Knee injuries are common at workplaces. Everyday movements like bending, kneeling, or standing gradually cause the knees to wear out. Although knee issues are typical for construction, factory or warehouse workers, they occur in people across employment sectors. One common issue is arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the USA. In today’s article, you will find 4 treatments recommended by Dr. Gary Wexler, who helps patients with arthritis on a regular basis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is joint inflammation which is accompanied by pain, stiffness, and swelling. Depending on how many joints are affected by this condition, we can further divide arthritis into:
– Polyarthritis (4 joints involved)
– Oligoarthritis (2 or 3 joints involved)
– Monoarthritis (1 joint involved)
Patients usually ask what the most common cause of this health issue is, and unfortunately there is no single answer to this question. It may result from a prior or preexisting injury or infection that has accelerated or aggravated inflammation, a metabolic abnormality such as gout, an infection, or simply family history.
Treatments for Knee Arthritis
The main goal of treating knee arthritis is to alleviate the pain and regain mobility. The most frequently used treatment plans include a combination of the following:
1. Weight loss
Excessive weight is linked to arthritis pain for two reasons: First, the extra pounds contribute to excess load on your joints which leads to pain; second, the inflammatory mediators which are present in fat may affect joint tissues and cause pain and discomfort. Losing weight (even just a few pounds!) can not only reduce pressure on your joints, but it can improve joint functioning, ease inflammation and make patients feel better.
Injections are an option to treat arthritis when nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen no longer help with controlling pain. Cortisone shots target the inflamed joint. Physicians who use them provide relief for patients which lasts several weeks, or even months, by delivering medication directly to the problematic area. They don’t produce any severe side effects; however, getting injections regularly may cause the ligaments, tendons and bone to weaken. Some doctors use hyaluronic acid to help patients who suffer from knee arthritis. There are five available in the USA: Orthovisc, Supporatz, Synvisc, Euflexa and Hyalgan. Injections should not be used when a patient is taking blood thinners.
3. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is known to be a great form of treatment for multiple injuries and conditions. Even though exercising with arthritis may seem to be contradictory, an arthritic joint will only get more stiff and painful without any movement. It’s important to consult a certified therapist before performing any activity to prevent further damage of the joint. Under the watch of a professional, patients with arthritis can restore their initial range of motion, recover functioning, control inflammation, and strengthen the muscles that support the joint.
4. Operative treatments
When no other treatments work, surgery becomes an option. There are different types of surgery that greatly depend on the age, anatomy and underlying conditions of the patient. The most common operative treatments are the following:
– Osteotomy – This is a suitable option for young patients with a small area affected by arthritis. It’s aimed at changing the shape of bones to make the knee align better.
– Arthroscopy – It uses a small telescope which enables the surgeon to see into the joint space. By performing small incisions, he removes damaged cartilage, cleans the bone surface and fixes any other tissue damage. This type of procedure is often recommended for people under 60.
– Arthroplasty (total knee replacement) – This is usually suggested for people over 50 with severe arthritis. The purpose of the surgery is to replace the joints with artificial parts made from metal or plastic. The artificial joint may need to be replaced in the future; nevertheless, thanks to modern, advanced technologies, the approximate time before the new joint wears out has lengthened to 20 years.1
About Dr. Wexler
When your employee is suffering from knee arthritis due to performing repetitive motions or remaining sedentary for a long period of time at work, and it is negatively affecting his or her productivity and well-being, it’s high time to send them to a physician who will help them recover. If you handle West Palm Beach County and are looking for a knowledgeable and reliable orthopedist whom you can trust, you don’t have to search any more! Dr. Wexler is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the field of knee and shoulder injuries. He will provide your employee with an expert opinion and propose the most appropriate treatment plan. For your convenience, Dr. Wexler accepts workers’ compensation patients at two different locations: West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. View Dr. Wexler’s profile.