Knee osteoarthritis is not just mechanical wear and tear, it also involves cellular and chemical changes. These changes affect all the tissues that make up a knee joint (cartilage, bone, joint capsule, ligaments and muscle).
In the event of trauma and/or age related changes, the body will attempt to repair damaged tissue. However this process does not replace like for like. Consequently tissue repair can result in changes that further affect the normal function of the joint.
It is therefore essential that both mechanical and chemical changes are minimised.
In order to decrease abnormal mechanical stress on the knee joint there are three keys factors that a person should identify. Their joint alignment, strength and functional movement.
The photograph shows a typical valgus alignment of the left knee and the x-ray shows what lays beneath the skin. You can clearly see the erosion of the left side of the knee joint. In this situation mechanical correction by surgery and a joint replacement is likely to provide the best outcome.
Most are not that bad!
Fortunately, most knees with osteoarthritis are not that bad and therefore mechanical improvements can be made via exercises. The video shows good technique for a wall squat. You don’t have go very deep into the squat but it is important to get your hips, knees and feet in good alignment. The squat will improve knee joint strength.
The chemical changes within a knee joint can also vary. Many arthritic joints have inflammatory flare ups and at times the fluid within the joint needs to be aspirated. Other chemical changes include Gout. The video shows the technique for joint aspiration.
Chemical changes are not simply achieved by taking excessive fluid out, improvements can also be made by injecting medication directly into the knee. A common injection is a Corticosteroid. This will directly decrease inflammation and can often decrease the persons experience of pain.
Other injections can also be considered. These include viscosupplementation, such as Ostenil and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Please click the button for more information on the different types of joint injection.
Diagnosis is critical for best treatment
For any treatment to be effective it must be tailored to the specific requirements of the individual. There are many other factors that affect knee osteoathritis including problems with the hip joint, foot and ankle. The pain experience itself is not diagnostic, it simply informs the person that they have a problem.
New patient examination and ultrasound scan £75
Please remember that the Injection Clinic provides a high quality service for all your joint aches and pains. Please visit the website for full details.