About 25% of American adults struggle with some sort of chronic knee pain. In 30 million of these cases, osteoarthritis is the cause.
Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when cartilage degenerates. Cartilage is the protective cushioning that covers the ends of bones in joints. Aging, wear-and-tear, overuse, injuries, and genetics can lead to cartilage breakdown.
When the cushiony cartilage wears away or frays, the bones at your knee rub against one another — causing serious pain, stiffness, and swelling. Your range of motion and mobility decrease as a result.
The skilled team at Total Joint Specialists are experts when it comes to helping patients overcome the limitations caused by knee osteoarthritis. They want to help you manage the condition and understand your treatment options.
An important fact they want you to know, however, is that while you can manage knee arthritis and slow its progression, you can’t reverse it. Once cartilage damage is done, it can’t be rebuilt or repaired.
Why reversal of knee arthritis isn’t possible
Although some alternative medicine proponents claim knee arthritis can be reversed with their supplements or products, the reality is that reversal is just not possible. Once the cartilage is damaged, it does not regenerate or heal like other tissues in the body.
But, progression of knee arthritis can be effectively managed. The orthopedic team can also help you ease symptoms with proven treatments.
Management of knee arthritis
Our providers suggest a number of different strategies to help you manage osteoarthritis of the knee. Some are conservative and others are more invasive. The goal of treatment is to restore function, help ease pain, and enable you to do activities you enjoy.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on knee arthritis. Maintaining a balanced diet, managing weight, and incorporating regular low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling can help reduce stress on the knee joint.
A structured physical therapy program can help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improving stability and reducing pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help manage pain and inflammation. However, long-term use should be approached with caution due to potential side effects.
Corticosteroid injections can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. These can be used as frequently as every three to four months. Hyaluronic acid injections or viscosupplementation may help lubricate the joint and reduce discomfort.
The use of knee braces or orthotics can aid in supporting the knee and improving mobility.
In severe cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical options like arthroscopic debridement, osteotomy, or knee replacement may be considered.
Although the complete reversal of knee arthritis remains a myth, anyone diagnosed with the condition shouldn’t feel without hope. Early diagnosis and proactive management slow the progression of knee arthritis and help minimize the impact it has on your daily activities.
If you have knee pain or suspect you have arthritis, don’t wait for it to interfere with your daily life. Reach out to the team at Total Joint Specialists at the nearest office in Midtown Atlanta, Alpharetta, Braselton, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville, Lawrenceville, Sandy Springs, or Woodstock, Georgia. Call or schedule online today to make your appointment.