Arthritis is a disease which causes pain and damage to the body's joints. Any joint can be affected, and all will cause different quality of life issues. One of the problems that affects many sufferers is arthritis knee pain. There are different causes for this pain depending on the type of arthritis that you have.
The knee is made up of three bones. It is located where the bottom of the femur and the top of the tibia meet. It is protected in the front by a bone known as the patella, or kneecap. There are a number of tendons and ligaments which hold the bones in the proper alignment and allow the bones to hinge properly. There is also cartilage which is located on the bones and under the kneecap that cushions the joint and prevents damage to the leg bones. A tissue pad called the meniscus also helps cushion the joint.
In osteoarthritis, knee pain is a result of the break down in cartilage. The ends of the bones become rough and jagged in later stages of the disease, and knee damage and pain can result. Osteoarthritis is normally a disease which affects older people but younger people who have injured their joints may also experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the joints and can destroy cartilage. There is inflammation, heat and swelling in addition to joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age, which makes it different than osteoarthritis.
There are a few different ways that you can treat knee pain that comes from arthritis. There are anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers and supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin that are designed to support and repair cartilage. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, there are oral medications which are designed to modify the way the disease is affecting you. They include methotrexate. Gold therapy is also used although this is much less common now that safer drug alternatives have been discovered.
If you are suffering from pain in your knees, you should check with your doctor to make sure that there are no untreated injuries. This can include torn cartilage, damaged ligaments, or even a dislocated kneecap. Surgery can correct these. If your joints are severely damaged by arthritis, you may need to have the joint surgically replaced.
Other non medical means of treatment can include heat wraps and arthritis creams. These can soothe sore joints and provide some relief. Remember that you should never heat a joint that has been affected by rheumatoid arthritis. You want to calm the heat that is in the joint, not add to it. You also want to make sure you are continuing to use the joint since letting it become immobile will not help and you will end up with more severe problems down the road. Arthritis websites or a rheumatologist can help you establish a safe and effective exercise routine.
Knee pain can be one of the most difficult aspects of arthritis to deal with. You use your knees for so much in your life that having pain can cause problems in your every day routines. Knowing what your treatment options are can help you get on with your life and stay as normal as possible.