Currently there are an estimated 10 million people in the United States that suffer from knee osteoarthritis. It is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the five leading causes of disability among both men and women. Osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of the knee cartilage. The cartilage is the lining of the joint, which is often due to wear and tear, knee injuries, overuse, or obesity. Typically, if you have knee osteoarthritis, the pain is worse after activity, especially overuse of the affected knee. Sufferers often notice stiffness, especially after sitting for prolonged periods of time. Osteoarthritis can progress and the symptoms generally become more severe as degeneration worsens. The signs of symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, decreasing range of motion, muscle weakness and atrophy, crepitus, or crackling of the joint, deformity, and Baker cyst.
What is knee osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee arthritis. When your knees are healthy, they bend and straighten because of a smooth, slippery tissue called an articular cartilage. This lines the joint and protects and cushions the ends of the bones that form the knee joint. There is two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as the shock absorbers and cushion the knee joint. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to wear away. This happens over time. When the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough. Moving the bone along this exposed section is painful and may include stiffness. If it wears away completely you can have bone rubbing on bone. The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include pain and stiffness. The symptoms tend to be worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
What are the causes of knee osteoarthritis?
There are many factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis: Age, heredity, weight, injury, overuse, and other illnesses.
Age: The ability of the cartilage to heal itself decreases as we age. Osteoarthritis typically affects people who are middle aged or older.
Heredity: Certain genes have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis. There are other inherited traits, such as being bow-legged, knock-kneed, double jointed, that may increase your risk for ostearthritis.
Weight: The more you weigh the more stress you put on your knee joints and the faster osteoarthritis can develop.
Injury: A history of knee injuries, such as a sports injury, can lead to osteoarthritis later in life.
Overuse History: People who are in occupations that involve repeated kneeling, squatting, bending, lifting, and walking are vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries of the knees. This can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Other Conditions: If you have a history of gout, knee infection, or Lyme disease, you may be at increased risk for osteoarthritis.
Hyalgan was the first type of natural knee injection approved by the FDA in 1996. Viscosupplementation therapy is a procedure involving injection of a gel-like substance into the knee joint to supplement the already naturally occurring synovial fluid. This procedure alone has been shown to be 86% successful in alleviating pain associated with osteoarthritis. It is covered by most major medical insurances, insurance providers, and Medicare. At the Kozmary Center for Pain Management, we utilize Hyalgan as our injectable choice for viscosupplementation therapy. It consists of a mixture of sodium hyaluronate that is found naturally and extracted from rooster combs. We also utilize a breakthrough piece of medical equipment at our facility called fluoroscopy. This is very important to the accurate placement of Hyalgan in the knee joint. It allows the medical staff to place the injection with pinpoint accuracy. It also reduces the likelihood of any risks associated with the injections. The instrument helps to ensure that the injected material is introduced into the exact point intended, and therefore provides the best possible outcome from each injection. This is why, if you have tried any type of pain reduction injection elsewhere without success, we may still be able to help you, as your original injection may have never made it to the right place.
Are you a candidate?
Do you wake up with stiff knees? Do your knees hurt when you are going up or down stairs? Do you frequently take medication for knee pain? Do activities you enjoy cause pain around the knees? Have you been told you need knee replacement surgery? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee.
Call for an appointment at (702) 472-8426.