The cause of osteoarthritis of the knee varies from one person to another. However, this type of arthritis mostly affects older people who are above the age of 50 years. This is why osteoarthritis is also referred to as wear and tear arthritis. It, however, doesn’t mean that younger people are not at risk. Excessive weight, heredity, sports injuries, and repetitive stress on the knee joints also cause osteoarthritis of the knees. People suffering from other illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis, excessive growth hormones, and metabolic disorders are also at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
The Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis of the Knee
While age is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, young people can get it, too. For some individuals, it may be hereditary. For others, osteoarthritis of the knee can result from injury or infection or even from being overweight. Here are answers to your questions about knee osteoarthritis, including how it’s treated and what you can do at home to ease the pain. Read more here
When the bones of the knee joint start rubbing together due to loss of the protection provided by the cartilages, the outcome is pain, stiffness, swelling, difficulty in moving, and sometimes, bone spurs can start forming. The x-ray will not show the cartilage, but the image can show a narrowing of space between the bones closer to your joint. If you have bone spurs, the x-ray will reveal this. An MRI is not necessary to diagnose osteoarthritis, but in complex cases, the doctor may recommend it.
In the following article, the writer discusses other tests, besides the x-ray and MRI, that can be used to confirm osteoarthritis of the knees.
Lab Tests to Confirm Osteoarthritis
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your affected joint for tenderness, swelling, redness and flexibility. To get pictures of the affected joint, your doctor might recommend x-rays. Cartilage doesn’t show up on X-ray images, but cartilage loss is revealed by a narrowing of the space between the bones in your joint. Read more here
Besides asking you to have an x-ray or MRI performed, the doctor may also request for lab tests. An analysis of your blood can help to rule out other causes of the joint pain. For example, the doctor can eliminate the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. Joint fluid analysis is done on the affected area, in this case, the knee, to check the level of inflammation, and to determine if other diseases, such as gout, is the cause.
Deformities Associated with Severe Osteoarthritis
There are three different types of arthritis that can occur in your knees. The most common type is osteoarthritis (OA), a progressive condition that slowly wears away joint cartilage. OA is most likely to occur after middle age. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that can strike at any age.
Post-traumatic arthritis develops following an injury to the knee. It can occur years after a torn meniscus, ligament injury, or knee fracture. It’s possible to have more than one type of arthritis at a time. See your doctor for a diagnosis and to discuss a successful treatment plan for the specific type or types of arthritis you have.
Arthritis is a degenerative disease. If you don’t seek treatment, it will only get worse. The symptoms will become more severe, but things could rapidly deteriorate. As you continue to lose the cartilage around your knee joint, the muscles in this area become equally thin and weak. After some time, your knee joint will appear sunken, your knees may start pointing towards each other or even point outwards. Some knee deformities may not be visible, while others can be so severe and debilitating.