Osteoarthritis of the knee: Symptoms and therapy

Do you also have knee pain? You are not alone in this! Many people suffer from acute or chronic knee problems. A common starting point for knee problems is gonarthrosis, also called osteoarthritis of the knee.

Do you also suffer from gonarthrosis or are you at risk? KNEO can help you!

X-rays reveal wear-related changes in the knee joint that increasingly affect groups of people from the age of 60. Nevertheless, this wear and tear should not be understood as a disease of old age. Many different factors favor osteoarthritis of the knee and young people can also suffer from it.

Those affected feel restricted in their lifestyle and refrain from activities that were previously an integral part of their everyday and leisure activities. However, arthrosis is not a stroke of fate, although the wear and tear on the joints cannot be reversed easily and quickly.

There are a number of modern therapy options available to maintain mobility, which we would like to introduce to you here. As part of a comprehensive, holistic therapy concept, knee-relieving orthoses can help you to counteract pain in the knee caused by osteoarthritis and to regain lost quality of life.

Learn everything you need to know about this topic in this post.

1. What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee is also called gonarthrosis or knee arthrosis and refers to an arthrosis of the knee joint. It is the most common form of joint arthrosis and is synonymous with wear of the articular cartilage. This goes beyond what is customary in old age and results in a knee disease that is accompanied by stressful knee pain.

Typical pain triggers and signs are:

Climbing stairs and movements on uneven terrain

  • Lifting and carrying heavy objects
  • Sitting for a long time
  • Wet and cold weather
  • Crunching noises in the knee joint
  • Weakness
  • Pain after a break and with constant exercise

In extreme cases, the joint stiffens and an operation becomes necessary. It doesn’t have to go that far because there are many ways to relieve symptoms and slow down cartilage breakdown.

2. What is medial or lateral osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee can occur in two zones of the knee:

medial osteoarthritis of the knee

on the inner side of the knee joint

lateral osteoarthritis of the knee

on the outside of the knee joint

Malpositions in particular favor such one-sided wear, which leads to arthrosis in the knee: While X-legs (or knock knees) cause increased wear and tear on the outside and thus a so-called valgus arthrosis, bow legs are responsible for the excessive stress on the inside and thus varus arthrosis.

3. How does osteoarthritis of the knee develop?

The upper and lower leg bones as well as the kneecap are connected in the leg by the knee joint. Different bones and the kneecap collide in this joint and are cushioned by the cartilage.

When healthy, it has a smooth surface and enables joint movement without friction. However, if the cartilage is diseased and becomes thinner, soft or cracked, it is restricted in this important function and can no longer absorb the stress.

Undetected and thus untreated osteoarthritis of the knee is accompanied by an increasing breakdown of the knee cartilage. In this way, the kneecap, upper and lower leg bones rub against each other unhindered, injuries occur and there is irreparable damage to the knee joint.

4. What factors favor osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee arises regardless of age and can affect anyone in principle. There are many different causes that lead to knee wear. There are two types:

  1. the primary and
  2. secondary osteoarthritis.

With primary arthrosis, no apparent reasons for the occurrence of the disease can be found. Doctors suspect that a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis is responsible for this. However, there are probably several factors that play a role, such as lifestyle or other internal factors.

Secondary arthrosis can be attributed to external factors that negatively affect joint wear. These include:

  • congenital malpositions such as X- or bow legs
  • persistent overloading or incorrect loading of the knee joints
  • previous illnesses such as sports injuries
  • accidental injuries that have been mistreated
  • inflammation of the joints or
  • obesity.

5. What are the consequences of osteoarthritis of the knee?

In the long term, osteoarthritis of the knee leads to joint changes. As the cartilage recedes, the surface of the bones becomes harder and forms protrusions on the edges, which are called osteophytes.

As a result, those affected can experience limited mobility of the joint as well as painful tendon and ligament irritation.

If the cartilage is affected in such a way that the bone is exposed in places, this advanced knee arthrosis often leads to

  • meniscus damage,
  • stiffening of the knee joint,
  • increased synovial fluid,
  • muscle loss and
  • loose or torn bands.

Not only at this stage does osteoarthritis of the knee severely restricts lifestyle and reduce the patient’s quality of life. Therefore, in this case: prevention is better than cure.

6. What is the typical course of a knee osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis of the knee does not come overnight, but develops over many years. In the beginning, the symptoms are harmless, barely noticeable and are often dismissed as a sign of wear. For this reason, a diagnosis is often only made in the advanced state when the affected person is already suffering from severe pain.

There is no pattern of osteoarthritis of the knee. Some sufferers progress faster, while others live with little or no problems and limitations for many years.

A course of pain in episodes is also conceivable. In this case, stronger and less painful phases alternate and in the meantime even pain-free periods can occur.

Important: A knee osteoarthritis does not necessarily mean lifelong pain or the need for a joint replacement. Detected and treated in good time, people with osteoarthritis cope well in everyday life.

A gonarthrosis does not necessarily mean lifelong pain! KNEO helps.

7. How can pain be relieved in the case of osteoarthritis of the knee?

Contrary to popular belief that osteoarthritis is not curable, newer points of view and experience now prove otherwise. With the help of a targeted combination of different forms of therapy, the articular cartilage can also regenerate.

The sooner you break the vicious circle, the better the chances are to favorably influence the course of the knee joint arthrosis and to reduce the progression of wear. Therefore, you should pay attention to the warning signals and act in good time.

The treatment of gonarthrosis initially aims to relieve pain and improve mobility and walking performance. With the right therapy, the breakdown of the cartilage is also stopped, thus preventing the disease from progressing further.

8. Osteoarthritis of the knee: what forms of treatment and therapy are there?

Since the causes of osteoarthritis of the knee are so numerous, there are also different forms of therapy that are tailored to the respective starting point. Treatment is based on the type and extent of osteoarthritis, the age, suffering and previous illnesses of the patient.

As a first step, the affected person can have a positive influence on the course of the disease by changing his lifestyle. These include above all

  • the right movement,
  • a sensible diet – possibly with the aim of losing weight – as well
  • further lifestyle adjustments.

Furthermore, there are numerous non-operative (conservative) forms of therapy, such as

  • orthopedic aids such as bandages and orthoses,
  • physiotherapy and physical therapy,
  • medication or,
  • electrotherapy and thermotherapy.

As a last resort, there are still surgical interventions that can go hand in hand with postoperative complications. Interventions include

  • the use of replacement joints,
  • corrections of malpositions or
  • cartilage transplants.

8.1. Physiotherapy and exercise

You can improve the flexibility of your knee joints with physiotherapy exercises. Regular physiotherapy has an analgesic and muscle strengthening effect. In the early stages of osteoarthritis, targeted exercises are enough to alleviate the symptoms. A trained therapist will show you special exercises that you can then easily perform at home.

If you like to be outdoors, Nordic Walking is ideal for you, because walking training puts little strain on the joints. A lot of movement improves muscle strength, flexibility and flexibility of the joints.

For this reason, sports such as gymnastics, aqua jogging, freestyle swimming, cycling and walking are recommended for knee osteoarthritis. Targeted joint and muscle exercises are also important, although you should avoid doing movements that put a lot of strain on your knee, such as climbing stairs.

8.2. Physical therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee

For many osteoarthritis patients, heat treatments have a pain-relieving effect. If there is inflammation of the joints in addition to osteoarthritis, cold treatment is more sensible. With cold air and cold moor packs, you can counteract the pain of inflammation of the knee.

Envelopes with acetic clay or curd provide cold stimuli and have a pleasantly cooling effect. With TENS therapy you can improve blood circulation and thereby stimulate tissue regeneration.

8.3. Alternative knee osteoarthritis therapy

In addition to classic pain therapy, pain can also be alleviated by acupuncture applications.

A positive attitude to life also has a positive influence on the development of pain. Yoga and relaxation training have a beneficial effect on body and soul. With meditation exercises you find your inner center.

There are special arthritis support groups in many cities. There you can exchange ideas with other osteoarthritis patients and benefit from their experiences and tips.

8.4. Which medications are recommended?

If none of the above-described knee osteoarthritis therapy options work for you, you can effectively treat the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis with effective medication. Modern active ingredients inhibit inflammation and relieve pain at the same time.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most suitable for pain relief. These mostly over-the-counter preparations do not contain cortisone and are used for painful joint complaints. However, you should use the NSAID medical devices in the lowest possible dose within a short period of time.

Cortisone is used for knee osteoarthritis in the form of injections and injected directly into the knee joint. Temporary pain relief is also achieved by injecting hyaluronic acid.

8.5. The surgery as an alternative

If medication does not improve, a sick joint can be operated on. Today, modern surgical procedures are available that can be carried out on an outpatient basis even without a hospital stay.

The joint is cleaned and rinsed in an arthroscopic procedure and the cartilage is smoothed. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that leaves two small scars.

Surgery should always be an exceptional case, because studies have shown that conservative treatment is usually just as successful as surgery.

9. What diet helps with osteoarthritis of the knee?

A balanced and conscious diet is an important piece of the puzzle in the fight against osteoarthritis of the knee. Foods tailored to the clinical picture are a valuable part of recovery and also help to prevent knee osteoarthritis. With the right diet, you have three goals in mind:

  1. Anti-inflammatory and prevention
  2. Supply of valuable ingredients
  3. Weight reduction for joint relief.

For this, the menu for those affected and those at risk consists at best of largely vegan, low-calorie products such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy vegetable oils. Look out for antioxidants that support your gonarthrosis therapy.

On the other hand, avoid animal foods and unhealthy fats, as these have an inflammatory effect. Unhealthy stimulants such as alcohol, white flour and too much sugar should also be taboo.

Scientific studies have proven that the ingredients of garlic, onions and leek vegetables have a cartilage-protecting effect and slow down the arthrosis. If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is helpful.

You can also support your intestines in the fight against inflammation by relying on predominantly gluten-free foods and eating a basic rather than acidic diet to counteract acidification.

Note: All in all, it should be noted that a wholesome diet with many vital substances is beneficial for your recovery. Also, make sure you drink enough and use water and unsweetened teas such as base tea, green tea, or herbal tea.

10. Which exercises help with osteoarthritis of the knee?

In addition to the pain, increasing stiffening of the knee joint is a sure symptom of osteoarthritis of the knee. Many sufferers respond to the pain by protecting the knee and reducing movement.

But this behavior has fatal consequences! Because if the knee joints are not moved, the articular cartilage dries up and the arthrosis intensifies. Strengthening and mobility exercises are therefore recommended. The reasons for this:

  • exercised muscles in the thigh and lower leg ensure stability and relief of the knee joint
  • movement supplies the cartilage with nutrients and prevents the joint from stiffening

Patients with knee osteoarthritis should not accept the pain as age-related wear or as hopeless. Rather, you can do a lot with targeted movement to improve the painful condition.

The following exercises are easy to do at home and help to build stabilizing muscles and regain lost mobility:

  • stand on one leg on a soft surface
  • alternating approaches in clean and press
  • let the leg swing while sitting
  • extend and hold your leg while sitting
  • squats and
  • lunges

Important: Always have a knee pain caused by osteoarthritis examined by a specialist and coordinate your sports exercises for knee osteoarthritis with him. Also orientate yourself on your individual pain scale and be patient. The exercises can be wonderfully incorporated into everyday life over a longer period of time and thus have a long-term effect.

11. How can bandages and orthoses help with osteoarthritis of the knee?

In addition to the use of medication or surgery that have side effects and can have a negative impact on the body, there is also another solution: the use of orthopedic aids such as knee-relieving orthoses.

11.1. Stability and security thanks to KNEO

KNEO, for example, is a new kind of knee relief orthosis that treats osteoarthritis of the knee – particularly as a result of malposition of the bow leg or X leg. It moves the leg axis medially (inwards) or laterally (outwards) as required, whereby the forces required for relief are generated by the weight when it occurs.

  1. By shifting the load line in the knee, one-sided pain is relieved as required.
  2. In addition, with KNEO a gentle posture and the loss of muscle mass are avoided.
  3. The movements and posture are corrected,
  4. The knee joints are moved correctly, which prevents their stiffening.

11.2. High comfort: Dynamic orthosis to relieve the knee

What is special about KNEO: This orthosis is knee-free and therefore extremely comfortable to wear. There is no restriction when bending the knee and the orthosis does not slip. Handling is very simple: KNEO is put on with the shoe and can be worn comfortably and inconspicuously under clothing.

KNEO provides relief from arthritis-related pain in the knee!

The orthosis is light, does not rub on the skin and does not exert any uncomfortable pressure. KNEO thus relieves pain in the knee caused by osteoarthritis and prevents the increasing stiffness of the joints.

In addition, the regained activity also slows the progression of the disease. Also, the increased mobility and freedom from pain reduce the patient’s suffering and the quality of life increases noticeably.

Conclusion

There are a number of effective measures for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis that you learned about in this article.

Adequate exercise is essential for osteoarthritis of the knee therapy because physical training strengthens the muscles and supplies the cartilage. Through targeted pain relief, osteoarthritis patients can take an active part in life again.

Problem-free walking is possible again by wearing special orthoses. Athletic training such as walking, water aerobics and balneotherapy help to reduce pain and increase the mobility of the joints.

Do you have any further questions about knee arthrosis therapy? Then please contact us by phone at +49 5527 998 969 or by e-mail to info@chw-technik-gmbh.de.

Photo credits: Photo 1: 24165102, Photo 2: 24183444 / istockphoto.com