Our joints are very healthy. The ends of the bones fit exactly together and are covered with cartilage from above for better sliding. The joint itself is protected by the joint capsule, and the ligaments and muscles strengthen it in front, behind and on the sides. Inside the joint capsule there is a special fluid that ensures smooth movement without jerking, squeaking and crunching. This is how healthy joints work. And what happens to them with arthrosis?
How and why arthrosis occurs: obesity, trauma, arthritis
For starters, how does arthrosis differ from arthritis? Arthritis is inflammation of the joints and can be treated and treated until complete recovery. With arthrosis, the cartilage on the articular surfaces of the bones is deformed, thinner, lose elasticity, covered with cracks and become layered, the amount of synovial fluid decreases. And these changes are already, unfortunately, irreversible. Therefore, this disease is called degenerative, that is, destructive. The destruction of the joint is affected by age - over time, the cartilage wears out, but at the heart of everything is our upright posture, due to which the knee joints have a great load.
Gonarthrosis is arthrosis of the knee joint. This type of arthrosis is more common in women and is aggravated by obesity and venous disease. Many elderly people suffer from arthrosis, which is explained by age-related changes in the joint. At a young age, arthrosis can occur with joint injuries during sports or with high physical exertion. In addition, the development of arthrosis is influenced by the weakness of the ligaments and muscles in the knee area, a sedentary lifestyle, arthritis, stress and metabolic disorders, and in everyday life - high-heeled shoes and carrying weights (for example, shopping bags). The defeat of the joints is bilateral, but it can also develop on one leg.
Manifestations of arthrosis: pain, crunch, stiffness
Knee pain, crunching, stiffness during flexion and extension of the joint, in particular, when a person gets up and sits down - all these are signs of arthrosis of the knee joint. However, the pain does not come suddenly. At the onset of the disease, it is more likely discomfort in the knee, which turns into pain with heavy exertion, running, and exercise. If the pain is acute, it may be due to dislocation, sprains, damage to the menisci (elastic cartilage pads in the joint).
With arthrosis of the 2nd degree, knee pain becomes a frequent companion, it is especially noticeable after long walks, lifting weights. If you give the joint a rest, the painful sensations disappear, but return again when the load is resumed. An additional symptom of arthrosis is swelling of the knee joint. In addition, there is an excessive accumulation of joint fluid (synovitis), a characteristic crunch during movement, in which pain occurs, and then limited mobility in the knee. The patient is unable to easily bend and unbend the leg. Trying to straighten it completely causes severe pain.
When arthrosis reaches the third degree, the knee joint sometimes completely loses its mobility. People walk on legs slightly bent at the knees, suffer from aching pains that often occur when the weather changes, and can torment at rest, including at night. Patients have to resort to pain relievers. At this stage, it is also possible to change the shape of the legs - they bend either outward (legs with a wheel) or inward. It is not uncommon for people to rub their sore knees, intuitively trying to improve blood flow in them.
Arthrosis treatment: weight loss, movement is life
The diagnosis of arthrosis is made by X-ray examination. Typical changes are narrowing of the joint space, the appearance of osteophytes (salt deposits), destruction of bones. Many patients come to the doctor at the stage when it becomes problematic to fall asleep at night without anesthetic. Despite the fact that the changes in the joints are irreversible, there are some things you can do to improve the patient's life. Treatment for arthrosis begins with weight loss. Moreover, it will be necessary to rely on a rational and not too high-calorie diet, since the possibility of physical activity is limited. This is the first thing that any doctor will say to a patient with arthrosis of the knee joint.
The second aspect of arthrosis treatment is, oddly enough, movement. When the changes in the joints are not yet fatal, not at the last stage, only the movements - but the movements are correct! - can prolong their life. There are no blood vessels in the cartilage, nutrition is by diffusion, and in order for the exchange to proceed, so that the cells are renewed and the cartilage to live, movement is necessary.
But which movements should be considered correct? Of course, those that do not load the knee joint. Let's not torment the reader - the best sport for arthrosis is swimming. This is an excellent training for ligaments, cartilage, muscles without vertical load, which is given by walking and standing. It is necessary to avoid running, sports games, jumping. Yes, the pain in the joints will not allow you to especially accelerate.
The second method of movement is suitable for those who visit the gym or have bought a simulator at home called an ellipsoid. It looks like a bicycle while standing and at the same time like cross-country skiing. When working on this simulator, we avoid shock loads on the knee joints and at the same time train muscles and ligaments. The ellipsoid moves smoothly, but gives a non-weak aerobic load, therefore, by training on it, we also solve the problem of excess weight.
Medical and surgical treatment of the knee joint
As for the medical part of the treatment of arthrosis, it is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. The doctor will help you choose a dose that will remove pain, inflammation (and it will still be present), and swelling. Sometimes analgesics are added, as the pain can be very severe - they interfere with sleep, interfere with eating and generally interfere with life. In some cases, it comes down to prescribing antidepressants.
If, despite all efforts, the described treatment of arthrosis does not help, and the destruction of the joint continues, leading to complete immobility (and, as you know, the less we move, the faster the fat layer grows), there is a radical remedy - surgical replacement of the diseased jointon the prosthesis. It consists of an imitation of the end of the femur (upper) and menisci, which fit onto the surface of the tibia (lower). The operation is not simple, but well-tried and, one might say, routine. There are a lot of them in the world. After surgery, a rehabilitation program has been developed that allows a person not only to start moving, but to return to a full, active lifestyle.