Arthritis of the Knee Osteoarthritis Information

Arthritis of the Knee Osteoarthritis Information

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of over a 100 different types of arthritic conditions. It is the most frequently diagnosed form of arthritis. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), osteoarthritis is thought to affect over 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the large weight-bearing joints in the body, such as the knees. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon's Orthopaedic Statistics there were approximately 9 million American adults diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis in 2005.

 

Anatomy Of The Knee

A good understanding of the basic anatomy of the knee will be helpful in understanding the epidemiology of osteoarthritis of the knee.

The femur and tibia bones meet to form the knee joint. The front of the knee joint is protected by another bone, the patella. While the knee is considered the largest hinge joint in the body, it does allow a slight degree of side-to-side motion as well. The knee joint is synovial, meaning that it’s enclosed by a synovial capsule that lubricates the joint with synovial fluid. Like all synovial joints, the knee contains a type of hyaline cartilage called articular cartilage. This special type of cartilage covers the ends of the tibia and femur and the underside of the patella. It’s smooth and slippery surface functions to reduce friction and absorb shock as the knee is moved. The knee also contains a fibrocartilage type of cartilage called menisci, but this isn’t the type of cartilage involved in osteoarthritis.

What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

Osteoarthritis is also known as the degenerative form of arthritis or chronic degenerative joint disease. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis isn’t an autoimmune disease and its effects don't extend outside the joint. Osteoarthritis of the knee involves the wear-and-tear, breakdown, and eventual loss of articular cartilage in the knee joint. It is most commonly diagnosed after age 45. However, it can strike younger individuals, especially those involved in athletics and those employed in occupations involving frequent/repetitive knee motions or heavy lifting.

What Causes Osteoarthritis In The Knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee begins to develop as the cartilage becomes degraded or degenerated. As more and more cartilage is lost due to the wear-and-tear associated with the aging process or from extrinsic factors like obesity, the joint space can narrow between the femur, tibia, and patella. Of course, the narrowing causes the cartilage to further thin , become frayed and crevassed, and become less smooth. Meanwhile, the bones in the knee joint can become thicker, rub against each other, wear away, and eventually cause a joint deformity. The synovium membrane can also thicken and produce excessive fluid. Bony outgrowths, called spurs, may form around the joint as the body tries to repair the damage done from bone rubbing against bone.

The exact cause of osteoarthritis is still a debated topic, but there are many known contributing factors. Osteoarthritis of the knee that is thought to be related to the gradual effects of aging is generally considered primary osteoarthritis. Whereas, osteoarthritis that is thought to be secondary to obesity, diabetes, gout, knee trauma, knee surgery, congenital knee joint deformities, sport-related and occupational overuse or repetitive stress injuries, and so forth are considered secondary osteoarthritis.

What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis In The Knee?

It’s important to note that the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are often intermittent, with some sufferers having several months between “flare-ups.” The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:

* a deep aching pain within the joint (especially upon bending or straightening the leg)
* joint inflammation, redness, and warmth
* joint weakness
* joint stiffness (especially in the morning)
* an audible grinding, clicking, or crunching sound upon movement
* eventually a visible joint deformity may form that causes a bowlegged appearance
 

Strengthening Exercises

These Arthritis of the Knee Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Arthritis of the Knee Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the knee because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured knee, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured knee as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the knee, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the knee, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the knee can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your knee to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the knee. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your knee with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in the knee that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your knee may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your knee you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the knee, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your knee with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. Sinew Injury Poultice and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Apply the Sinew Injury Poultice on your knee to relieve residual pain and stiffness, significantly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and further promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Injury Poultice is particularly useful if your knee is more painful in cold and damp weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

3. Soak your knee with the Sinew Warming Soak to ease joint pain, increase range of motion, and strongly increase local circulation to drive coldness and dampness out of damaged tissues. The Sinew Warming Soak is particularly useful if your knee is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your knee. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Injury Poultice can be used in-between applications.

4. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.