The knee is a complex joint that plays a crucial role in supporting the body's weight and facilitating leg extension and flexion. It acts as a connection between the femur, tibia, and patella. When arthosis affects the knee, or rather both knees (as it often affects both rather than just one), it is referred to as knee arthosis or gonarthrosis. Chronic inflammation leads to cartilage wear and eventual disappearance over time, resulting in friction between the bony surfaces of the femur and tibia.
Unlike other forms of arthrosis that predominantly affect females, knee arthrosis is different. Both men and women are equally susceptible to it. This is due to the significant role that lifestyle and medical history play in its development.
Causes of Knee Arthrosis
Naturally, as with all forms of arthrosis, age and familial predisposition are important and indispensable factors in the development of the condition. However, there are other causes to consider as well. In many cases, knee arthrosis,can be post-traumatic in origin, resulting from an old injury that has altered the joint surface, or a past work-related injury—common in professions involving heavy lifting and moving—or sports-related injury, such as soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.
Another crucial factor that is often overlooked is body weight. Excess weight places significant stress on joints, especially the lower extremities. With excess weight, the joints are more prone to wear and tear and are more likely to deteriorate.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis: When the Knee "Creaks"
Knee arthrosis, typically causes a dull, localized pain that worsens with excessive movement and physical activity but subsides with rest. Other significant indicators include stiffness and reduced joint mobility, making everyday activities such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair challenging. Additionally, swelling and a "creaking" sound during knee movement might occur. When these symptoms are present, it's advisable to consult a specialist orthopaedic doctor experienced in treating knee joints. During the examination, along with evaluating symptoms and medical history, movement analysis is crucial, posture, muscle structure, and other joints in the lower limb, including ankles and hips. X-rays or, at most, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can complete the assessment and stage the condition, leading to the identification of the most suitable therapy.
Treating Knee arthrosis: Beyond and Before Joint Replacement
In Italy, more than 40,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year. Modern prosthetics are increasingly sophisticated and technologically advanced, becoming more effective and durable with continuous advancements. If joint conditions are severely compromised, knee replacement should be considered. However, the procedure, although less invasive than in the past, is still a significant surgical process. Other non-surgical options should be explored before considering it.
For instance, as previously mentioned, excess weight is often underestimated. Even a weight reduction of 10-20% of initial body weight results in a marked improvement in knee pain symptoms. Combined with exercise and dietary adjustments, long-term benefits can be achieved.
Injections: Types and Timing
To rapidly address acute pain, joint injections can be useful. They help reduce inflammation, alleviate swelling and pain, and prevent further joint compromise. Precision is essential in administering the injection at the right location. This becomes challenging as joint damage increases, reducing the joint space. Radioguided injections are recommended in these cases, guided by a radiographic device, allowing the doctor to monitor the entire procedure on a screen for maximum precision. For these injections, medications are used alongside a lubricating substance like hyaluronic acid, providing pain relief for a few months. During this time, maintaining focus on nutrition and physical activity is crucial to prevent inflammation from returning.
Injections with mesenchymal stem cells can be recommended to prevent joint degeneration. These undifferentiated cells, capable of becoming any type of tissue, are extracted from the patient's adipose tissue through liposuction (typically from the abdomen). They are then injected into the arthritic joint using a thin needle-like instrument. For knee injections, three entry points are used—medial, lateral, and beneath the patella. The injected cells have potent anti-inflammatory properties and promote tissue, cartilage surface, and underlying bone reconstruction.
Nutrition and Supplements
Weight excess can negatively impact joint health. In this context, nutrition plays an essential role. Weight loss helps reduce joint stress, and eliminating "joint-damaging" foods can decrease the inflammatory process leading to cartilage erosion. Supplements and herbal treatments play a fundamental role in combating chronic inflammatory diseases. Algosfree supplements are designed for individuals with arthrosis,s. They contain components that restore joint functionality (Artrho Wil), counter pain and joint stiffness (Arthro Bos), and detoxify the body (Arthro Mac). For pain relief, the Arthro Cap cream, suitable for the knee joint due to its proximity to the skin's surface, can be very effective.
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