Top 8 Symptoms You Have Arthritis of the Knee

Arthritis of the Knee

Commonly, age is a big risk factor for arthritis of the knee. However, that does not mean younger people cannot get arthritis too. While some people develop arthritis after an injury, others can develop it after an infection. You may also be at risk of developing arthritis of the knee if you are overweight. This is due to the extra weight that the knee has to bear.

Whatever your risk factor or reason for developing arthritis of the knee, the symptoms remain the same. If you are concerned that you may be showing some signs of arthritis, this article will highlight some of the common symptoms. We will also discuss some of the different types of arthritis that can affect the knee joint.

Read on to learn about the arthritis of the knee symptoms and available treatment options.

Types of Arthritis That Can Affect the Knee

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis of the knee. This particular type of arthritis occurs as a result of cartilage loss. This loss of cartilage may lead to the knee joints rubbing together.

During the early stages of osteoarthritis, you may experience knee pain only during specific activities. However, as it progresses, you may start feeling pain during normal daily activities.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This arthritis of the knee causes inflammation of the knee joint. Inflammation may lead to the knee feeling stiff, swollen, or warm, as well as being painful.

With rheumatoid arthritis, once one knee is affected, it is highly likely that the other will also be affected too.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Just like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disease. The symptoms of this are similar and include stiffness, tenderness, swelling, and pain.

Gout

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. It can often cause acid crystals to build-up within the knee joint. Once crystals have been collected in the soft tissue, it can lead to excruciating pain. You may also experience some swelling, warmth, and redness around the joint.

Reactive Arthritis

As the name suggests, reactive arthritis develops as a reaction to either an infection or STD. Even months after the infection has been treated, an individual can still experience pain. While reactive arthritis commonly affects the knee, it can affect other joints too.

Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

The Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Here are a few of the symptoms of arthritis of the knee:

#1 Increase of Pain

Pain that is associated with arthritis usually starts slowly. Conversely, it can also sometimes appear suddenly. To begin with, you may first notice pain when you wake first thing in the morning. You may even experience pain after a period of sitting down.

Individuals with arthritis may also experience pain when they climb the stairs, kneel, or even stand up from a sitting position. It is also not unheard of to feel pain while you are in a sitting position. To help ease your pain, you may find that resting reduces it a little.

#2 Swelling

Patients with arthritis of the knee can sometimes experience inflammation around the knee area. There are two different types of swelling:

Hard swelling – This is a cause of the formation of bone spurs.

Soft swelling – This develops through the extra fluid that is collecting around the joint.

If you have noticeable swelling, you may notice that it is worse after a prolonged period of inactivity. For example, when you wake up in the morning.

#3 Locking of the Knee

Over time, individuals with arthritis of the knee can cause damage to the knee joint. This damage can often cause the structure of the knee to become weak. Because of this, your knee may from time to time either lock or buckle.

As the cartilage erodes in arthritis patients, the bones start rubbing together. As a result, bone spurs can develop. Bone spurs create an uneven surface that can cause the knee joint to lock. This locking can lead the knee to be difficult to straighten out.

#4 Crackly Sounds

A common sign of arthritis of the knee is a creaking or crackly sound when the knee moves. You may notice that when you bend your knee, you start feeling grinding. Cracking noises will often accompany this.

The reason why these noises occur is through the loss of cartilage. Cartilage is what helps with a smoother range of motion. So, with a loss of cartilage, the range of motion can be affected as a result of a rougher surface. This rough surface makes the joints rub together.

#5 Reduced Mobility

As we have already mentioned, the loss of cartilage can affect the smooth motion of the knee. This can directly affect your mobility. For instance, you may start finding it more difficult walking, standing up, or carrying on with your normal daily activities.

#6 Knee Stiffness

People with arthritis of the knee may often experience stiffness. Especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while.

#7 Loss of Joint Space

Many symptoms of arthritis are noticeable, however, not all of them are. Some symptoms are invisible unless you have x-rays. An x-ray will be able to detect if there is any internal damage to the knee. The cartilage will normally occupy a designated space around the knee bones. This will help to cushion the joint when in motion. Through a loss of cartilage, there will often be a space left around the bones.

#8 Knee Deformities

In addition to physical pain and internal damage, there can also be a change in the appearance of the knee too. As the damage progresses over time, you may notice some redness. However, in the long-term, damage to the cartilage and leads to a misshapen knee.

Individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee may eventually develop the appearance of a sunken knee. Knees can also begin pointing toward each other or bend outward.

The deformity that you experience will range from hardly noticeable at all to severe.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Knee Arthritis

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are experiencing some signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee, your next step should be to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will want to carry out a physical examination to confirm this. Plus, that way your doctor can rule out any other medical condition that may be causing your symptoms.

During your appointment, your doctor will want to speak with you about your symptoms. You should make sure to clarify with your doctor what activities make your pain worse or better. This will help your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

It may also be helpful to find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. As it may be hereditary.

If necessary, your doctor may request some testing to be done. For example, x-rays to show cartilage damage and bone spurs. Your doctor may also request an MRI scan or blood tests.

Once you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the knee, your doctor will discuss the next steps. The treatment plan aims to achieve a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility for the patient. A typical treatment plan may include a combination of the following:

Physical Therapy – If your arthritis is reducing your mobility, you may need some help to make your daily activities easier. A physical therapist will work with you to help you perform your usual activities with less pain.

Weight Loss – If weight loss is needed, this will make a big improvement. If your knee is struggling with the weight that it has to carry, weight loss will help significantly.

Unloader Braces – This type of brace will help by removing the weight off of the side of the affected knee.

Support Braces – This type of brace provides overall support to the entire knee.

Exercise – To strengthen the knee muscles, exercise is a great plan of action. Exercises can help to reduce pain by making the joint more stable.

Pain Relief – Your doctor may prescribe you some pain relief and/or anti-inflammatory medication.

Surgery – If other treatments do not work as well as expected, surgery is often a good option.