Arthritis is a painful condition associated with the swelling of a joint. The causes range from non-inflammatory types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, which is a degeneration of the cartilage of the knee, to inflammatory types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout). Treatment of arthritis is directed by the specific type.
Pain can occur in the knee from diseases or conditions that involve the knee joint, the soft tissues and bones surrounding the knee, or the nerves that supply sensation to the knee area. The knee joint is commonly affected by rheumatic diseases and immune diseases that affect various tissues of the body including the joints.
Osteoarthritis (OA): is caused by aging joints, injury, and obesity. OA symptoms include joint pain and stiffness. Treatment depends on the affected joint, and involves medication and exercise. If you are overweight, weight loss may improve OA symptoms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Unlike osteoarthritis, a condition caused by wear and tear on joints, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system targets joint linings. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that also affects other tissue, however, the joints are usually the most severely affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men. In fact, 70% of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis are women. In addition, there’s an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women who have never been pregnant or who have recently given birth.
The primary goal of treating osteoarthritis of the knee is to relieve the pain and return mobility. The treatment plan will typically include a combination of weight loss, exercise, pain relief and perhaps corticosteroid injections. In addition, physical therapy and surgery may be recommended.