Overview

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and can impact the large joints and surrounding tissue of the knee, making it challenging to move without pain.

The knee is the most likely part of the body to be affected by arthritis. There are two types of arthritis of the knee – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that often progresses into larger joints, such as the knees, after attacking the smaller joints. It usually affects both knees.

This condition occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues and results in swelling of the synovial membrane covering the knee joint, resulting in knee pain and stiffness.

Causes

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are presently unknown.

Symptoms

The symptoms most often associated with rheumatoid arthritis of the knee are:

  • Pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulties bending or straightening the knee.
  • Cracking or popping sounds coming from the knee when you move, or experiencing a grinding sensation.
  • Fever, fatigue and appetite loss.
  • Changes to the appearance of the knee – either a sunken appearance or knees pointing towards each other.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose rheumatoid arthritis through history taking, a physical examination of the knee and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement, look for swelling in the knee and pain experienced through movement. Blood tests, and an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended to confirm and evaluate the stage of the disease.

Treatment

Dan Everson Podiatry may suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • Anti-inflammatory, pain relief and prescription medication can help slow the spread of the illness.
  • Rest and applying ice to the area.
  • Certain exercises to improve your range of movement and strengthen the knee.
  • Surgery may be recommended in some cases.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, as the causes are presently unknown. There are several ways to reduce your risk of major joint damage after a diagnosis of this condition:

  • Consult with your podiatrist as soon as you have any symptoms.
  • Speak with your podiatrist about a program of gentle stretches and strength movements to reduce pain and strengthen the bones.
  • Rest from exercise during the period you are experiencing the most pain.
  • Avoid smoking.

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