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What is kneearthritis?

Arthritis is a term for a degenerative disorder ofthe joints. It is characterized by deterioration of the cartilage in thejoint. As cartilage is allowed for minimizing of friction andsmoothness of movement within the joint, arthritis causesinflammation and swelling of joints, as well as painful and difficultor impossible movement of joints. There are several types ofarthritis. One of them, osteoarthritis, is the common form ofarthritis that affects knee joints. Other causes of knee arthritisinclude disorders such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumaticarthritis, or infection. Risk factors for knee arthritis include age(people above 50 years are more likely to suffer from it), excessweight, injuries of the knee, trauma or ligament damage in the kneeregion, deposition of uric acid crystals (in gout) and abnormalstructure of the body which causes abnormal load and movement of theknee joint.

Knee arthritis is preferably treated conservatively,that is, surgery is avoided if possible. Some sufferers from kneearthritis fail to see improvement from conservative treatment. Insuch cases, knee surgery becomes the recommended option for reliefof the symptoms of arthritis.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Symptoms of knee arthritis include pain in the kneeduring physical activity, swelling and tenderness of the joints,stiffness of the knee, cracking noise when the knee is flexed andlimited range of motion, meaning that the knee cannot be bent all theway. diagnose is based on physical examination and results of X-rayand MRI scan tests.

Conservative treatment

Nonsurgical methods of treatment for knee arthritisinclude use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and musclerelaxants, wearing of knee support braces, physical therapy, andapplication of heat and cold. Losing excess weight and maintaining anormal body weight is important in both prevention of and recoveryfrom knee arthritis.

Surgery for treatment of knee arthritis

Surgical procedures are aimed at relieving of thepain in the knee joints and reduction of joint stiffness, as well asimprovement in the range of motion and visual appearance of thedeformed joints. Commonly used methods include arthroscopy, which isused to determine the type of arthritis and the amount of damage thatoccurred in the joint. this type of procedure helps in cases of mildor moderate knee arthritis, but the benefit is usually temporary andsymptoms frequently reappear. Synovectomy includes removal ofdiseased synovium (soft tissue that serves as lining of the jointlining). Its results can also be temporary.

Osteotomy is used tocorrect leg deformities that developed from knee arthritis. It isdone by cutting and repositioning the bone, which improves thealignment of the leg. Arthroplasty is used to rebuild the joints. Apart or entire arthritic joint is removed and the removed part isreplaced with ceramic, plastic or metal parts. This procedure servesto restore knee joint activity. Most cases of knee osteoarthritisneed to be resolved with total knee replacement. The ends of damagedlower leg bones and thighbones and the kneecap are replaced withartificial implants. Implants typically last for 10-15 years.

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