Osteoarthritis of the knee, or gonarthrosis, is a chronic disease that is accompanied by degenerative-destructive changes in the knee. 
In advanced cases of joint failure, irreversible. The disease is well treatable. But if the therapy is started at the wrong time, the patient runs the risk of remaining disabled.

Causes

Why does the pathological process start? Deforming gonarthrosis of the knee joint can develop as an independent disease or occur against the background of another pathology.

The reasons are as follows:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • congenital malformations of articular structures;
  • regular physical activity (playing sports, weight lifting or work related to constant movement);
  • bad habits;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • diseases of the vascular system;
  • injuries
  • surgical intervention on the knee joint;
  • passive lifestyle;
  • hormonal imbalance, in particular, problems with the production of the hormone estrogen;
  • too much weight;
  • age-related changes (observed in patients after the age of 60);
  • disruption of the endocrine system.

During the diagnosis of gonarrosis, it is important to find out the causes of its appearance.



Symptoms and Degrees

The disease is manifested by the defeat of all structures of the joint (bones, cartilage, muscles and ligaments). That is why it is so dangerous.

It is better to treat osteoarthritis of the knee in the first stage, but often at the initial stage there are no symptoms. The first manifestations can appear when a narrowing of the joint gap occurs due to the erasure of the cartilage tissue. In this case, severe pain occurs as a result of friction of the bones against each other.

Cartilage tissue is destroyed rapidly due to malnutrition. As a result, joint mobility worsens in a short period of time. After the destruction of the cartilage, the pathological process affects the periarticular bag and muscles. Bone growths are formed – osteophytes.

Osteoarthritis can affect the right, left, or both knee joints.

Signs of osteoarthritis of the knee joint depend on the stage of development. There are 3 stages in total:

  • Gonarthrosis of the 1st degree.  With osteoarthritis of the knee joints of the 1st degree, the patient feels discomfort in the knee after a long walk or in an upright position. The first symptoms include pain after physical exertion. Already at the 1st degree of osteoarthrosis of the knee joints, stiffness is felt, the knee moves worse. On the x-ray, narrowing of the joint space will be visible. At this stage, the treatment is most effective.
  • Osteoarthrosis of the knee 2 degrees.  In the second stage, pain is more pronounced. The pain does not leave the patient either in the morning or in the evening, although at rest the pain syndrome is not as pronounced as when moving. There are problems with movement. Gonarthrosis of the 2nd degree is manifested by a significant deterioration in joint mobility. It is difficult for the patient to bend and unbend the knee, because of which he moves slowly. A crunch is heard when moving. Gonarthrosis of the 2nd degree is much more difficult to treat than deforming arthrosis of the knee joint of the 1st degree. At this stage, degenerative-dystrophic processes are already starting. According to the results of x-ray examination, thickening of bones and changes in periarticular tissues can be detected.
  • Osteoarthrosis of the knee 3 degrees.  At this stage, the likelihood of disability is high. If the joint is deformed in the second stage, then in the third stage all structures are destroyed. In X-ray images, deforming arthrosis of the knee joint of the 3rd degree is manifested by abrasion of the cartilage, replacement of normal connective tissue, fusion of several bones, and complete destruction of the ligaments and menisci. Without surgery, helping the patient is impossible. Features of the third stage – the pain becomes constant and severe, muscle spasm occurs, a crunch is heard during movement, deformation of the knee joint is visually visible, it is greatly increased. It is difficult for the patient to move around, sometimes even impossible.

Which doctor treats osteoarthritis of the knee?

For the initial diagnosis, it is worth visiting a therapist, surgeon or orthopedist. It may also require the help of a rheumatologist.



Diagnostics

Diagnosis is by radiography. To assess the functionality of the joint, a special test is used – the Leken index.

Treatment

The doctor is responsible for the choice of therapy for deforming arthrosis of the knee based on the severity of the disease. Self-medication for this disease is unacceptable.

Treatment of deforming osteoarthritis of the knee is often medication, but it is effective in combination with therapeutic exercises, massage, and diet. For the treatment period, it is important to ensure complete peace for the deformed joint.

To achieve a therapeutic effect, it is important to eliminate the cause of the disease and provoking factors before therapy.

Treatment of osteoarthrosis of the knee joint of the 2nd degree can be medication, but the last stage is treated only with surgery.

Medicines

Preparations for arthrosis:

  • NSAIDs.  Remedies relieve inflammation and pain. Effective Nimesil, Movalis. You can drink pills, give injections or use ointments with the same names. Drugs should not be used for more than 2 weeks.
  • Chondroprotectors. You can not do without these drugs in the treatment of deforming arthrosis of the knee joints. Arthron or Chondroitin is suitable.

Some drugs are injected into the joint cavity. In particular, hormonal agents, chondroprotectors and hyaluronic acid are administered as injections.

An important component of effective treatment are physiotherapeutic procedures. Deforming osteoarthritis of the knee joint (DOA) is treated with laser and magnetotherapy, ultrasound, ozokerite and UHF. Knee massage is effective, but it cannot be used in the acute stage.

Gymnastics

Physical therapy is carried out in the walls of the hospital or at home. Its goal is to strengthen muscles, restore blood circulation and normal joint mobility.

The loads on the affected joint increase gradually, but the set of exercises should be repeated 2-3 times a day. After gymnastics, lie down for 40 minutes.

Very useful for osteoarthritis swimming.

Folk remedies

Deforming osteoarthritis of the knee joint is a serious disease, therefore, it is not always possible to cure it with traditional medicine. The likelihood of complications is high. The most effective medications.

Folk remedies:

  • a compress with horseradish at night;
  • table salt with honey (1 tbsp. l. of each ingredient) on the knee;
  • pork fat in the form of a cream;
  • ointment based on mustard, salt (200 g each) and paraffin.

You can make foot baths or lotions with medicinal herbs that have anti-inflammatory effects.

Diet

Dietary nutrition involves eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and chondroitin. You need to eat a lot of seafood (salmon fish, shrimp, crab), seaweed, lean meat, mainly poultry, as well as fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.
It is necessary to refuse spicy, salty and fried foods. It is important not to overeat, so as not to gain extra pounds.


Complications

Complications of osteoarthritis are severe constant pain in the knee, complete loss of joint mobility, which makes the patient become disabled, as well as valgus or varus curvature of the legs. The lower limbs take the form of the letter “O” or “X”.

Prevention

Preventive measures:

  • reduce physical activity on the limbs;
  • daily exercise;
  • lose weight;
  • follow a diet;
  • to refuse from bad habits;
  • avoid knee injuries.

To prevent age-related changes in articular joints after 40 years, chondroprotectors should be taken.

Do not despair with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee. Treatment should be started immediately, otherwise the consequences will be irreversible.

Posted by Oksana Belokur, Doctor,
specially for Ortopediya

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