As we progress through life, it becomes clear that many of us will develop health problems when we get older. It doesn’t matter how healthy or active we are in our lives. The sad truth is that you can guarantee something will develop in your body at some stage.
I know that’s a rather sombre way to start a blog post. Healthy and fitness experts often share ways of how to lower the chances of developing something “bad” when we get older.
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One of those bad things that can happen to many of us is osteoarthritis of the knee. In this guide, you will learn more about knee osteoarthritis and what you can do to prevent it from attacking you in the future.
What is knee osteoarthritis?
You might have heard about this medical condition before, but don’t know enough on the subject. Osteoarthritis of the knee is a medical condition that affects the joints of the knee. It causes them to become stiff and painful.
Osteoarthritis is the leading chronic disability for many people around the world. It affects millions of people on a daily basis. Knee osteoarthritis is a common branch of this condition.
When this condition strikes, it causes the cartilage at the end of the femur and tibia bones to become rough and thin. Underneath it, the bone starts to thicken and grow outwards. In some cases, a fluid buildup can cause your knee to swell up.
At the same time, your skin tissue becomes thicker than normal. It does this because it thinks your bones are repairing themselves. In a few cases, your body can heal your bones. But in others, the damage is irreversible.
Our knees have to deal with a lot of weight from our bodies. The stress can make knee osteoarthritis unbearable and quite painful for sufferers.
What are the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis?
There are a few telltale signs that you may have knee osteoarthritis. The most-common symptoms of the condition are as follows:
- Pain. It can become more intense if you move your knee a lot, or at the end of the day;
- Stiffness. You can feel your knee getting stiff after you’ve rested for a while. But the stiffness may subside as you move your knee again;
- Creaking. Your knee might creak or crunch when you move it, and you might also feel a grinding sensation;
- Muscle wastage. You might find that your knee cannot support your weight because your muscles are weak.
Some other telltale signs include knee pain that wakes you up at night, and having a knee that isn’t as flexible as it once was. Your knee might also look bent or bowed, and have hard or soft swelling visible.
What increases your chances of getting knee osteoarthritis?
There are some factors that can increase the chances of developing knee osteoarthritis. They are as follows:
- You are 40 years of age or older. Research has shown that people develop it as they get older. That is because your body isn’t as good at self-healing as it used to be. In some cases, it might also be because your muscles are weak;
- You are a woman. It’s no secret that women are more at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis than men;
- You are overweight. If you are obese, you are putting extra strain on your knee joints;
- Other family members have had it. There is a higher risk of developing knee osteoarthritis if a close family member has a history of osteoarthritis.
It might not surprise you to learn that many footballers develop knee osteoarthritis. A lot of footballers sustain knee injuries during matches. Even if you don’t play football, if have a demanding job, you are still at a high risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.
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What is the prognosis for knee osteoarthritis?
The thing about knee osteoarthritis is that it affects different people in different ways. No-one can predict how it will affect a specific individual. For some people, it can develop over a short period of just one or two years. For others, the process is slow and gradual.
In a few people, the symptoms might peak and not get any worse as time goes in. Some medical experts liken knee osteoarthritis to betting or playing the lottery. You just don’t know what the outcome will be!
If it’s any consolation, knee osteoarthritis will not spread to other parts of your body. If you have knee osteoarthritis, there are plenty of things you can do to cope. And if you’re worried about getting it, there are a similar amount of things you can do to lower your risk.
Coping with knee osteoarthritis
Has your doctor diagnosed you as having osteoarthritis of the knee? If so, there are some things that you can do to make your life more comfortable.
First, ensure that your weight is at a healthy level. The following section on prevention will give you some tips on how you can lose weight. Next, ask your doctor about what anti-inflammatories you can take to lower the pain.
There are some non-prescription medicines you can take. The best example is diclofenac, also known as “Voltarol” in the UK. Your doctor may also prescribe you stronger medicine to help take the edge off the pain.
Some people also find that acupuncture helps with knee osteoarthritis.
Preventing knee osteoarthritis
They always say that prevention is better than the cure. If you don’t have knee osteoarthritis, here are some things you can do to lower the chances of developing it:
- Lose weight. A calorie-controlled diet and maintaining a healthy weight removes stress from your knees;
- Eat well. Get rid of junk food from your diet and eat more fruits and vegetables as part of your diet regime;
- Exercise. Even just going for a walk every other day is enough exercise to help prevent knee osteoarthritis.
I hope this guide was useful for you today. Thanks for reading it and see you again soon!