Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. OA is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions joints. One of the joints most commonly affected by this degenerative disease is the knee.
There are multiple risk factors that may contribute to OA. Some of these include age, weight, genetics, and gender. Women are at a higher risk of developing OA than men. Additionally, OA may be the result of an acute injury or overuse. For instance, playing sports that are hard on your joints or breaking a bone may lead to OA down the road.
Managing Knee Osteoarthritis
While there is no cure for OA, there are several ways to help manage the symptoms of OA. The CDC lists several methods to help control the symptoms of OA. One such method is physical activity. Believe it or not, low-impact exercise, such as walking, can actually benefit patients with OA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “The health of your knees depends on movement. Strong muscles support the joint and relieve pressure. Movement keeps tissues within the joint flexible, lubricated and replenished with nutrients that help healing.”
Another way to reduce the symptoms of OA is weight loss. We discussed this topic in more detail in a recent blog. Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation states, “Shedding just 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.” Walking and other low impact activities can be a great way to get started with weight loss.
Avoiding Knee Surgery
There are several treatment methods for OA, including surgery. However, surgery is generally not a first resort. There are multiple over the counter and prescription methods of treatment for OA including medications, braces, acupuncture, and various injectable treatment options. Your doctor will likely recommend you try an array of treatment options before jumping to surgery to help fix the problem.
By managing symptoms of knee OA with weight loss and physical activity, in conjunction with your doctor recommended treatments, you may be able to postpone or avoid surgery altogether.