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Knee Arthritis

The knee is one of the most common joints that is affected by arthritis. Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning (cartilage) in the knee joint wears down. As the cartilage is worn down, bone spurs develop around the knee joint that can cause significant pain and swelling.

Knee arthritis can present as:

  • Dull pain around the sides and the front of the knee

  • Achy throbbing pain

  • Pain worse with activity and improved with rest

  • Joint stiffness

  • Pain with straightening and bending the knee

  • Grinding or cracking sensation when moving the knee

  • Joint "giving out"

  • Swelling

  • Decreased movement in the knee joint

What type of risk factors increase your chances of knee arthritis?

  • Age

    • Knee arthritis results from wear and tear of normal day activities. As a result, most people tend to develop some signs of arthritis in their knees by their 50's.

  • Excess weight

    • Increased weight can put an enormous amount of pressure on the knees which can cause arthritis to become worse faster

  • Overuse injuries

    • Repetitive long term activities especially in professions that put a lot of strain on their knees can speed up the development of knee arthritis

  • Trauma

How can our St. Louis pain doctors help diagnose your knee arthritis pain?

  • Thorough history and physical exam

  • Xray to evaluate for joint space narrowing and bony spurs around the joint

  • MRI can sometimes be used to evaluate other causes of knee pain or if a knee replacement is being considered

What are your treatment options?

Our pain management physicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating knee arthritis. Our goal is to avoid or delay surgery and to provide our patients with a functional quality life. Treatments include:

  • Steroid injections

    • Significantly improve pain and swelling of the knee joint

  • Hyaluronic injections

    • Natural gel-like substance made from rooster combs that lubricates the knee joint

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Opioid medications​

    • Used in rare cases for severe arthritis. When used appropriately, studies have shown that the risk of addiction is extremely low

  • Skin creams, ointments and patches

  • Water or aquatic therapy

  • Physical therapy

    • Strengthens muscles around the knee


What can you do to decrease knee arthritis pain?

  • Weight loss to decrease impact on the knees

  • Strengthening muscles (quadriceps) that take pressure off the knee joint

  • Maintain good range of motion of the knee joint

For more information or to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your knee arthritis pain with one of our specialized pain management physicians, call Saint Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists today.

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