Staying Mobile With Age

Some may say age is just a state of mind, but the body doesn’t always agree. A good example of this phenomenon is joint pain. Discomfort in the body’s joints can occur for various reasons. While a sedentary lifestyle and overuse are common culprits, arthritis is a degenerative joint condition that can also curtail mobility. Multiple forms of arthritis can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain. Some people can get relief through at-home remedies, but in some cases, surgery is necessary.


Causes of knee arthritis

Multiple types of arthritis can contribute to knee pain. However, osteoarthritis (OA) tends to be the most common form. Genetics can also play a role for some people, especially if a family history exists for the disease. Age is another major factor, as OA is more common in older adults. Being overweight, having a history of previous knee injuries, and overuse from strenuous activities can also lead to osteoarthritis. For some people, bone anomalies might also encourage OA to develop.

Managing OA pain

Currently, no cure exists for osteoarthritis in the knees. Some individuals can manage pain, swelling, and discomfort with conservative at-home treatments. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications, alternating between hot and cold therapy, adjusting footwear for more support and comfort, and using support devices like a knee brace or cane can be beneficial. Additionally, some OA patients may find that occasionally opting for a cortisone shot can help provide long-term relief throughout the year.

When to consider surgery

While many individuals can control symptoms and still live full lives, the same can’t be said for all people. A person with OA should be mindful of the following signs that indicate knee joint replacement might be a smarter choice. If mobility declines or is severely limited because of arthritis, a new knee might be needed. In particular, if simple acts like walking up and down stairs, walking on flat surfaces, or still experiencing pain and stiffness with a walker or cane are present, consider a total knee replacement.

Difficulty with pain management

If OTC medications are no longer doing the trick, the damage in the knee may be too progressive to ignore. Likewise, if even prescription-strength medications aren’t alleviating pain, the condition has become serious. Similarly, if cortisone shots are no longer blunting pain for the expected time frame, consider speaking with a doctor.

Constant pain

Feeling discomfort immediately after activity can be expected, especially for a person with osteoarthritis. However, if the pain is a constant fixture throughout the day, don’t ignore the signs that the knee has experienced pervasive damage. Rather than prolong the problem, speak with a specialist to discuss treatment options.

How joint replacement helps

Total knee replacement or knee arthroscopy is a procedure where the damaged joint is completely removed. Usually, the bones are replaced with prosthetics made from ceramic, metal, plastic, or a combination of the options. Don’t suffer from reduced mobility that can ultimately impact the quality of life. If the above warning signs are constant fixtures in daily life, consider speaking with a healthcare provider to learn more about total knee replacement.

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