There are diseases that progress over time. It is impossible to completely cure them, as well as return to the starting point, but it is quite possible to diagnose and stop them in a timely manner. Previously, it was possible to find the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee joint in older people, but now the disease "becomes younger" and is often the cause of disability. So what are the signs that you need to pay attention to in time to start treatment?
The essence of what is happening.
Before starting treatment or determining the specific signs of the disease, it is necessary to understand what is happening in the joint.
The articular surfaces of human bones are covered with cartilage. In some joints, such as the knee, there are menisci, layers of cartilage that act as shock absorbers. The joint fluid produced by the capsule acts as a lubricant.
Polyarthrosis is a disease when all or most of the joints in the body are affected. The disease develops as a result of destruction of articular cartilage and exposure of bone.
When the knee joint is affected, changes in joint fluid production also occur. Some or all of the cartilage is lost, and over time the joint wears down. When this is observed in most joints, the diagnosis is made: polyarthrosis.
The body tries to cope with such a violation, as well as limit pain. With the progression of the disease, the joint is deformed, the bones begin to grow due to spikes (osteophytes). They can often be felt on probing in advanced situations, when polyarthrosis has developed. The surface of the bones is uneven and they do not fit together. The result is limited mobility.
From the above symptoms, it becomes clear that these are not salts, which everyone is so used to thinking about with pain in the knee.
When to sound the alarm
The first thing that manifests itself in knee osteoarthritis, or polyarthrosis, is pain, which can occur after prolonged physical exertion or simply bother you all the time. Its nature is different, often the pain intensifies in the evening or at night, preventing sleep, leading to disruption of normal life. Already at this stage, it is worth visiting your doctor, because the simplest diagnosis - an x-ray - can reveal a violation, and in some cases, polyarthrosis. The image will show a narrowing of the joint space, indicating a thinning of the cartilage.
There are three grades of osteoarthritis, each of which has its own specific signs. With its help, you can also suspect polyrthrosis, which will require special treatment.
In the first stage, the pain is not strong, and it seems to many that it will pass soon. In addition, there is discomfort and a slight swelling that occurs periodically. This will require minor treatment, which will be discussed below. In addition, laser therapy and other physical therapies are indicated.
In the second degree, the symptoms become more complex, a crunch is added to all of the above and mobility is impaired. There may be a slight hemorrhage.
Laser therapy and the doctor's recommendations on taking medications can help in this case. If this is not done, the pain will be permanently accentuated and it will be time to think about the third degree.
In the third stage, the integrity of the cartilage is completely destroyed. The pain is constant, and one cannot speak of a normal gait. Climbing stairs becomes a real problem, the joints swell. When moving, a pronounced crunch occurs, the joint is deformed, and pain is felt on palpation.
Polyarthrosis is additionally manifested by reddening of the skin, it is hot to the touch. In the skin there is a hemorrhage as a result of the bursting of blood vessels or a venous network. If this cosmetic defect interferes, then it is really possible to get rid of it with a laser.
In the later stages, the person becomes unstable as a result of weak muscles and ligaments. Walking is possible only with the support of a cane, and even for short distances. It all ends with a deformity of the knee, which not even a laser can correct. Changes can no longer be reversed, a person is disabled. In this case, the joints unfold towards each other or in opposite directions.
Medical diagnostics may reveal a slight change in shape, and in the case of significant changes, additional diagnostics will be required. Usually the doctor prescribes an x-ray, which shows changes in the joints. A more subtle diagnosis is made using computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and in addition, an ultrasound of the knee joint is used.
Treatment of this disease excites many, and only a doctor can figure it out. The arsenal of drugs is very large, it is impossible to use them without control.
With improper use of drugs, a stomach ulcer can also add to arthrosis. But it is almost impossible to restore damaged cartilage.
First of all, the doctor prescribes the patient nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which, along with inflammation, relieve pain. But the treatment does not end there. Exercises, physiotherapy are widely used. Special therapeutic exercises are selected only by a doctor, then he gives the maximum therapeutic effect. Especially in more detail.
The main treatment falls on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Additionally, agents are used that improve cartilage nutrition and favor its gradual regeneration. The most proven in this regard are drugs based on glucosamine and chondroitin. Special creams and ointments that have a local effect allow you to correct the treatment.
It is worth noting that drugs reduce pain and relieve inflammation, but it is very dangerous to use them constantly. Treatment for a long time negatively affects the condition of the gastric mucosa, liver and heart. Recently, they began to produce drugs with a minimal negative effect, according to some manufacturers, they can be used for several months.
Gymnastics and physiotherapy
Complementary therapies can improve blood flow and therefore joint nutrition. Special exercises can strengthen ligaments and muscles. That's just the effect of gymnastics in the early stages, when the joint has not changed much. Exercises are selected strictly individually, depending on the severity of the course of the disease and the physical capabilities of the patient.
Also, exercises are supplemented by physiotherapy, there are a huge number of them. Magnetotherapy, laser therapy, diodynamics, UHF, novocaine electrophoresis, ultrasound and much more are used.
injections in the joint
In the later stages, when physiotherapy or laser does not help, to relieve pain they resort to injections into the joint cavity. Preparations based on hyaluronic acid are introduced, which increase the restorative properties of cartilage. The introduction of hormonal drugs is often practiced, however, this is not safe, because over time the duration of the therapeutic effect is reduced, and the cartilage simply becomes unusable.
Joint replacement is the last resort when your own joint cannot be saved and can no longer function. This operation is called arthroplasty, and it allows you to almost completely restore the lost function, eliminate pain. In fact, it is possible to replace the entire joint (total arthroplasty) or its most altered part. At the present stage, the level of surgical technique, manufactured implants is so perfect that it allows to obtain successful results and to introduce this method of treatment everywhere.
It is not difficult to diagnose polyarthrosis of the knee, especially if you pay attention to the characteristic symptoms. A visit to the doctor will allow you to refute or confirm the diagnosis. There are many treatment options, as well as the choice of drugs, which allows you to quickly get rid of pain. But it is not worth taking your knees for joint replacement, because your native joint is much better than an artificial one, no matter how high the quality.