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Arthritis in the Knee

There is no simple response to ‘what causes arthritis?’ Not only are there many factors to take into consideration as to the antecedent, but there are three different types of arthritis that can affect the knees.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in the knee. This is a progressive condition that slowly wears away joint cartilage. Typically, osteoarthritis is most likely to occur after middle age.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that occurs at any age.

Post-traumatic arthritis develops following a knee injury. It can develop years after a torn meniscus, ligament injury, or knee fracture.

Although not common, it is possible to have more than one type of arthritis at one time. In order to effectively treat the arthritis it is very important to get a proper diagnosis.

Arthritic Pain

Arthritic pain can occur suddenly, but for most people it is more likely to develop slowly. In the beginning there may be some pain in the morning or after a period of inactivity. The knees may hurt as you climb or descend stairs, stand up from a sitting position, or kneel. In some cases the simple act of walking can cause pain.

Some individuals feel pain while in a sitting position. Damp weather or other changes in weather can bring on pain.

Knee pain that interrupts sleep can be a symptom of osteoarthritis.

Inflammation is often associated with arthritis of the knee. The formation of bone spurs (osteophytes) or a build up of fluids in the knee is often the cause of this. Swelling may be more pronounced after a long period of inactivity, such as waking up in the morning. The skin around the knee may appear red or feel warm to the touch. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the inflammation and pain can become chronic and no relief may be found through the use of an over-the counter pills.

Possible Causes of Arthritis:

• Injury to the knee
• Infections – such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease
• Immune system dysfunction
• Physically demanding occupations
• Over use (or improper use) of the knee via recreational activities

Most types of arthritis are caused by a combination of many factors working together. Some people may be more susceptible to certain arthritic conditions due to their genetic makeup. Additional factors, such as smoking and diet can further increase the risk of arthritis.

Risk Factors for Arthritis:

Certain factors have been shown to be associated with a greater risk of arthritis. Some of these risk factors are modifiable while others are not. Below is a list that encompasses all forms of arthritis, not just arthritis in the knee.

Non-modifiable risk factors:

Age – Usually developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
Gender – most types of arthritis are more common in females.
Genetics – Depending on genetics, there is a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Modifiable risk factors:

Weight – Excess weight can help to cause the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
Joint injuries – Damage to a joint can cause the onset of osteoarthritis in that specific joint.
Infection – Many microbial agents can infect joints and trigger various forms of arthritis.
Occupation and Recreation – Some occupations (and recreational activities) involve repetitive knee bending and squatting that are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Foods to Avoid

Sugar is the first item to eliminate from your diet. Refined sugar, white rice, refined flour, processed foods, dairy and alcohol should all be greatly reduced, or better still, eliminated. Consulting with a qualified health professional is important if you have arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory Foods

Garlic – Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that can help fight the pain, inflammation and cartilage damage of arthritis. Fresh, local garlic is much preferred.

Turmeric – Curcumin is the active chemical that blocks the inflammatory cytosine and enzymes in two inflammatory pathways. Turmeric is most effective in combination with black pepper, which helps the body absorb it better. Fresh turmeric is preferred over the powder form.

Ginger – Gingerol and shogaol are the chemicals in ginger that help to prevent and fight inflammation. Always use fresh.

Cayenne – Chili peppers contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain types of exercise can help maintain your knee function and relieve pain, including water aerobics and strength training. Losing excess weight can help relieve pain by lessening the pressure on the knees.

There are natural remedies that may help as well such as methylsulfonylmethane, a sulfurous compound found in many foods. It is mainly known as MSM and it is important for healthy joints and bones.

Seeking advice from a qualified health professional can help you attain relief and in many cases treat the symptoms of arthritis. Contact us for more information about our OA Knee Program.

Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help you manage and possibly treat your arthritis. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.