Up to 20% of Americans 45 and older have knee arthritis, a chronic condition characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. If you regularly experience knee pain, it’s crucial to seek treatment since irreversible damage occurs over time and non-surgical treatments are most effective in the early stages. At Reflex Knee Specialists, the team of non-surgical knee specialists offers a variety of minimally invasive treatments to manage knee arthritis and slow its progression. To make an appointment, call the office in Portland, Oregon; Bellevue, Washington; or Tempe, Arizona, or book online today.
Knee arthritis is a painful condition that affects your knee joint’s health and range of motion. It is a leading cause of disability worldwide. There are many types of arthritis, but the three that most commonly affect the knees include:
Osteoarthritis is an imbalance of inflammatory proteins in the joint (synovial) fluid that causes r cartilage –– a soft tissue that helps pad your joints –– to slowly break down. Without treatment, the inflammation and damage to cartilage progressively worsen to a point of total joint failure characterized by dysfunctional biomechanics and disability. In its end stages, there is total cartilage loss in some areas resulting in your bones rubbing against each other (“bone on bone”) resulting in chronic pain and disability. A total knee replacement is often recommended for patients with end-stage osteoarthritis. For patients who are not surgical candidates or who want to avoid surgery, non-surgical treatments can be tried to see if the inflammation and pain levels improve.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that results when your immune system attacks and destroys the synovial membrane (a tissue that lines your joints). Over time, it causes painful inflammation, affecting your mobility and joint’s range of motion. It typically affects joints in the hands and feet, but can also involve the knee(s).
Post-traumatic arthritis is a sub-type of osteoarthritis that occurs several years after an accident or injury. For example, 50% of people who have an ACL injury will have bone or cartilage damage due to post-traumatic osteoarthritis 10 years following the injury. Similarly, a high percentage of patients with torn meniscus will also develop post-traumatic osteoarthritis within 10-15 years following the initial injury. Because the incidence is so high, the team at Reflex Knee Specialists recommends that anyone who has had a major knee injury such as an ACL tear or meniscus tear have the knee evaluated with diagnostic knee ultrasound since cartilage or bone damage can be detected years before it can be identified with MRI or Xray. What are the symptoms of knee arthritis?
The symptoms of knee arthritis include:
To diagnose knee arthritis, your Reflex Knee Specialists provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and performs a physical exam. During the exam, they assess your knee joint, looking for swelling, redness, or bruising.
Next, your provider will order a series of knee X-rays and perform a diagnostic ultrasound. These provide key information such as whether you have any bone spurs –– bumpy abnormalities that form on the ends of your bones – or cartilage damage. Additionally, ultrasound can reveal inflammation of the lining of the joint (synovitis) or an abnormal collection of fluid (joint effusion) indicative of high levels of inflammation inside the knee.
The team uses information from the comprehensive knee evaluation to develop a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and activity goals.
Treatment of knee arthritis depends on various factors, including your age, the type of arthritis you have, and the severity of your symptoms.
Your provider might recommend:
Don’t let knee arthritis keep you from an active lifestyle. To schedule a comprehensive knee evaluation at Reflex Knee Specialists and to explore your treatment options once a diagnosis is made, call the nearest office or book online today.