Knee arthrosis: why knees hurt, and how to deal with it

Arthrosis is the most common among all diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The knees are especially vulnerable to him, since it is they who bear the bulk of the load. Let's take a closer look at what arthrosis of the knee joint is and how to deal with this disease.

Features of the disease

Arthrosis of the knee joints is a pathology associated with the development of degenerative-dystrophic processes in the cartilage tissue of these joints. As the disease progresses, the disease affects not only the cartilage itself, but also other tissues, including the ligaments and periarticular muscles, and over time, processes can develop that contribute to the destruction of the bone.

The elderly are at risk for joint diseases

Risk Groups

As we age, the body experiences difficulties leading to tissue malnutrition and accelerated wear and tear. Under the influence of mechanical, biochemical, and other factors, the cartilage tissue gradually begins to deteriorate, which further develops into arthrosis of the right knee joint or the left joint.

With age, the frequency of diagnosing this pathology increases. Women are especially prone to the development of gonarthrosis, which is due to the characteristics of their body and hormonal changes.

Also at risk are athletes and people whose work is associated with lifting weights and constant load on the legs.

In general, the following risk groups can be distinguished:

  • elderly people;
  • athletes;
  • people with knee injuries;
  • patients who have undergone surgery on the knee joint;
  • sedentary;
  • obese;
  • associated with hard physical labor or the need to constantly be on our feet;
  • patients with endocrine diseases;
  • people with hormonal imbalances;
  • leading an unhealthy lifestyle;
  • with congenital pathologies of the musculoskeletal system.

When entering a risk group, you must regularly monitor the condition of your joints, as well as take preventive measures.

Development reasons

If we talk about the specific causes of dystrophic processes in the cartilaginous tissue, they are largely associated with a person's daily life. Existing health problems also play a role.

The main causes of gonarthrosis are:

  1. Injuries. Any damage to the knee and adjacent tissues, that is, bruises, dislocations, tears and sprains, cracks, fractures, etc. Consequences may appear some time after the injured area is completely healed.
  2. Congenital disorders. This includes, for example, instability of the articular joint, curvature and other developmental and functional disorders associated with the structural features of the human skeleton.
  3. Age changes. Gradually, the cartilaginous tissue wears out, and calcium is washed out of the bones. The older a person is, the more pronounced these processes are.
  4. Professional sports - the reason for the development of knee gonarthrosis
  5. Obesity. Excess weight slows down metabolic processes and contributes to the exertion of excessive stress on the limbs. Obese people almost always have foot problems.
  6. Endocrine diseases.An unhealthy state of the endocrine system leads to hormonal imbalance and metabolic disorders.
  7. Operational Interventions. Surgical manipulations on the meniscus have a particularly strong effect. When it is removed, gonarthrosis develops in 90% of cases.
  8. Stress. Strong emotional experiences negatively affect the state of the whole organism, including the elements of the musculoskeletal system.
  9. Tissue malnutrition. Most often, these processes are associated with impaired blood circulation, since it is through the vessels in the tissue that all the necessary nutrients are supplied.
  10. Heavy loads.Lifting and carrying weights, improper running and jumping, violation of the technique of performing physical exercises, prolonged standing - all this is an excessive load on a person's legs.

If you do not take measures to prevent the influence of these causes, the cost of such negligent treatment of your health will be represented by multiple problems with the musculoskeletal system and other body systems.

Discomfort and swelling in the knee area are the first symptoms of arthrosis

Manifestation symptoms

At first, the disease is asymptomatic or anxiety occurs only occasionally. Mostly the knees begin to ache after a long stay in one position or an intense day at work. Since such signs are not annoying and completely disappear after rest, a person does not immediately realize that he has serious health problems.

Gradually the discomfort increases, severe pain appears. They are aching in nature, but when moving, they can be sharp and abrupt. As the disease progresses, the discomfort increases.

Other symptoms of gonarthrosis are:

  • deterioration of the knee's motor ability;
  • the appearance of a sonorous crunch when moving;
  • swelling and hyperemia of tissues;
  • curvature of the limbs.

It is the desire to relieve pain that is most often the main stimulating factor for a person's referral to the clinic. The sooner you do this, the more chances you have to stop the pathological process. Otherwise, the changes will become irreversible and it will not be possible to solve the problem by conservative methods.

In some cases, there is an increased temperature. This phenomenon is rarely observed, it indicates an intense inflammatory process. It may have been caused by an infection, for example, if you have recently suffered a leg injury.

Types of pathology

In medical practice, the disease has a special classification.

There are the following types of arthrosis of the knee joint:

  1. Left or Right. It is localized only on one side, that is, it affects either the left or right knee. Most often, this situation occurs after injury to a limb.
  2. Double-sided. At the same time, pathological processes develop in both legs. Symmetrical development of the disease is typical for most cases, since internal processes in the human body have a huge influence.
  3. Primary. It develops as an independent disease. The provoking factors are the wrong lifestyle, stress, age-related changes, etc.
  4. Secondary. Gonarthrosis becomes a consequence of another disease of the musculoskeletal system and systems closely associated with it. Also included in this category are traumatic injuries of the limbs.

It is also worth distinguishing between periarthrosis. This disease involves the muscles and ligaments, thanks to which the articular joint is set in motion.

Another important category is knee hyperarthrosis. This is the name of the progressive degenerative processes in the cartilage. In the last stages, there is a pronounced deforming gonarthrosis. It is worth talking about the stages of development of pathology in more detail.

Stages of progression

There are four main stages of knee arthrosis. Each of them is distinguished by a more pronounced manifestation of the disease and the emergence of new negative processes.

  1. Stage 1. Occasionally discomfort occurs, but after rest and working out the leg, it disappears. There are still no changes in the structure of tissues noticeable for the diagnostician, but the nutrition of the cartilage has already been disrupted, which gradually provokes the progression of the pathology.
  2. Stage 2. The pain becomes annoying, the cartilage becomes significantly thinner, which leads to a narrowing of the joint space. A characteristic crunch appears, movements are also accompanied by unpleasant sensations.
  3. 3rd - 4th stage. The X-ray photo clearly shows the changes that have occurred in the joint. The cartilage tissue is worn out, the bone begins to deform in the places of rubbing, some areas are overgrown with osteophytes, and salt deposits are present. All this blocks the movement of the leg and provokes the strongest incessant pain.

If the first degree of gonarthrosis is quite possible to eliminate with sparing methods and completely restore the health of the extremities, the third - fourth stages are irreversible and practically not amenable to conservative treatment. That is why it is important to seek help from a medical institution as early as possible.

Consequences and possible complications

As for the consequences of gonarthrosis, initially there are no special risks to human health, if appropriate measures are taken in a timely manner. Of course, knee inflammation causes some discomfort, but the symptoms and the dystrophic process itself can still be eliminated.

The more the patient ignores the problem, the more neglected it becomes. At the second stage, the cartilage begins to deteriorate, and it can hardly be restored. Severe pains disrupt a person's usual way of life, exert psychological pressure.

The main consequences of progressive gonarthrosis are:

  • persistent pain;
  • blocking leg mobility;
  • the formation of bone-salt growths;
  • complete destruction of hyaline cartilage;
  • spread of the pathological process to other areas;
  • involvement of the muscular apparatus;
  • disability.

The main question: is it possible to walk with arthrosis of the knee? Movement contributes to the healing of the whole organism, but this rule only works if the disease is detected early.

In the later stages, movement can only aggravate the destructive process, therefore the patient is recommended to bed rest and wearing special orthoses. With deformation and blockage of leg mobility, walking is impaired, that is, a person becomes disabled. This is the main risk in the development of gonarthrosis.

Diagnostic rules

In order to prevent such complications and not become disabled, you must promptly seek help. An orthopedic surgeon can advise on the treatment of gonarthrosis.

The success of further treatment largely depends on the degree of detail in the diagnosis, and therefore one should not ignore the prescriptions of a specialist regarding the need to undergo certain examination procedures.

Comprehensive diagnosis of arthrosis may include the following methods:

  1. Laboratory blood tests. Needed to identify deviations from the norm in terms of baseline indicators. The presence of violations indicates an inflammatory process or other problems that can directly or indirectly speak of joint diseases. A rheumatic test can be taken separately, if there is such a need. It is also important to assess the level of glucose in the blood, as its increase may indicate problems of the endocrine system, which also affects the state of the musculoskeletal system and metabolic processes in the body.
  2. Radiography. This is a mandatory procedure that allows you to consider the condition of the diseased area. The image shows bone areas. The degree of cartilage wear is assessed by the size of the joint space, the position of individual articulation elements, the presence of extraneous formations and other indicators.
  3. ultrasound. Ultrasound waves allow a more detailed examination of the state of the soft tissues themselves, including cartilage. Ultrasound detects inflammatory processes, detects solid inclusions, as well as tumor formations.
  4. MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging is the best method for examining the condition of the joints. The picture clearly shows all the elements of the articulation and the adjacent soft tissues, as well as the vessels. The image contains a layer-by-layer structure, and the process itself takes place in dynamics, so the doctor can see everything that he needs to make a diagnosis. If MRI is contraindicated, CT can be used as an alternative.
  5. Arthroscopy. A more detailed study of the knee is possible by introducing an arthroscope into its cavity. The procedure is less traumatic, so it can be carried out without fear for your health. The camera clearly demonstrates the condition of the cartilage and other tissues.

Treatment methods

In order to get rid of gonarthrosis and its consequences, it is necessary to correctly approach the solution of this problem. Only the attending physician will be able to choose the most effective remedy in each case.

Most often, a variety of medicines are used, as well as folk methods. Some of the techniques closely overlap with each other, for example, various compresses.

If done correctly, it will be possible to significantly weaken the manifestations of the disease and restore health to your legs to a certain extent. In no case should he hesitate with treatment, otherwise it will not be possible to do without drastic measures.

Drug therapy

The first thing to start treatment with is drug therapy. It can be divided into several areas, depending on the goals that you plan to achieve:

  1. Pain relief. With arthrosis, it is the need to relieve pain that makes most patients seek help from a specialist for a list of medications. Analgesics are required for severe discomfort, for example, injections are made at the third stage of gonarthrosis.
  2. Removal of inflammation. Since it is possible to relieve pain in arthrosis of the knee joint by stopping the inflammatory process, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed without fail. Drug therapy for gonarthrosisIf the situation is neglected, short courses of glucocorticoids may be prescribed to enhance the effect.
  3. Cartilage restoration. It is necessary to stimulate the regeneration of hyaline cartilage and improve its nutrition, as well as protect it from future destruction. For this, different groups of chondroprotectors are used. If we consider the question of whether the medicine helps with arthrosis of the knee joint, pay attention to the composition of the drug. The combination of important ingredients is one of the most effective products in this category.
  4. Improved tissue nutrition. To accelerate the recovery processes and strengthen the articular joint, various medications and additives are prescribed to improve metabolism, stimulate blood circulation, and saturate cells with vitamins and minerals.

Only the attending physician has the right to prescribe and correct drug therapy for knee arthrosis. Independent use of drugs is undesirable, only the use of vitamin supplements and the use of some chondroprotectors are allowed.

The benefits of cycling in the initial stages of gonarthrosis

Diet and Lifestyle

An important stage in the treatment process is changing your lifestyle, in particular, eating habits. Much depends on the severity of the disease, for example, cycling at the beginning of development can be beneficial and stimulate recovery processes.

At the same time, when problems with flexion-extension movements appear, such a load can only worsen the patient's condition and aggravate destructive processes.

In general, activity is encouraged, because movement contributes to the treatment of many diseases of the musculoskeletal system. In this case, it is extremely important to observe the rest regimen, not to overload the legs, and avoid sudden movements.

In particular, the question of whether it is possible to run with arthrosis of the knee joint is being considered. It is better to replace this type of physical activity with brisk walking.

If we talk about nutrition, contraindications for gonarthrosis relate to the intake of alcohol and junk food. It is especially important to exclude fatty and salty foods.

The diet should be as close to healthy as possible, that is, include vegetables and fruits, whole grains, milk and cheeses, lean meat and fish. Products that help to restore hyaline cartilage are very useful: seafood, offal, jelly, apples, algae, etc.

Physiotherapy and other procedures

Physiotherapy is an obligatory component of treatment. Also, modern medicine actively uses a variety of manual and non-traditional methods of influencing the body. It is recommended to pay attention to such procedures.

  1. Magnetotherapy. This is one of the techniques of physiotherapy. The magnetic effect stimulates recovery processes, enhances the effect of drugs. Electrophonophoresis can also be used as an alternative.
  2. Acupuncture promotes joint tissue repair
  3. Massage. Various kinds of manual interventions should be carried out by a qualified specialist based on the results of diagnostics and prescriptions of the attending physician. Massage stimulates metabolic processes in tissues, improves leg mobility, relieves discomfort.
  4. Hirudotherapy. This is a leech treatment. Leeches are known for their safe blood purification. They bite through the patient's skin, and substances that prevent blood clotting come in with saliva. Minor bloodletting of this kind helps to eliminate the inflammatory process, improve tissue nutrition and have a general health effect on the body.
  5. Acupuncture. This is one of the methods of reflexology, the essence of which is to influence active points located not only in the diseased area, but throughout the body. The doctor inserts special needles into the skin exactly at those points that need to be used to solve the problem of gonarthrosis.

Remedial gymnastics

If we take a closer look at treatment with the help of physical exercises, first of all it should be noted that the norms of permissible loads are established by a specialist. It is best to attend group exercise therapy classes. Sports for arthrosis of the knee is a compulsory program, including during rehabilitation after surgery.

Swimming in the pool can help stop joint damage

Let's highlight the main directions used for gonarthrosis:

  1. Swimming pool. Swimming relieves stress and tension from the legs and helps to smoothly develop the problem area. In particular, water aerobics is useful for arthrosis of the knee joint, especially for overweight people and elderly patients.
  2. Hiking. There is no doubt about the question of whether walking is useful for gonarthrosis, but at the same time walks should be short and regular. But running is not recommended as a treatment method.
  3. Trainings with simulators. These can be special block trainers or, for example, an exercise bike, if you have no contraindications. They are useful for strengthening the muscular and ligamentous apparatus.
  4. Remedial gymnastics. Orthopedic doctors and professional rehabilitation therapists develop special sets of exercises that help to gently train all groups of joints and restore their health.

Physical activity in arthrosis of the knee joint should be regular and strictly dosed. If you overload your legs or skip classes, there will be no beneficial effect. It is also important to choose the right exercises for your specific situation. Check this point in advance with the curator, for example, is it possible to squat with arthrosis in your case.

Traditional medicine

Also, the treatment of arthrosis of the knee joint at home is closely related to the use of traditional medicine recipes. It is worth remembering that before using one or another remedy prepared on your own, you must make sure that there are no allergies and other contraindications, and also consult with your doctor.

Otherwise, the effect may be reversed, or the effect of home remedies may over-increase the effect of pharmacy medications. Nevertheless, folk methods are still in demand, since their price is much lower than most purchased drugs.

For gonarthrosis, the following remedies are most often used:

  1. Herbal teas. Infusions and decoctions of bay leaves, chamomile, St. John's wort, yarrow and other medicinal plants are actively used for both external and internal use. They are able to relieve inflammation, soothe pain, remove salts, and also nourish the body with vitamins and other useful substances.
  2. Beekeeping Products. Propolis, perga, bee plague, wax and honey have an omnidirectional healing effect. That is why the treatment of arthrosis of the knee joint with honey is such a popular direction. However, it should be borne in mind that beekeeping products can cause severe allergies, so first make sure that they are safe to use.
  3. Alcohol tinctures. It is an excellent remedy for warming and stimulating blood flow, relieving inflammation and improving leg mobility. For joints, white lilac is especially useful, which must be cleaned of greens and poured with vodka for two weeks. Further, the infusion is used to rub the affected area.
  4. Fresh Plants. You can also use raw gifts of nature. For example, a leaf of burdock or white cabbage must be slightly kneaded, and then tied to the knee for at least 10 hours. You can use prefabricated compresses, for example, add medical bile, unrefined sunflower oil, honey, etc.
  5. Animal fats. They are added to homemade creams. To create an optimal consistency, the fat must be mixed with beeswax, herbal decoctions and other components can be added.
Surgical treatment of gonarthrosis

Surgical intervention and rehabilitation

Most patients are concerned about the question: is arthrosis of the knee joint curable, if it has already passed into the 2nd - 3rd stage? Unfortunately, it will not be possible to restore the health of the cartilaginous lining, but there is still a way out of the situation.

If you have advanced arthrosis of the knee joint, treatment options are divided into surgery and conservative auxiliary techniques. If the cartilage is completely worn out, only by performing an operation can the functions of the damaged limb be restored.

The best option is to use endoprostheses. In this case, the damaged elements of the articular joint are partially or completely removed, and in their place, special prostheses are installed using bolts and surgical cement. Over time, they will become overgrown with bone tissue and will completely take on all the necessary load.

Since it is not always possible to treat arthrosis of the knee joints in this way, the arthrodesis method is used as an alternative to reduce pain and prevent further deformity of the limb.

If in the first case the motor ability of the leg is maximally restored, with arthrodesis the opposite effect appears - the limb is fixed in a certain position, and after the incision of the bone, the elements are fused. Thus, movement will only be available in one direction.

Disease Prevention

In order to prevent the development of the disease, it is supposed to prevent arthrosis of the knee joint.

To do this, follow these guidelines:

  • avoid injury;
  • don't overload your knees;
  • be less nervous;
  • lead an active lifestyle;
  • give up bad habits;
  • eat right;
  • keep track of your weight;
  • Treat other diseases in a timely manner.

At the first concern, see your doctor in order to start fighting the disease in time.