Arthritis is the swelling or inflammation of one or more of your joints. Any joint of the body can get affected by arthritis, but it’s more common in the knee. Arthritis of the knee can be especially troubling as it interferes with your everyday activities, as knees are the most exercised joints out of all. It can considerably affect your work as it graduates to being a serious disability.
Although there are more than 100 types of arthritis, our knees are mainly affected by these three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis.
Usually, the pain in arthritis gradually builds up over time, although it can also occur suddenly. Following are the symptoms of arthritis:
1. Pain that increases gradually
At first, the extent of pain won’t be much and you might write it off as random occurrences: morning pain or whenever you’ve been inactive for a while. When you climb stairs, it may hurt. Even after getting up after sitting for a while or even going for a stroll, you’d start noticing the pain.
2. Swelling or tenderness
Inflammation is another common symptom, according to the top rheumatology hospital in India. In osteoarthritis (OA) it can either be hard swelling (formation of bone spurs) or soft swelling, caused by fluid build-up around the joint. Either way, it’s advisable to opt for osteoarthritis treatment at the earliest. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), joint swelling is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, tiredness, and a general feeling of being unwell. One shouldn’t delay rheumatoid arthritis treatment until this point.
3. Buckling and locking
Over time, your knee’s structure might become unstable due to the constant damage your joints are going through. This can cause it to give way or ‘buckle’. In RA, your tendons (which join your muscle to the bone) get damaged, affecting your knee’s stability. If the cartilage starts to erode and the bones rub together, it can cause bone spurs. This will lead to a bulge or a bumpy surface, causing the joints to ‘lock up’, making it harder to bend or straighten the knee.
4. Cracking or popping sounds
Whenever you bend or straighten out your leg, you’ll feel grinding sensations or hear a ‘pop’ at the knee. The medical term for this is crepitus. This is due to the loss of certain cartilage that helps in keeping the motion smooth.
5. Poor range of motion
Due to the damage caused to the bone and cartilage, it becomes harder in OA of the knee to move smoothly. Even everyday movements get affected. People who have RV can’t flex their knee or walk, because of the inflammation. Hence mobility becomes a great concern.
6. Loss of joint space
Some symptoms aren’t easily detectable. As per top rheumatologists in India, diagnostic tools like an X-ray can help you in such cases in detecting any internal damage to the knee. Cartilage occupies a space around the bones, where it helps in cushioning the joint. Once the cartilage gets damaged, it leaves an empty space around the bones, which you reflect in an X-ray.
7. Deformities of the knee
An arthritis flare is a sudden increase in joint pain caused by the worsening of the symptoms. This can cause the overall appearance of the knee to change. In RA, this can lead to irreversible damage to the cartilage and the tendons. In OA, the muscles around the knee weaken causing a ‘sunken’ appearance of the knee. The knees can start to deform and point to either side.
If you come across with the symptoms mentioned above, then consult your doctor immediately.