Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint condition and is the most common form of arthritis. Chronic pain like that felt with OA of the knee can make it difficult to do daily activities like cleaning, dressing, or taking care of your family. However, there are ways to move past the pain from OA of the knee with lifestyle changes and working with your doctor to find the proper treatment.
Physical Therapy and Weight Loss
During the early stages of OA, individuals can often reduce pain by modifying activities with continued lower impact aerobics and strengthening exercises. Physical therapy, muscle strengthening, and weight loss can also slow the progression of OA. In addition to helping control weight, specific exercises can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength and reduce joint pain. These include:
- Water aerobics
- Stationary bike
Medication, Surgery, and Other Procedures
Managing pesky knee pain almost always starts with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Opioid pain medications may also be prescribed for stronger relief. With OA, the cartilage wears away over time, decreasing the space and cushion between the bones in the joint. There are injections and surgical treatments that can help increase the cushion and decrease the pain, such as:
- Corticosteroid– Reduces inflammation.
- Viscosupplementation– This involves injecting substances into the joint to improve the quality of the joint fluid like hyaluronic acid.
- Less Invasive Surgical treatments:
- Arthroscopic surgery removes damaged cartilage and loose particles. Then the surgeon cleans the bone surface and repairs other tissue types if those damages are present.
- Osteotomy is a procedure that helps make the knee alignment better by changing the shape of the bones and shifting your body weight away from the damaged part of the joint.
For more advanced cases of OA, joint replacement surgery offers long-term relief by replacing all or part of the knee joint. Other alternative pain management therapies are being looked into that involve stem cells, platelet-rich plasma injections, magnetic pulse therapy, and non-opioid medications. Though many of these are still being investigated in clinical trials, more volunteers are needed to bring these options closer to the patients who need them most.
Charlottesville Medical Research is looking for individuals with OA of the knee to join enrolling studies looking into potential new options. Call us today for details at (434) 817-2442 or go to our website.