The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis
If you suffer from chronic knee pain, it might be time to schedule an appointment with an osteoarthritis doctor Main Line, PA residents turn to. Chronic knee pain is one of the most common health issues that affect many people. It has several causes, from osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions, aging, and sports injuries. Osteoarthritis can affect people of any age but most commonly occurs in people in their 50’s or older. When left untreated, it can worsen and become more challenging to manage. If you suffer from knee pain, there are available treatment options that may be effective for you. Call the Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania to take the first steps in alleviating your knee pain.
The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in the joints and can affect the hands, knees, elbows, and hips. It causes moderate to severe pain, limiting mobility and function. Osteoarthritis in the knee hinders the functioning of the knee and causes chronic knee pain. As the condition progresses, it can lead to difficulty walking or eventually complete disability. Knee pain caused by osteoarthritis prevents people from doing many everyday things and enjoying activities. Approximately one in two people will develop osteoarthritis. Over the years, there have been many advanced and effective treatments developed designed for patients who suffer from osteoarthritis. It is strongly advised that you explore the treatments that may be most helpful for you so you can find relief from osteoarthritis knee pain.
Whenever you are experiencing chronic knee pain, you should consult with an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, Pennsylvania. OA can be prevalent without showing on an X-ray. A knee doctor can easily diagnose OA through various diagnostic methods, including an assessment of symptoms. Only an experienced knee doctor will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis, so you should never attempt to self-diagnose. They use an assortment of tools to determine the severity of your condition. Once the osteoarthritis has been diagnosed, you can be prescribed an appropriate plan of treatment to reduce or eliminate knee pain.
Stage 0 – Normal Knee Health – No OA
When there are no signs or symptoms of osteoarthritis, an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA, will classify the stage as 0. This means there will be no need for OA treatment. If you’re experiencing knee pain, and OA is not the problem, a knee doctor may consider other conditions, including an acute knee injury. If this is true, providers can develop a treatment plan to address your specific symptoms.
Stage 1 – Minor OA
A patient with stage 1 osteoarthritis may have minor wear and tear of the knee and develop bone spurs at the ends of the knee joint. It is very likely that you won’t notice any discomfort or pain in the knee. At this point, our Main Line, Pennsylvania, osteoarthritis doctor might not recommend any form of treatment. It may be suggested to take supplements including glucosamine in addition to making lifestyle changes such as incorporating exercise into your daily routine. These supplements will help reduce inflammation, strengthen your bones, and reduce friction so that you will feel less pain due to osteoarthritis.
Stage 2 – Mild OA
In stage 2 OA, an X-ray of the knee joint may display more bone spur growth while the space between the bones remains normal. You may begin to experience mild to moderate joint pain around the knee and stiffness and discomfort. This might intensify when you’re sitting for long periods, after exercising, or upon waking up. Soft tissue and cartilage may still be healthy; however, a breakdown of proteolytic enzymes (proteins) could occur.
When a knee doctor diagnoses stage 2 OA, they might develop an individualized plan of treatment to reduce or stop the progression of the disease. The plan could include:
- A strict exercise regime
- Braces or knee supports
- Shoe inserts
- Dietary adjustments
- Physical therapy
After starting your treatment plan, adjusting to the treatment methods and seeing results will take some time. You may not see results until a few sessions into your program. Depending on your progress, the knee doctor may make modifications so that you are more comfortable. Everyone experiences different results at different times, so expect to see a gradual improvement of your symptoms. If you have any questions about your treatment plan, discuss them with your doctor, and they can address your concerns.
Stage 3 – Moderate OA
When an osteoarthritis doctor Main Line, PA, finds noticeable cartilage erosion around the knee, the gap between the bones may start to narrow. At the same time, the knee joints may develop spurs, and fragments of collagen may be released into the knee fluid, causing a progression of the disease. Joint inflammation and chronic pain when walking, squatting, or running may be frequent. Stiffness and popping sounds might also be common occurrences.
You may be prescribed non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs or, in some cases, strong pain medications. A knee doctor might suggest alternative treatments such as:
- Fluoroscope injections
- Physical therapy
- Viscosupplementation injections
- Dietary and lifestyle changes
- + More
Stage 3 OA can be treated using aggressive methods such as injections. Knee injections are a good option for treating moderate to severe osteoarthritis because they provide significant relief and have a lower risk of side effects compared to traditional treatments like surgery and medications. Depending on the severity of the OA, you may need three to five injections over 3 -5 weeks. Typically the injections will relieve the symptoms for approximately six months. Many patients who have been treated with injections find that they experience relief shortly after receiving them. Not everyone is a good candidate for knee injections, so make sure to discuss your medical history with your knee doctor and see if injections are appropriate for you.
Stage 4 – Severe OA
Stage 4 OA results in a significant reduction of space between the bones and an extreme breakdown of cartilage. You may experience chronic inflammation, pain, and discomfort whenever the knee joint is in motion. As the disease progresses, more spurs may grow, leading to what some people say is excruciating pain. Walking or standing could be incredibly challenging.
A knee doctor might suggest a bone realignment surgery which involves cutting the bone to shorten its length and then realigning it so that there is less stress on the joint of the knee. A replacement of the knee might be another option. Both types of surgeries carry a certain amount of risk and will require physical therapy over several months.
Find Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery!
When you are experiencing osteoarthritis, you may be looking into getting knee replacement surgery. Many doctors will tell you that this will be the best option for getting rid of your knee pain. However, there are other, better options to try before resorting to surgery, and often, patients who have gone through knee surgery find that pain creeps up again when they think it is gone forever. Don’t think that surgery should be your first or only option. There are plenty of non-invasive and risky treatments available that may even be more effective than surgery, which is always not the most effective. Surgery is expensive and comes with many risks of complications. Always talk to a knee doctor to discuss which option and treatment method is best for your condition. We believe that we can help you with your knee osteoarthritis before the only option left is surgery. Want to see what we can do for you? Reach out to our office now.
Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis
Your doctor may speak with you about physical therapy as one of the options for the pain you are experiencing with osteoarthritis. Physical therapy is an excellent treatment method for patients that suffer from chronic knee pain. It consists of a treatment plan that combines exercises, stretches, and other therapies to improve your range of motion and flexibility. You can complete physical therapy in several sessions over a few weeks to months, depending on your condition and at your own pace. Your body works better when you can strengthen the muscles around your knee. Strengthening the muscles will help improve flexibility, range of motion and increase circulation around the affected area. Done correctly, you may notice signs of improvement after just a few physical therapy sessions. Your doctor may also recommend you apply ice, heat, or a combination of the two to help with circulation and inflammation. Talk to a trusted knee doctor to see what benefits a physical therapy program might provide for you.
Other options that your doctor may recommend are knee injections. Depending on the type of injection, you may find pretty quick relief. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, for example, can help your knee utilize your own body’s healing properties to begin naturally healing your knee. By using your own plasma, you are less likely to have side effects from the shot except for mild soreness at the site of injection. Hyaluronic acid injections may also be an option. This type of injection can help cushion and lubricate the area around your knee joint to feel less pain and even have greater mobility.
Your knees take most of the weight when you perform routine activities like standing, walking, running, and squatting. Because of this, you may find that if you are packing on a few extra pounds managing your weight with healthier nutrition and low-impact exercises can help reduce the extra pressure on your knee. Many doctors recommend activities such as:
- Riding a bike
- Using an elliptical machine
While you cannot cure osteoarthritis, you can treat the symptoms and begin the healing process. Do not wait to contact a doctor from our office to learn about how we can help you with your knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis in your hands
Osteoarthritis can affect one or several areas of your hands. These areas often include the tips of the fingers, the middle knuckle of each finger, the joint connecting the thumb and the wrist, and the wrist itself. The joints that are mainly affected determine the symptoms that occur. These symptoms often include:
- trouble moving your fingers
- reduced range of motion
- crunching sound when you move your fingers
- trouble gripping or holding onto objects
Women are more prone to OA in their hands than men and usually get it at a younger age. Hand OA can have a big impact on your ability to do the tasks associated with day-to-day living. However, treatments ranging from lifestyle changes to surgery can help.
Osteoarthritis in your hips
OA can occur in one or both hips. In this way, it differs from RA, which usually occurs in both hips simultaneously.
Hip OA is a slowly degenerative condition. Many people find that they can combat their symptoms for many years by using medication, exercise, and physical therapy. Supports, such as canes, can also help.
If the condition worsens, steroid injections, other medications, or surgery can help provide relief. Alternative therapies can also help, and new technologies are on the horizon.
Osteoarthritis in your knees
Like hip OA, knee OA can occur in one or both knees. Age, genetics, and knee injury may all play a role in knee OA.
Athletes who concentrate solely on one sport that creates extensive, repetitive motion, such as running or tennis, may be at increased risk of OA. Likewise, if you pursue only one type of physical activity, this may overuse some muscles and underuse others, causing weakness and instability in the knee joint. Varying your activities helps work different muscle groups, allowing all the muscles around your knee to be strengthened.
Treatment for knee OA depends on the stage of the condition.
Osteoarthritis knee brace
Wearing a brace around your knee can be an excellent non-surgical treatment for knee OA. Braces can reduce swelling and pressure. They can also increase stability in your knee by shifting your weight away from the damaged part of your knee. This allows for greater mobility.
There are several types of knee braces. Some may be custom fitted for you, and others are available OTC. Your doctor may recommend that you try different kinds of braces for various activities.
When You’re Experiencing Knee Pain, Call the Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania
If you have been experiencing knee pain, you should consult a knee doctor for a professional diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. To schedule a consultation with an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA today, call the Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania.
Managing Pain From Osteoarthritis
Our osteoarthritis doctor, available in Main Line, PA, is dedicated to supporting patients suffering from the ailments that come with a condition like osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that many people suffer from and a diagnosis that is not one people can fully recover from. No person who has been diagnosed will be able to walk away free of osteoarthritis. However, despite this- there are ways to treat symptoms and mitigate them. Osteoarthritis can be incredibly debilitating for those who are managing the symptoms accompanied by the diagnosis. Osteoarthritis affects a person’s joints. At Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania, we aim to help you treat symptoms and reach a place to live the fullest life possible after receiving a diagnosis.
To learn that you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis can be devastating but, if you have been suffering from symptoms such as pain and a limited range of motion- your diagnosis may come with some relief. Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the tissue at the end of the bone wears down. Typically this happens over time and has an impact on the joints. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, leaving patients to require assistance from a doctor for symptom management. Several areas of the body might be impacted, such as:
Cartilage acts as lubrication for the joints and protects them as the body moves. Typically when the body functions normally- it allows for movement without pain. The impact of osteoarthritis can be far-reaching. Those suffering experience symptoms that can severely impact the way a person lives their life. Our Main Line, Pennsylvania osteoarthritis doctor, can play a crucial role in managing symptoms for patients hoping to live fuller lives free from pain.
Why is Treatment for Osteoarthritis Important?
Osteoarthritis has a severe impact on a person’s body. Over time, the tissue between the bones (or cartilage) begins to wear away. When someone is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the bones will rub together, and as this occurs, severe symptoms result, including pain, limited range of motion, stiffness, and more.
Advantages of Seeking Care for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis should not go untreated, and having care from a professional who treats osteoarthritis will be critical to alleviating symptoms and managing pain. Advantages of medical treatment can offer a variety of benefits, including:
- Relief from Pain
- Reduced Stiffness/Improved Range of Motion
- Live a Life Free from Pain Medications
Seeking care from a doctor can help to gain control over your symptoms and ailments. Accessing the benefits of treatments is critical in that those suffering pain can experience relief and a better outcome in their daily life.
Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania offer experience and cutting-edge treatments aimed at assisting patients when they need it the most. Our doctors are dedicated to helping clients manage symptoms and will take the time to carefully listen to them to develop a treatment plan that is customized to meet their needs. To learn more about how or Main Line, Pennsylvania osteoarthritis doctor can assist you- schedule an appointment with our practice as soon as possible.