Knee arthrosis: symptoms and treatment

Knee arthrosis, or gonarthrosis, is a chronic and gradually progressive disease that often causes disability. At the moment, gonarthrosis occupies one of the leading positions in terms of frequency of occurrence among all arthrosis. Most often, this pathological process is encountered by middle-aged and elderly people, mainly female representatives.

General information and classification

Arthrosis of the knee joint is a disease characterized by progressive degenerative-dystrophic damage to the cartilage tissue, and subsequently to other structures in the area of the knee joint. As we have already said, it is the cartilage that changes primarily in this disease. However, then pathological changes spread to the synovial membrane, joint capsule, adjacent bones and ligaments.

As statistics show, arthrosis of the knee joint occurs in about 13 percent of people over forty-five years old. About 15 percent of people who have suffered a knee joint injury subsequently face this disease. More than 60 percent of patients indicate a decrease in the quality of life due to the presence of this pathology. The disability rate ranges from 10 to 21 percent.

In 2011, a team of scientists analyzed the treatment of 300 outpatients with knee arthrosis. At the same time, it was found that among the people seeking medical care, women predominate 2. 3 times. The average age of the patients was 51 years. It was possible to identify concomitant pathology in 27. 3 percent of patients. The men who first applied had a shorter duration of the disease and a lower severity of arthrosis than the female representatives.

As we have already said, arthrosis of the knee joint, which has not been treated, very often leads to the disability of a sick person. This is due to the fact that in the later stages of the disease, the joint is deformed, thereby limiting its motor activity. It becomes difficult for the patient to move around, he is forced to use auxiliary items, for example, crutches.

Arthrosis of the knee joint is divided into two forms: primary and secondary. The primary form develops when changes in the cartilage tissue of the joint were not preceded by trauma. According to statistics, it accounts for about 38 percent. The secondary form takes place if there is a history of trauma, inflammatory pathologies, and so on.

In addition, there are three degrees of severity of such a pathological process. At the first degree, clinical manifestations have a minimal degree of severity, there are no deformities. The second degree is characterized by increased symptoms, moderate limitation of movement in the joint. In the third degree, a noticeable deformation of the joint is determined.

Reasons for the development of arthrosis of the knee joint

Knee arthrosis

The main cause of arthrosis of the knee joint is injury. Most often, the formation of pathological changes in the joint takes from three to five years from the moment of injury, but sometimes an earlier development of arthrosis is also observed. Another common cause is increased stress on the joint. At risk are people who overload the knee joint when playing sports, who are overweight.

The risk of developing arthrosis with previous arthritis, metabolic disorders and genetic predisposition significantly increases.

Symptoms of arthrosis of the knee joint

Symptoms of this disease increase gradually. At first, a person pays attention to mild pain in the joint, which increases during physical exertion. A characteristic clinical sign is the onset of soreness during the first movements after a long sitting position.

Sometimes in the area of the joint, slight swelling is determined, but most often there are no external signs of the disease.

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint, which is not treated, continues to progress. With the second degree, the pain becomes more intense, appears even with little physical exertion. The pain syndrome disappears at rest, but at the beginning of movements, it returns again. In the future, the range of motion in the joint is limited, sometimes a rough crunch is noted.

In the third degree, the pain becomes almost constant, sometimes it occurs even at night. A sick person cannot fully bend or straighten his leg, an external deformation of the joint is found. The patient's gait becomes unstable; in severe cases, he can only move with support.

Principles for the diagnosis of arthrosis

Examination by a doctor to diagnose arthrosis of the knee joint

As a rule, arthrosis of the knee joint does not cause any difficulties in terms of diagnosis. The examination plan includes an external examination and X-ray examination. At the moment, radiography is the main diagnostic method for this disease. However, it is worth noting that at the initial stages, radiological signs may be absent, but this does not exclude the diagnosis. If a more detailed study is needed, in addition to radiography, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging are used.

Knee arthrosis: treatment and prevention

With degenerative-dystrophic damage to the joint, treatment can be both conservative and surgical. It is worth noting that the effectiveness of therapy will directly depend on how timely it was started. Of the drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and chondroprotectors are used. Sometimes it becomes necessary to carry out intra-articular administration of glucocorticosteroids. The treatment plan is complemented by physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.

However, with advanced arthrosis of the knee joint, treatment is carried out using surgical methods. Most often, joint arthroplasty is used, followed by rehabilitation measures.

In 2013, scientists published an article that provides data on the study of the quality of life of patients undergoing knee arthroplasty in comparison with the quality of life of patients receiving conservative therapy for gonarthrosis. Surveys were conducted, during which it turned out that three months after endoprosthetics, the quality of life of people was higher than with only conservative therapy.

The main method of prevention is to avoid injury and excessive physical exertion on the knee joint.