Learn More About Knee & Hip Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease that causes pain, stiffness, and loss of movement in the joints. While there are over 100 types of arthritis, one of the most common is osteoarthritis. This condition affects approximately 27 million adults in the US. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, treatment can provide relief and can help you prevent osteoarthritis from progressing.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. This type of arthritis results in the breakdown of cartilage. The most common cause of OA is aging. According to experts, nearly all people over the age of 60 experience some degree of osteoarthritis.

How does it affect the knee and hip?

The knees and hips are among the joints most likely to be affected by osteoarthritis. Because of the stress that these joints bear, they can break down over time due to stress and age. Damage to the joints here is common in people whose jobs include standing for long periods or repeated bending of or pressure on the knees.

Arthritis Symptoms

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain and soreness, especially after movement. If you feel stiff and painful the day after a long walk, for instance, osteoarthritis may be to blame. Pain after overuse is also common. People with osteoarthritis may feel pain after long periods of inactivity.

Bony enlargements may appear at the middle and end joints of the fingers. These may or may not be painful.

Stiffness and a reduced range of motion are also common symptoms of arthritis.

Causes of Arthritis

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. These can include:

  • Aging. Most people over the age of 60 have some degree of osteoarthritis in one or more joints.
  • Excess weight. People who are overweight or obese have more stress on their joints, leading to a higher likelihood of developing arthritis.
  • A family history of arthritis. There is evidence that osteoarthritis has a hereditary component. People whose family members have developed painful arthritis are more likely to develop it themselves. In some people, an inherited defect in a gene related to making cartilage will result in defective cartilage that breaks down more quickly.
  • Repetitive stress. People who have jobs that involve standing for long periods of time may develop osteoarthritis in their hips and knees. Additionally, people who have to bend their knees repeatedly at work are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis in their knees.
  • Severe back injuries. People who have suffered back injuries are at a higher risk of osteoarthritis later in life.
  • Participation in certain sports. Sports that involve impact on the joints, especially the knees, can contribute to wear on the joints and resulting osteoarthritis.

How Arthritis Is Diagnosed

Your doctor will diagnose OA based on a physical exam and a medical history. OA is diagnosed based on factors that include:

  • The location and pattern of pain.
  • A description of your symptoms.
  • Findings of your physical exam.

In some cases, a blood test may be ordered to rule out other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. X-rays may also be performed to confirm osteoarthritis. If there is fluid accumulated in your joints, your doctor may remove it to examine it under a microscope and rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options for Arthritis

Treatment of osteoarthritis focuses on decreasing pain, improving joint movement, and preventing further degradation of the joints. The following treatments can be used:

  • Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatories or pain relievers. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. If OTC medications are not effective, prescription medications like Meloxicam and others may be recommended.
  • Topical treatments. Medications that come in the form of creams, sprays or rubs can be applied to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Weight loss and control. Losing weight can ease the stress on joints, leading to a reduction in pain.
  • Exercise. Low-impact physical activity can improve joint movement and strengthen the muscles around the joint. Recommended exercises include walking and swimming.
  • Hot and cold therapy. Hot showers and baths, hot compresses and ice packs can all provide temporary relief to pain and inflammation.
  • Cymbalta. This antidepressant has been shown to fight pain, including the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Injections. These injections are administered to relieve pain.
  • Steroid injections. Administered at the joint affected by arthritis, these injections can increase the range of movement, reduce inflammation and reduce pain. These injections must be used sparingly, as giving them too frequently can cause joint damage.
  • Surgery. This may be an option when other pain relief treatments have failed. Surgical intervention can help remove damaged tissue to reduce pain.

Request a Consultation

Do you have symptoms that resemble those of arthritis? We can find a diagnosis to identify what is causing your pain. Our trained staff is dedicated to pain treatment to reduce pain, increase your ability to move and help you get back to your life. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can start feeling like yourself again. Get in touch today for a consultation.