Arthritis - Hip and Knee

What is it?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee and hip arthritis. Your knee joint is made up of a hinge joint, and the hip is a ball and socket joint. A healthy joint moves easily because of a smooth, slippery tissue called articular cartilage. Cartilage covers and protects the bones that make up your joints. Osteoarthritis causes this cartilage to wear away.

How it happens?

Osteoarthritis occurs over time. When the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough. Moving these bones along this exposed surface is painful.

If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, the damaged bones may start to grow outwards and form painful spurs.

Symptoms

  • Stiffness

  • Pain associated with movement

  • Joint swelling

  • Muscle weakness

  • Joint instability

  • Reduced range of movement

  • Sounds within the joints


Mechanism of Injury

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Previous significant injury to the joint

  • Increasing age

  • Repetitive movements associated with an occupation

  • Genetics – the genes you inherit can play a role in the development of osteoarthritis

  • Gender – women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis


Common Management Techniques

Conservative Management

Lifestyle changes

  • Exercise – switch from high impact exercises (ie running) to low impact exercises (ie. Swimming, cycling)

  • Weight loss – losing some kilograms can cause a 4x reduction of stress on the joint.

  • Icing after activity

  • Pain Management

  • Referral to a doctor for anti-inflammatory medication

  • Corticosteroid injection


Surgical management

  • Sometimes required in patients who continue to have symptoms regardless of many treatments.



Prognosis

In most cases of osteoarthritis surgery is not required. However, if you have tried all non-surgical treatments options without success, and you are still experiencing significant pain and loss of function, then surgery may be an option.


The most common surgery for osteoarthritis is a total joint replacement. When considering surgery you should be informed about what it involves, the rehabilitation process, its likely benefits and any potential risks. Arthroscopy is not recommended for people with osteoarthritis