Arthritis symptoms can lead to restricted movement of the joints. It is a common joint disease which normally occurs in people over the age of 50. One type of the disease, osteoarthritis (OA), can have a specific impact on the knee. Treatments are obtainable to help suppress inflammation and pain, however, there are signs that you should be aware of. Below are 7 signs which indicates that you could have arthritis of the knee.
Swelling or tenderness
Arthritis of the knee may lead to periodic inflammation. This is because of the formation of osteophytes (bone spurs) or additional fluids in the knee. Swelling may be more noticeable after a long period of inactivity.
The skin on the knee may seem red or feel warm to the touch. In time, you may experience chronic knee inflammation that doesn’t get better with anti-inflammatory drugs or over-the-counter medications.
The pain becomes worse over time
Generally, arthritis pain comes on slowly. At first, you may only feel it first thing in the morning, or after you get up from sitting at your desk for a few hours. After a period of time, the ache may become more recurrent. You might get it when you are climbing stairs or if you kneel for a long period of time. Few people even find the pain wakes them up at night, as per the Arthritis Foundation.
Cracking or popping sounds
You may sense a grinding feeling in your knees as you move. Also, you may even hear popping or cracking sounds coming from the knees. These symptoms can happen when you have lost some of the smooth cartilage that aids with a smooth range of motion. If you have arthritis in your knee, the grinding and noises are due to the rough surfaces and bone spurs rubbing against each other as you move your joints.
Loss of joint space
Knee X-rays are an exceptional diagnostic tool as they clearly show the loss of joint space which causes a poor range of motion and sounds. Bone spurs grow along the edges of the joint and reflect the body’s effort to repair itself. This is a common symptom of OA.
As you start gaining more weight, you put more pressure on your joints particularly your knees. In fact, every pound of weight you gain adds to approximately three to four pounds of extra weight on your knees. A 2016 study found that obesity made it closely five times more likely a person would get knee osteoarthritis when compared to people at a healthy weight. A separate study from the University of California at San Francisco reveals that obese and overweight people who lost just 5 percent of their body weight noticed a major decline in cartilage degeneration.
Deformities of the knee
As arthritis continues, you may notice changes in your knee’s appearance. Arthritis can give a sunken appearance as muscles surrounding the knees weaken and become thin. Your knees can bend outward or start to point toward each other. Knee deformities range from hardly noticeable to quite debilitating and severe.
When active, you will have more pain
When your joint is already painful, moving it around may deteriorate the pain as it causes the bones to rub. As long as the feeling isn’t excruciating, try to push through it. If you keep moving, you will improve circulation and lubrication in the joint, which will really help it feel better, notes the Arthritis Foundation. Stick with gentle exercise like swimming or walking. Temple University researchers found that older adults who did water-based exercises such as water jogging had improved range of motion and quality of life.
When to see your doctor
See your doctor if your pain or inflammation is not responding to any kind of treatment. Also see your doctor if the pain affects your daily life, particularly if you can’t sleep or the pain affects your movement or walking.
In order to diagnose your knee arthritis, your doctor will first evaluate your overall physical health. They may ask you to stand while they take X-rays to identify if you have arthritis. They may also order an MRI or bone scan to examine your knees for the presence of arthritis.
Diagnosing your knee arthritis early can benefit you to seek out therapies and treatments that relieve pain and protect your ability to move without difficulty or pain. If knee pain is affecting your daily activities, see your doctor as soon as possible.