QUESTION

How do deal with the arthritis in my knee as a 28 year old?


curated by 263 crowd contributors

We pulled together 14 of the most popular web sites to create this page, including www.rheumatoidarthritisguy.com, lnholmes.wordpress.com, well.blogs.nytimes.com. We've organized their information into the most commonly discussed topics below, ranging from Exercise and arthritis to Rheumatoid arthritis definition/description. A total of 58 crowdworkers were involved during the process, of which 31 of them gathered the information, 27 of them organized the information by different topics, and 0 of them synthesized the information into this article.


Overview

Exercise and arthritis: Dealing with arthritis effectively requires and understanding of why osteoarthritis occurs and becoming knowledgeable about what may be done to manage and prevent it. Fortunately, research has found that exercise and physical therapy are just as effective as surgery in treating chronic knee pain related to arthritis. There are may ways in which exercise, aerobic exercises, and proper stretching can alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis and how to treat it: This article discusses what osteoarthritis is and how a person gets it. It explores treatment options and ways to combat the effects of the disease.

Diagnosis of arthritis: It is about arthritis and how to go about getting it looked at and diagnoased. And what to expect when you have i t

Living with rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis can bring about many problems. It's important for RA patients to have a good support system. Lastly, it's important to be educated about the disease and share the knowledge with your friends and family

Young adults with arthritis: Young adults suffer from debilitating Rheumatoid arthritis. Conventional anti-inflammatory drugs have toxic side effects. Young adults are reluctant to discuss their illness.

Arthritis diagnosis: Arthritis occurs when the cartilage wears out on our joints.

Research on effectiveness of arthroscopy: There are many ways to treat arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis definition/description: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases tend to affect women more than men. They can flare up on occasion and flares can be caused by stress, foods, or other things.


Exercise and arthritis

What is osteoarthritis? In a healthy knee joint, a slippery tissue called cartilage fills the spaces between the bones and cushions the bones as they move. Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage wears away due to daily use -- or overuse. The ends of the bones begin to rub against each other and often develop spurs and cysts. In addition, the tissue that lines the joint may become inflamed and the ligaments and muscles that support the joint weaken.

What can be done to treat arthritis?
Nonsurgical management starts with weight loss and muscle strengthening. Each pound of weight can put up to 6 pounds worth of pressure on the knee joint during activity.
Exercise. Regular, low-impact exercise will not only help you to lose weight, it can help prevent knee OA and manage symptoms in other ways. Often people who have arthritis of the knee cut back on their physical activity to avoid pain. But that's the worst thing you can do. It's critical to keep the knee joint mobile and flexible and to strengthen the muscles around it. You can do that by combining aerobic exercise with strengthening and flexibility exercises.

1. Tone your core muscles Abdominal weakness will cause your pelvis to tilt forward, creating excessive low-back curvature and shifting the leg bones inward. You can experiment with this yourself: Over-arch your back and notice how your legs and knees want to roll in toward the midline of the body. Then flatten your back and notice how the opposite movement occurs at the legs. Strengthening the core helps to keep your back in a neutral spine position and places the lower extremities — specifically the knees — in the best possible position for movement without joint compression. There are so many ways to strengthen your abdominal muscles besides doing crunches.

2. Exercises that will increase quadriceps, hamstring and calf strength include ¼ squats, leg press and leg extension. These exercises should be pain free and done with limited flexion or bending of the knee, not greater than 45 degrees. In addition to these focused strengthening exercises cardiovascular exercise such as cycling, elliptical, rollerblading, and swimming will also be beneficial. Strengthening exercises should be done at least 3x/week to build muscle strength.
You should do activities that strengthen your muscles at least 2 days per week in addition to your aerobic activities. Muscle strengthening activities are especially important for people with arthritis because having strong muscles takes some of the pressure off the joints.

3. Stretch the muscles that support your knees When butt muscles atrophy or become imbalanced because we tend to sit much of the day, the hamstrings and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) also overwork — to compensate for the underdeveloped gluteus maximus — resulting in compressive force on the knee joint. By stretching out these support muscles, you decrease the chance that they’ll get tight and cause muscle imbalances. So remember the complementary two-fold process: As you strengthen naturally weak muscles like the glutes, also stretch supporting muscles like the inner thigh muscles. My Strong Knees DVD shows how to do hamstring and hip adductor stretches in both the "7 Minutes to Save Your Knees" segment and the "Stretching" segment.

4. Strengthen your butt We know from research that knee injuries, including common Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears, can occur when large hip muscles are weak. ACL tears, which are eight times more likely in women athletes, have been shown to lead to other cartilage tears and to correlate with knee arthritis later in life. As a society, our butt muscles are weak. When the main butt muscle (gluteus maximus) is weak, it causes the pelvis to drop and the upper thigh bone (femur) to fall inward. This imbalance creates painful downward stress on the hip, knee and ankle every time you take a step.

5. Exercise. Strengthening the muscles around the knee makes the joint more stable and decreases pain. Stretching exercises help keep the knee joint mobile and flexible.

Physical therapy provides stretching, range-of-motion, and strengthening exercises. Strengthening muscles surrounding the arthritic joint helps to stabilize it, increase range of motion, and lessen pain.

Here’s the good news: Most chronic knee pain is avoidable. New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that exercise and physical therapy are just as effective as surgery for relief from chronic knee pain related to arthritis. Learning to strengthen and stretch key muscles that support the knees, and other ways to protect and take care of our knees, can ultimately prolong the health of this vital body part.

Osteoarthritis and how to treat it

Osteoarthritis and how to treat it

This article discusses what osteoarthritis is and how a person gets it.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain and disability in the knee joint. In the knee joint, the end of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) are covered in smooth articulate cartilage. Between the two bones sits a second type of cartilage, called menisci, which act as shock absorber pads. Joint (synovial) fluid lubricates the knee joint. Osteoarthritis (OA) starts as the lack or loss of this articulate (surface) cartilage and then progresses into involvement with the surrounding bone, tissues, and synovial fluid. Cartilage may have areas of partial thickness loss (thinning) or complete loss of surface cartilage resulting in areas of exposed bone. Isolated cartilage loss may be a result of trauma or it may be a result of chronic wear and tear of the joint.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain with activity, night pain, morning stiffness, limited motion, joint inflammation, crepitus or noise from the knee, and deformity. Below are pictures of osteoarthritis in a knee joint.

Osteoarthritis is very common (Australian data, UK data, US data) and the knee joint is frequently affected. There is little that can be done to repair or reverse this process, and a related paper that covers many osteoarthritis treatments shows that most of the things we do (analgesics, anti-inflammatory medication, injections etc.) only provide temporary relief. Treatment, if severe enough, often means a knee replacement.

When it comes to treating osteoarthritis in your knees and hips, you may have more options than you realize. In February 2008, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting osteoarthritis research and treatment, published its first evidence-based recommendations for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.
Three first-line approaches were recommended:

Knee braces. Braces are available for treatment of medial compartmental osteoarthritis (arthritis on the inside of the knee joint). For osteoarthritis with associated knee instability, a knee brace can reduce pain, improve stability and reduce the risk of falling.
These braces work by unloading the medial (inside) portion of the knee. The braces need to be custom made and therefore can be expensive.
Footwear and insoles. For osteoarthritis of the knee, special footwear and insoles can reduce pain and improve walking.
Steroid injections. Injections into the affected joint of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid (for knee osteoarthritis) may work to ease pain for some people with OA, but over the medium and long run, you must consider the major side effects associated with any steroid treatment.

Diagnosis of arthritis

diagnosis of arthritis

It is about arthritis and how to go about getting it looked at and diagnoased.

Early arthritis symptoms can be vague and confusing, but they are important to recognize. Newly diagnosed patients quickly realize that early symptoms are just the first layer to be uncovered before a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan for arthritis can be established.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. While symptoms can vary, there are certain signs that point to the disease. An accurate diagnosis is important so you can start appropriate treatment.

Doctors play an essential role in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis. Good communication between a doctor and patient is essential. It's important to know what to expect from your doctor and what your doctor expects from you. It's your doctor's job to assess your symptoms, gain more information from your medical history and a current physical examination, order diagnostic tests, and put together a treatment plan. It's your job to provide your doctor with as much pertinent information as possible. The goal is mutual - to improve your health.

An accurate diagnosis precedes appropriate treatment of arthritis. With over 100 types of arthritis, early symptoms can overlap and diagnosis can be difficult. Your doctor will look for very specific signs, symptoms, and disease characteristics. Your doctor will also consider your medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies.

Arthritis can affect any joint. Certain types of arthritis are associated with a specific pattern of joint disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is usually symmetric -- affecting the same joint on both sides of the body. Other types of arthritis typically affect a single joint. It's important to tell the doctor about all of your symptoms and every joint that hurts.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis

Living with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can bring about many problems.

Despite the many problems arthritis can bring, McColgan talks with humour about it, breezily referring to her “funny hands and perma-bent elbows” and describing how her swimming instructor developed “Collette stroke” for her. McColgan couldn’t do the leg movements for breaststroke, so her instructor had her use the ones for butterfly instead. She writes about how and when to tell a potential love interest about arthritis. A good time not to tell him is “after he’s playfully pushed you and accidentally really hurt you; again, it’s always best to let them know early on to avoid hospital trips on dates”.

It's important that RA patients who are struggling with their emotions understand that they are not alone. “We remind patients that the feelings they are having are normal and that there are other patients out there who are going through the same thing,” Manno says. “It is very important that patients have a strong support network.”

It is also important to be educated about the disease and share your knowledge with family and friends. “The more patients know, the better they can manage,” says Eric Matteson, MD, MPH, chair of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic. “It helps to take the fear out of the disease when you understand it better, and when you know that there is a lot which can be done for it.”

Young adults with arthritis

Young Adults with Arthritis

Young adults suffer from debilitating Rheumatoid arthritis.

Manno says young adulthood is a difficult time to be diagnosed with RA, both physically and emotionally. For many patients, the pain and joint destruction the disease causes is managed with medications such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids. Many drugs have side effects such as liver damage, weight gain and increased susceptibility to infection.

“Too often young people with rheumatoid arthritis aren’t taken seriously when initially presenting their symptoms to their GPs. They have difficulty getting family, friends, teachers and employers to understand that they are not too young to have arthritis. These attitudes disable people from recovery.” However, a rise in young people with arthritis is more likely associated with better recognition of the disease and diagnosis by doctors.

McBride claims that young people are reluctant to talk about it. “Some were worried they might lose friendships if they spoke out, so they tended to stay silent and deal with it the best they could with the limited information they could find.”

A new online community called Arthur’s Place has already proved invaluable to me. It is doing its best to dispel the “old age” myth and to help young people with the condition – providing advice on everything from what to wear, to whether or not you should get a tattoo.

Arthritis diagnosis

Arthritis Diagnosis

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage wears out on our joints..

Arthritis would seem to be a simple mechanical failure of our bodies. Through wear and tear, the cartilage wears out in certain joints – primarily the hip, knee, lower back, neck, and hands – leading to stiffness, pain, and eventually almost total immobility.
The wear-and-tear explanation appeals to common sense. Evidence for it comes from ancient skeletons, since our ancestors became arthritic, too, and among lower mammals. As pet owners know, old dogs become as stiff and pained in their joints as old human beings.

MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.

Research on effectiveness of arthroscopy

Research on effectiveness of arthroscopy

There are many ways to treat arthritis..

An early study showed that arthroscopy was not as good as just washing the knee out with a needle, but the bombshell article from Moseley came in 2002, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

There are many studies that show that some people feel better for a while after an arthroscopy, and this matches the experience and opinion of many surgeons, but that does not constitute evidence that the arthroscopic procedure (cleaning up the knee and removing debris and torn meniscus fragments) actually improves the patient’s condition. In clinical trials comparing arthroscopy with anything else, arthroscopy never wins

Every way you look at it in every study, arthroscopy doesn’t help the patients any more than NOT doing an arthroscopy, for every outcome in every study.

This is why blinded, placebo trials are much more effective at differentiating effectiveness between treatment options.

At this point, most patients say: “But what can I do for the pain, it’s really bad?” All I can say is that the severity of your pain does not change the fact that the operation does not work. You will have to try something from the list of (much less expensive) non-operative treatments available. I will say what surgeons seem reluctant to say: “I am sorry, but for this condition, surgery is unlikely to provide any benefit over the non-operative alternatives.”

Rheumatoid arthritis definition/description

Rheumatoid arthritis definition/description

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system begins to see the body as an enemy and attack it the way it would normally attack a virus or some other foreign material in the body. In RA, the immune system attacks the tissue lining the joints and breaks it down over time causing among other things pain, swelling, and often a deforming – particularly in the hands – due to the wearing down of the joints.

There are over 80 known autoimmune diseases affecting an estimated 23.5 million people in the United States. The number of women with an autoimmune disease is highly disproportionate to the number of men and varies by disease. For example, the number of women to men who suffer from RA is three to one.

Flares are common for people with RA, but at least in my experience, they do not happen too often. Flares can be triggered by stress, foods, or a number of other things. I had one last year that put me in bed for two days in extreme pain. The one I’m experiencing now is not as severe in the amount of pain,