Definition of Arthritis
Arthritis is a certain type of medical condition which is characterized by inflammatory conditions in the joints or any areas of the body where two bones are joined together. This may occur in any joint in the human body and it can severely reduce one’s mobility, because the joints make the body parts moveable. There are various different types of arthritis such as wear and tear of cartilage which occurs in cases of osteoarthritis or inflammatory types such as rheumatoid arthritis which is known for being associated with an overactive immune system. The joint which is most commonly affected by arthritis is the knee. This joint may be affected by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are more than 50 million adults in the United States who suffer from fibromyalgia, lupus, gout, rheumatoid arthritis or any other form of arthritis. Every fifth citizen of the United States is diagnosed with arthritis. The shocking fact is that there are more than 300,000 children under 18 years old in the United States who suffer from some sort of arthritis or other rheumatoid conditions. There are more than 27 million adults suffering from osteoarthritis and over 1.5 million adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. There also more than 3 million gout-affected adult American citizens and 5 million more suffering from fibromyalgia. Arthritis affects individuals from all different age groups, but the general rule is that it affects older persons much more than it affects adults and children. It is an interesting fact that arthritis affects women much more than it affects men. As far as ethnic groups are concerned, arthritis affects African Americans the most. It is also a well known fact that arthritis tends to affect those who are overweight or obese much more than those who are not.
Rheumatoid Knee Arthritis and Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most commonly occurring type of arthritis and it is actually a joint disease which is characterized by wearing away of the cartilage and the development of cushion layers between the affected bones. In some cases it is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. The symptoms of this medical condition tend to develop rather slowly and in most cases they include grating sensations which can even be heard when the joint is used, loss of flexibility, stiffness when walking, stiffness when standing, tenderness in the knee and painful sensations. When the cartilage slowly gets deteriorated, it eventually leads to the development of osteoarthritis. The absence of cartilage leads to deformity, loss of mobility and the rubbing of the bones. Other common type of arthritis known for affecting the knees is the one called rheumatoid arthritis. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder which is known for affect smaller joints in the human body. As the time progresses the condition only gets worse, and unfortunately it cannot be cured. It affects the linings of the joints and makes them become swollen so it all leads to serious damage and deformities of the body. Once it affects the aforementioned smaller joints inside the body, it commonly progresses into bigger joints such as the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue, puffy hands, red hands, swelling and joint pain. There is also one more common type of arthritis and it is called post traumatic arthritis. It occurs after injuries to the knee such as meniscus tears, ligament injuries and fractures. All painful sensations associated with arthritis may occur suddenly or gradually, depending on the individual case. Stiffness and swelling which are present in most cases of arthritis make it very difficult to fully strengthen or bend the affected knee. Activities such as kneeling, stair climbing and walking tend to worsen the condition in most cases. Changes in the weather may also sometimes be held responsible for the changes in severity of the painful sensations.
Causes and Treatment
In order to diagnose the condition the doctor needs to perform a physical examination which focuses on joint tenderness, joint swelling, the range of the motion and several other parameters. Some cases may also involve x-ray scanning, magnetic resonance scanning and certain blood tests. The exact cause of arthritis is commonly a combination of different factors such as aging, stress, joint injuries, heredity, obesity, muscle weakness and several others. The wearing down of cartilage and repetitive stress are among the most common risk factors when it comes to the development of arthritis. There are numerous different types of treatment methods for those who suffer from arthritis. One needs to avoid all aggravating activities and ice the affected knee for up to 30 minutes each day. Various types of over the counter anti inflammatory medicaments, physical therapy and utilization of acetaminophen may also be of great help in alleviating the symptoms of this dreadful condition. Other treatment options include patches, topical creams, exercises, supportive devices, oral steroids, arthroscopy, athroplasty and osteotomy.