Knee arthritis is a painful condition which affects a person’s ability to undertake normal day-to-day activities in comfort.
It affects 45% of all people during their lifetime, with women more commonly affected than men and is most frequently seen beyond the age of 40.
Arthritis is normally diagnosed following a detailed discussion and examination and is often confirmed using an x-ray or MRI. Knee arthritis is characterised by loss of cartilage within the knee joint resulting in swelling, pain, stiffness and restriction of movement.
Patients often complain of pain and stiffness after inactivity, for example after sleeping or sitting and then going to stand up. This stiffness tends to warm up with activity.
Osteoarthritis is initially treated with exercise advice, and by modifying activity, i.e. exercising within the limits of pain. Physiotherapy can be helpful in optimising range of movement and strength around the knee in order to take the stress off the knee joint. It is also important to optimise balance and control of the knee with exercise.
There is also a potential role for supplements in knee arthritis. Current evidence shows that green-lipped mussel extract and type two undenatured collagen can improve pain associated with arthritis for up to 6 months. Other supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used although the evidence for this is less clear.
If an individual is overweight then weight loss can be helpful in reducing the stress on the joint and can help to improve pain and function.
If pain persists despite these measures then we can consider injection options.
At The Joint Injection Clinic we offer the following –
- Steroid and local anaesthetic which can be useful to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. The injections can last for six months and occasionally longer.
- Hyaluronic acid which acts like the synovial fluid which normally lubricates the knee joint. This can be particularly useful for kneecap-related arthritic pain.
- Arthrosamid is a modern injection option. It is a non-degradable hydrogel which coats the lining of the joint and can offer longer duration pain relief, possibly for two to three years.
If these injection options fail then we work closely with knee surgeons, who can offer both arthroscopic (key hole) surgical options or a partial or total knee replacement for intractable arthritis, as required.