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Osteoarthritis Doctor Main Line, PA

The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Doctor Main Line, PAIf you have been suffering from chronic knee pain, it might be time to schedule an appointment with an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA. 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.  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. Approximately one in two people will develop osteoarthritis. 

Whenever you are experiencing chronic knee pain, you should consult with an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA. This is because 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. Once 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, a treatment plan can be developed 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 a 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. 

Stage 2 – Mild OA

In stage 2 OA, an X-ray of the knee joint may display more growth of bone spurs while the space in between the bones remains normal. You may begin to experience mild to moderate joint pain around the knee as well as stiffness and discomfort. This might intensify when you’re sitting for long periods of time, after exercising, or upon waking up. Soft tissue and cartilage may still be at a healthy size; however, a breakdown of proteolytic enzymes (proteins) could be occurring. 

When a knee doctor diagnoses stage 2 OA, he or she might develop an individualized plan of treatment to reduce or stop the progression of the disease. This could include:

  • A strict exercise regime
  • Braces or knee supports
  • Shoe inserts
  • Dietary adjustments
  • Physical therapy

Stage 3 – Moderate OA

When an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA finds obvious erosion of cartilage around the knee, the gap in 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 fluid of the knee 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 a common occurrence. 

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. Depending on the severity of the OA, you may need three to five injections over a period of 3 -5 weeks. Typically the injections will relieve the symptoms for approximately 6 months. 

Stage 4 – Severe OA

Stage 4 OA results in a significant reduction of space in between the bones as well as 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 especially 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 the course of several months. 

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.