can be done for arthritis?
Arthritis in its earliest form can be treated conservatively with over the counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, activity modification, exercise, and weight loss. Losing just 10 pounds can take 40 pounds of pressure off the knees. Once these self-treatments are not able to provide relief if may be time to see your doctor. Diagnosis is made based on x-rays, symptoms, and physical examination. Treatment options include prescription anti-inflammatories, formal physical therapy, formal weight loss programs, cortisone injections, viscosupplementation injections for knee arthritis, and/or surgery.
Knee arthritis can be treated with cortisone injections and with Viscosupplementation injections. Cortisone injections consist of a numbing medication and an injectable steroid to help with inflammation and pain in the joint. Cortisone injections can provide relief for acute and chronic knee pain. Viscosupplementation injections or hyaluronic acid injections are given in a series of injections to help lubricate the joint. These injections can provide relief of early arthritis. Results will vary depending on the severity of your arthritis, the level of pain you are experiencing, and other pre-existing conditions. Cortisone and Viscosupplementation injections may require authorization from your insurance company. Cortisone injections can be given for hip arthritis, but usually require guidance under ultrasound.
Physical Therapy and/or Home Exercise Program
Physical therapy and home exercise programs can help build up the muscles and strengthen the knee and hip joints. A therapist can help you learn better body mechanics and strengthening exercises to help stabilize the knee joint. They can work on strengthening the quadriceps, hamstring, and glute muscles to increase comfort with walking. Home exercises are a great start to help treat knee and hip pain. Low impact exercises are the safest and most effective form of exercise in patients who suffer from arthritic pain.
Arthroscopy or a knee scope can benefit those that have a torn meniscus or ligaments but do not suffer from severe osteoarthritis. Many patients will find that they have some degree of meniscal pathology and osteoarthritis due to the wear and tear of their joints.
Other surgical options include partial or total knee replacement or arthroplasty which is performed to treat end-stage osteoarthritis when all other conservative treatment measures have been exhausted. End stage hip arthritis is best treated with a total hip replacement. A joint replacement will restore the functionality of the knee or hip, by straightening the leg, minimizing pain caused by the -rubbing of bone on bone arthritis, and provide stability back to the joint. Surgical techniques have improved since your mother’s joint replacement. Gone are the days of lengthily hospital stays, followed by weeks in inpatient rehabilitation centers and years of restrictions.
Today arthritis does not have to mean the end of your favorite activities. You can still get back to your previous activities with advances in treatment options.
WHY CHOOSE OROZCO ORTHOPAEDICS ?
Orozco Orthopaedics prides themselves on creating a personalized approach to patient care. Patients are treated with respect, compassion, and honesty. Our practice strives to deliver a unique experience for every patient and their family. We treat you like we would our own family, because you are our family.