By Dr. Marnie Lavigne, Sports Medicine Physician, Concussion North
I get this question a lot, especially from older patients and women, who tend to receive osteoarthritis diagnosis more than men.
Osteoarthritis (or OA) is a common condition that affects the cartilage, the rubbery cushion covering bones in the joints that keeps them flexible. Over time, the cartilage begins to stiffen and damages more easily and gradually loses its "shock absorber" qualities. Bones start rubbing against each other and the discomfort begins.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many ways to manage symptoms and stay active after you receive a diagnosis. Physiotherapy can help decrease pain and swelling and strengthen the muscles around the knee. Weight loss is also important to decrease the load through the knee. Certain braces can also be helpful.
Oral pain relief and topical medications can be used for pain management. It's best to consult your doctor about the options that will work best for you. Injection therapy, such as an anti-inflammatory called cortisone or a medication called viscosupplementation, can also provide pain-relief and improve function by delivering the medication directly to the joint that needs it.
If one (or both) of your knees is now painful during the activities you've always enjoyed, make an appointment with a Sports Medicine doctor. We can help determine a treatment plan and connect you with other practitioners who can help with diet and exercise programs that will keep you active and well.